Pomerol is a small place. The appellation is home to a mere 150 winemakers, and covers less than three square miles. But the wines of Pomerol are anything but small. In his landmark World Atlas of Wine, Hugh Johnson calls Pomerol “richest, most velvety and instantly appealing form of red Bordeaux.”
Merlot is the dominant varietal here, thriving in the gravely and iron rich soils. Planted in the wrong location, Merlot can produce soft wines that lack acidity and character. But the terroirs of Pomerol were made for Merlot, and here the grape produces some of the world’s most powerful and expensive wines.
Our longtime source in Pomerol is the Chateau la Clemence, where biopharma executive turned winemaker Christian Dauriac is the owner. Dauriac goes all in on the “bold” Pomerol theme: his 50-year-old vines produce dense, concentrated fruit, and he restricts their yields to a startlingly low 20 hectolitres per hectare. Dauriac blends in 15% of Cabernet Franc for a bit of backbone and definition.
The result is an intense, mouthfilling wine that can age for decades. The 2015 in particular is bold and seductive, showing notes of violets, dark chocolate, and, licorice, tobacco. Antonio Galloni of Vinous called it “bold, powerful, and exuberant.” Drink this over the next 15 years — we can’t promise all Merlot is this good, but, then again, that’s why they call it terroir.
Clemence Pomerol 2015
bottle price: $115
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