Saturday, August 18, 2007

Bordeaux Series Part III: Pomerol

Sorry it took so long for me to get this one out. The Pomerol tasting went awesome, we had a bunch of great wines and it was very difficult to pick our favorites. Pomerol is a typical right bank region with its wines being dominated by Merlot. Merlot is suited to the gravel and clay soils as well as the cooler temperatures compared to the left bank. Cabernet is rarely used in Pomerol so they tend to be softer wines and do not have to age for 20 years just to make them palatable. So if you are in a restaurant and can't find an older vintage Bordeaux on the menu, go for a Pomerol.
Pomerol is the only Bordeaux appellation that does not have and official classification system. It is a region with small family "farmhouse" Chateaux compared to the Medoc. History has pegged Pomerol as a lower class wine region and it was left out of the 1855 Classification but are now producing some of the best wines in all of Bordeaux. Pomerol sits on a slight slope next to St. Emilion with varying soil types. The Southwest part of the region has more sand and the Northeast has more gravel. Mid-way up the slope is considered the best growing area having a combination of soils. The most famous, most expensive, and most sought-after wine from Pomerol is Petrus, unfortunately it did not show up in our tasting.

When we got to buying wines I realized that Pomerols were a bit more pricey that our group was accustomed to so I told everyone that if they could not find a Pomerol in their price range to go ahead and buy a Lalande de Pomerol which is a similar appellation right next to Pomerol the main difference being that it has sandier soil and less gravel. The outcome was interesting.
The wines we taste are tasted blind and ranked, the lowest score wins. In this tasting we had 9 people scoring and 6 wines.

1st with 22 points: Cht. de Bel Air, 2003, Les Pensees, Lalande de Pomerol. $21
Aromas of cherry, cream and molasses, with some wet cedar. On the palate it is soft with a good acidity. The alcohol shows itself, warming things up with a nice long finish. Other people wrote that they liked the because it was more subtle and balanced.

2nd with 25 points: Cht. Pomeaux, 1998, $50
100% Merlot, this wine ended up being my favorite. On the nose it started out with lots of Chocolate, licorice, vanilla, coconut, put all together in a nice Almond Joy package. As it opened up the fruit became more prevalent with ripe cherry being in the forefront. The palate started off a bit weak but got better and fuller bodied with some bread and triple cream brie. A very nice wine that may have been better if opened a couple years ago.

3rd with 29 points: Cht. Tournefeuille, 2003, Lalande de Pomerol. $26
70% Merlot, 30% Cab Franc. We had two people bring this wine so I tossed both of them in to see how the group would rate them and they came in 3rd and 4th. The nose of this wine showed more strawberry and other red fruits, with some sweet perfume. It got more floral as it opened up. On the palate we all found it a bit tannic and astringent but a good long finish and big body helped to give a couple of high rankings.

4th with 32 points: Cht. Tournefeuille, 2003, Lalande de Pomerol. $26
5th with 37 points: Cht. Gazin, 2001. $60, 85% Merlot, 10% Cab, 5% Cab Franc.
6th with 40 points: Cht. De Sales, 1996. $25 on special


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