Jane Anson, Decanter (May 2021)
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate (May 2020)
Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com (May 2020)
About this WINE
Chateau Vray Croix de Gay
Pomerol - owned by SCE Baronne Guichard, this 4 ha property produces on average 1, 300 cases per year. Located in the far east of the Pomerol appellation, the property shares a similar climate to that enjoyed by both St.Emilion & Pomerol: more continental than the maritime Médoc with generally more spring rainfall, though less in summer & winter. Its vineyards (Merlot 80%; Cabernet Franc 15%; Cabernet Sauvignon 5%) lie on clay-gravel, with sand soils. Vinification includes 18 months' wood maturation, 30% new oak.
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.