The 2014 Bordeaux Barrels Diary: The Fruit and Nothing but the Fruit at Château Le Pin

Nicholas Thienpont presents the 2014 Vieux Château Certan and Le Pin Pomerols
The 2014 Bordeaux Barrels Diary: The Fruit and Nothing but the Fruit at Château Le Pin
Vieux Château Certan's gravel soils produced excellent Cabernet Franc in 2014. (François Poincet/Occit'Media)
Apr 1, 2015

For background on Vieux Château Certan and Le Pin, two of Pomerol's reference-point estates, start with my 2013 blog notes.

The reserved Alexandre Thienpont continues to pursue the fine details as he manages these two properties, and he has been joined by his seemingly equally gifted son Guillaume since 2011.

"2014 is classic in style. It's fresh, so it's both rich and with energy," said Alexandre. "With the richness it's also easily digestible. It's not hard or delicate."

"We always talk about terroir of course, but 2014 is a year in which the terroir, from château to château, is very recognizable. Because of that classic freshness of fruit and also because it's a vintage of acidity as much if not more than tannins," added Thienpont.

"Merlot performed well. But for Cabernet Franc it's important to have a dry and late vintage, as long as there isn't excessive heat. And that was exactly the case in '14 with the cool August followed by the Indian summer."

"The VCC estate is half-clay, half-gravel soils. The gravel was the favored half in '14. Merlot was very charming in the clay, but Cab Franc in the clay was a bit strict. On gravel though it was beautiful," said Guillaume.

The 2014 Vieux Château Certan Pomerol is a blend of 80/19/1 Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. It's reserved aromatically but shows beautiful mouthfeel and depth, with pure cassis, blueberry and plum fruit that glides along, laced with a lively tobacco leaf note and backed by a sanguine twinge. There are ample singed vanilla and alder notes as well, but they remain in the background while the fruit plays out. It's a beautiful wine and should be among the elite Pomerols once again in this vintage.

The 2014 Château Le Pin Pomerol, which is situated entirely on gravel soils, delivers its telltale aroma of succulent raspberry fruit, with beguiling spice and echoes of boysenberry and blackberry as well. The structure is solid but remarkably silky and thoroughly ensconced in the fruit. There's a fine mineral accent on the finish, with extra notes of violet and lavender, but this is basically all fruit, the whole fruit and nothing but the fruit. And believe me, there's nothing wrong with that.

What strikes me about Thienpont's handiwork is that as pure and racy as the wines are here, they don't lack for depth. But overall they're defined and athletic in feel with marvelous integrating, instead of just having extra bass lines or dark, muscular notes that thump along on their own rhythm.

And Thienpont sums its up nicely when he says, "That's the style of 2014. It's a lean cat of a vintage."

Photograph by James Molesworth

Merlot vines planted in 1960 at VCC sport charming moss "perruques," or wigs.

You can follow James Molesworth on Twitter, at twitter.com/jmolesworth1, and Instagram, at instagram.com/jmolesworth1.

More Bordeaux Barrel Tastings 2014

See More

The 2014 Bordeaux Barrels Diary: Christian Moueix's Stable of Pomerols

Mar 31, 2015

2014 Red Bordeaux by Appellation

Mar 31, 2015

Alphabetical List of 2014 Red Bordeaux

Mar 31, 2015

Top-Scoring 2014 Bordeaux Reds

Mar 30, 2015

The 2014 Bordeaux Barrels Diary: Wine of the Vintage Candidates at Cheval-Blanc and Yquem

Mar 30, 2015

France Bordeaux Bordeaux's Right Bank Red Wines Merlot 2014 Bordeaux Barrel Tastings 2014

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