2012 Le Pin, Pomerol

2012 Le Pin, Pomerol

Product: 20121014192
2012 Le Pin, Pomerol

Description

It is a gross over–simplification to label 2012, as some have done, a “vintage of the Right Bank and the Wrong Bank”, but one sip of Le Pin and you understand the reasoning. Where others have had to use all their expertise to make good wine, Jacques and Fiona Thienpont seem to have achieved greatness without really breaking sweat. It helps that the property is so tiny, of course, and that even with interruptions for rain they could harvest the whole crop in two and a half days.  Nevertheless, this is wonderful, floral, expressive wine, and my personal favourite of the vintage.
Simon Berry, Chairman
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About this WINE

Le Pin

Le Pin

Le Pin is the most expensive wine in the world. Jacques Thienpont purchased the meagre 1.6 hectares of land for one million francs in 1979. The Thienpoints named their wine Le Pin after a solitary pine tree that shaded the property. By acquiring tiny adjoining plots of land, Jacques has doubled the size of Le Pin to five acres. The south-facing vineyard on a well-drained slope of gravel and sand is planted with Merlot (about 92%), and a small amount of Cabernet Franc.

Le Pin's soil is a mixture of gravel and clay with a little sand and is exceptionally low yielding (between 30 to 35 hl/hc). The grapes are hand-harvested and are fermented in stainless steel before being matured in`200%` new oak barriques for between 14 and 18 months. Dany Rolland, wife of cult-oenologist Michel Rolland, is a consultant here.

Le Pin produces just 600 to 700 cases each year (Lafite Rothschild produces approximately 29,000 cases of wine a year and and Pétrus about 4,000) and its rarity is one of the driving forces behind its high prices. Le Pin produces super-concentrated, decadent, lush and lavishly oaked wines - they can be drunk young but are best with 7-10 years of bottle ageing.

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Pomerol

Pomerol

Pomerol is the smallest of Bordeaux's major appellations, with about 150 producers and approximately 740 hectares of vineyards. It is home to many bijou domaines, many of which produce little more than 1,000 cases per annum.

Both the topography and architecture of the region is unremarkable, but the style of the wines is most individual. The finest vineyards are planted on a seam of rich clay which extends across the gently-elevated plateau of Pomerol, which runs from the north-eastern boundary of St Emilion. On the sides of the plateau, the soil becomes sandier and the wines lighter.

For a long time Pomerol was regarded as the poor relation of St Emilion, but the efforts of Jean-Pierre Moueix in the mid-20th century brought the wine to the attention of more export markets, where its fleshy, intense and muscular style found a willing audience, in turn leading to surge in prices led by the demand for such limited quantities.

There is one satellite region to the immediate north, Lalande-de-Pomerol whose wines are stylistically very similar, if sometimes lacking the finesse of its neighbour. There has never been a classification of Pomerol wines.

Recommended Châteaux : Ch. Pétrus, Vieux Ch. Certan, Le Pin, Ch. L’Eglise-Clinet, Ch. La Conseillante, Ch. L’Evangile, Ch. Lafleur, Trotanoy, Ch. Nenin, Ch. Beauregard, Ch. Feytit-Clinet, Le Gay.

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Merlot

Merlot

The most widely planted grape in Bordeaux and a grape that has been on a relentless expansion drive throughout the world in the last decade. Merlot is adaptable to most soils and is relatively simple to cultivate. It is a vigorous naturally high yielding grape that requires savage pruning - over-cropped Merlot-based wines are dilute and bland. It is also vital to pick at optimum ripeness as Merlot can quickly lose its varietal characteristics if harvested overripe.

In St.Emilion and Pomerol it withstands the moist clay rich soils far better than Cabernet grapes, and at it best produces opulently rich, plummy clarets with succulent fruitcake-like nuances. Le Pin, Pétrus and Clinet are examples of hedonistically rich Merlot wines at their very best. It also plays a key supporting role in filling out the middle palate of the Cabernet-dominated wines of the Médoc and Graves.

Merlot is now grown in virtually all wine growing countries and is particularly successful in California, Chile and Northern Italy.

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Reviews

Customer reviews

Wine Advocate95/100
Wine Spectator 94-97/100
jancisrobinson.com18.5/20
Robert Parker93-95/100
Decanter18.25/100

Critic reviews

Wine Advocate95/100
Tasted blind at the Southwold 2012 tasting, 2012 Le Pin put in a very strong performance. It has a strict, graphite-infused bouquet that is strangely Pauillac-like (not a trait I have noticed on other vintages; I wonder whether it is just a passing phase?). This is earthier than its peers, with hints of leather in the background and sous-bois aromas becoming more and more accentuated by time. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, elegant and understated in style with a fine line of acidity, harmonious and thankfully not screaming and shouting towards the stylish finish. This is an outstanding wine from Jacques Thienpont that might well be unfairly over-shadowed by the 2009 and 2010. Tasted January 2016.
Neal Martin - 28/10/2016 Read more
Wine Spectator 94-97/100
Features beautiful raspberry fruit ganache, black licorice and linzer torte notes, with an underlying graphite edge running through the finish. Remarkably lush, lacking the rigid tannins of the vintage. Tasted non-blind.
James Molesworth, Wine Spectator, April 8 2013 Read more
jancisrobinson.com18.5/20
Deep dark cherry colour. Extreme fruit purity, crunchy and deep, with a mineral edge and light earthiness to counteract the fruit sweetness. Generous but not fat or slouching. Shows its origin, the well-drained gravel soils, not just the high quality of the fruit. Dry finish but not at all drying. Long and delicious. Very hard to spit even though it is a little after 10 am.
Julia Harding MW, jancisrobinson.com, 29 Apr 2013 Read more
Robert Parker93-95/100
The 2012 Le Pin exhibits a surprisingly opaque purple color, moderately high tannin, deep mocha and jammy berry characteristics, unexpected headiness, an alcoholic blast and lots of glycerin and fruit. This beauty should come into its own in 4-5 years, and last for 15 or more.

This 100% Merlot cuvee is a fresher, lighter-styled effort than this estate’s blockbuster 2009 and 2010, but it is surprisingly intense with plenty of weight, clout and class. Yields were a tiny 30 hectoliters per hectare (due to poor flowering and excessive drought), and the wine was produced from fruit harvested between October 2 and 5.
Robert Parker - Wine Advocate - Apr 2013 Read more
Decanter18.25/100
A really elegant Le Pin. Fine, fresh, floral nose. Silky texture and tannins. Discreet but has length, depth and plenty of energy.
James Lawther MW, Decanter, April 2013 Read more