All For One, and Pomerol For All

by Chuck Hayward

All For One, and Pomerol For All

Post by Alex Lallos | April 7th, 2011

A simple sign, amazing wine

While in Bordeaux, a few of my colleagues and I were fortunate enough to visit one of my favorite Pomerol estates, Chateau Clinet. Quintessential Pomerol, the grapes show a high proportion of merlot (85% in 2010 from super low yielding old vines) and are hand harvested and hand sorted. This stuff should cost about as much as a small yacht by today’s standards in Pomerol, but in reality, the wines are extremely well priced.

In fact, you can purchase the 2009 Clinet (which earned 97-100, Robert Parker) for a hair over $175, whereas 2009 Petrus will cost you a few thousand for about the same size production and almost the same score (RP96-100).  The 2010 is a brilliant wine much like the 2009, super dark, super lush, and just plain sexy. It’s hard to say yet what will happen to prices for the 2010s, but one can only hope there will be enough Clinet to go around.

This well-known name was not always so well regarded, though, with the property being passed from one owner to another during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Jean-Michael Arcaute, who married the daughter of a negociant who owned the estate, began to alter Clinet’s fate in 1985 when he brought in his friend Michel Rolland. When Parker’s perfect score came in for the 1989 vintage, the path to success was already on course.

Oooo la la, that is some asparagus!

Purchased by Jean-Louis Laborde in 1998, son Ronan leads the team today and Rolland still consults. Ronan was a gracious host during our dinner at the Chateau, with a superb feast prepared by his chef Thibault, a master in the kitchen. The star of the night was 1996 Clinet with Saint Jacques roties sauce vins, Primeurs echalottes grises confites which translates to scallops in wine with shallot confit. The aged Pomerol went beautifully with this dish, showing that red wine is not just for steak.

Surprisingly, this gem of a bottle can still be had for less than $100. Which goes to show… you don’t have to break the bank to drink from this Right Bank appellation.

Ronan was gracious enough to answer several questions from our customers.  Here he talks about the 2010 vintage, among other matters: