Lisa Perrotti-Brown - 30/11/2018
About this WINE
The dominant commercial force in Pomerol and St Emilion is the negociant company of Jean-Pierre Moueix. They own a clutch of prime wine estates, have exclusive distribution rights for a further selection and have worked assiduously to promote the lesser lights of the region and its associated appellations.
World-renowned names such as Château Pétrus, Trotanoy, Magdelaine, Lafleur and Lafleur Petrus feature in their portfolio, but one of the less known properties is La Fleur Gazin, situated appropriately between two heavyweights in Lafleur and Gazin.
Pomerol is renowned for producing wines of lush richness, with the fleshiness of the Merlot grape balanced by the firm acidity of the Cabernet Franc to produce wines which, while easy to enjoy young, nevertheless have the capacity to age. Pomerol is a tiny appellation and demand is high, so the effect on prices needs little imagination to calculate, but wines such as this still represent good value as they have yet to scale the lofty heights enjoyed by their better-known neighbours.
The La Fleur Gazin vineyards are planted with a typical Pomerol mix of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. After fermentation the wine spends 20 months ageing in oak barrels, 25% of the barrels are new, each year.
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.
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.
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.