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Where to start with Pomerol?

I’ve got a big birthday coming up and wanted a treat.

I don’t have much experience with the appellation, the lush menthol and liqurice syrups described sound delightful - I suspect it could also turn into a unicorn chase!

What would you recommend as a really good example/introduction?

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A good choice for a treat… although in my (limited) experience Pomerol can vary considerably. In the past I have found TWS Exhibition Pomerol (and Lalande-de-Pomerol) to be thin and a bit ‘meh’ however that was certainly down to poor years (2011 and 2014). So it might be an idea to try a bottle beforehand, rather than be disappointed on the day.

I drove through Pomerol once in the spring. Windswept plains of muddy clay ! so I can see why vintages are so important.

My selection process is far from sensible; but anything from a top year, with ‘croix’ in the name or a Maltese cross on the label should be good ! and will drain your finances accordingly.

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With Pomerol you have to pay the price unfortunately - there isn’t really a good cost effective option.

I’d recommend something like Clinet from a decent vintage with a good few years on it (2005 maybe?). Not cheap though!

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I was very impressed by a 2012 Chateau Valois that I got from TWS for £24 in 2017 (I bought the 2015 for £35 in 2020 so a big hike in price over 3 years). It doesn’t seem to appear very often or hang around very long. I was rather less impressed by the more expensive £20 half bottle of Dom de l’Eglise 2010, also from TWS. I have picked up a bottle of the current offering of Ch Taillefer 2015 but I’m afraid I’ve not tried it yet and though I keep meaning to try the Ch La Pointe I’ve still not yet done so.

I do seem to find myself more enthusiastic about St Emilion.

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I have several cases of Chateau Bourgneuf in my cellar and am currently working my way through a case of the 2006. I think this is a very good value for money wine. TWS has only this one currently available as far as I can see:

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I am drinking the 2005 Bourgneuf and can confirm it is decent stuff and that did not cost the earth. I’ve had 4 of 12, and took notes on 2 of them.

Jan 21
Dependable right bank Bordeaux from a great vintage that is now mature and drinking well. Decanted for 1 hour. Deep garnet red, fruit and leather on the nose. A touch of rusticity perhaps, and some chewiness still, suggests can go on for a bit - good news as I have 8 left and don’t drink enough claret to keep up. Balanced, reasonably rich, fine length. Slightly surprisingly better on day two, with no special care taken.

Nov 20
A solid right bank bordeaux from a great year which in my opinion is now at peak. Decanted three hours before dinner, intense cassis aromas first up, really marked. Firm tannins still, it held its own all evening. Quite a long aftertaste. Good stuff, it really seems you cannot go to far wrong with well made claret these days if you store it properly. Went well with slow-cooked beef stew. I would say that this will drink quite nicely for a number of years beyond the stated 2021 end date.

Similar on the second evening. It had not gained anything much but neither had it lost its impact. A decent drop, paid £16 in bond back in 2006, a good investment.

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Ch Gazin, always reliable!

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Hear, hear. Gazin is a favourite of mine too and consistently reliable. I have been lucky to visit the Chateau a few times (firstly in 1988). I still have the tasting sheet somewhere.

Gazin ages beautifully. After my first visit to Gazin, I bought a parcel of the 1953 at a very modest price from the Hungerford Wine Company - at the time when they were possibly the main player in Bordeaux EP. I bought it as it was my sister’s birth year and I have kept back some to surprise her on her 70th birthday.

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Interestingly, when I visited Ch Gazin, the owner spoke of having to sell of a piece of the vineyard in order to satisfy death duties/inheritance dues etc. That piece of land is now making Petrus!!!

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I’ve heard the story about part of the vineyard going to Petrus too - although not the circumstances. I think that happened in 1969 - so the 1953 contains fruit from vineyards now in Petrus. May explain why it is so good!

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I seem to recall that the piece they sold to Petrus was the last part of the famous buttonhole of blue clay that Petrus sits on, so an important piece.
Don’t know if this is true but another vote for Gazin from me, the value is great.

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Whilst I love Ch. Gazin, Ch. La Pointe is very consistent and great VFM.

Gazin or Bourgneuf have both been good in my book. Still got a Gazin 88 lurking in cellar. Had second last bottle a year or two ago and it was still good.

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I can also recommend ch Gazin had a few vintage through the 90s and 2000 may be look for 2nd wines which are good vaule also La Fleur petrus is excellent

There you go - its got a (small) Maltese cross on the label.

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Not as mad as you think! I really enjoyed Croix Romane from Lalande de Pomerol. It’s the first bottle that’s introduced me to a little of the menthol flavours and for a very reasonable price!