Monday, 5 December 2011

Lunch in Pomerol

Kiwi James left us last week to head for his next harvest back home in Marlborough, New Zealand. He has been working with us as a flying winemaker for our three-month harvest, so for a special treat we went to lunch in the Pomerol equivalent of our favourite Castillon ‘Voyageur’ restaurant called the ‘Les Platanes’. We were joined by our friend Guillaume Thienpont whose family châteaux include Vieux Château Certan (VCC) and Le Pin.

This is where the French two-hour lunch break comes in very handy as we had time to visit and taste at firstly VCC, then the brand new cellar of Le Pin before lunch!

VCC has a stunning terroir and its 7ha (very big for Pomerol) sits amongst neighbours such as Petrus, Château l’Evangile, Château Conseillante and of course Le Pin on the plateau of Pomerol. The plateau is not like that of St.Emilion as it’s only 35cm higher than the so called ‘lower vineyards’ but those 35cm make all the difference! We visited the cellars and tasted the 2006 and the 2010 from barrel, lovely wines indeed.

On the way to the restaurant we skirted through the VCC vineyards and stopped to have a look at the stunning new cellar of Château Le Pin. Although small, the cellar has been beautifully designed and includes winery, underground barrel cellar, tasting room and roof terrace with views over Pomerol. The original pine tree (with a second now added) from where the ‘Le Pin’ name originates is still there.

With plenty to think about we went to the brilliant Les Platanes and mixed in with the local growers, gendarmes and vineyard workers for a slap up meal. Thanks James for all the hard work this harvest. I recommend the following of James’ wines to try: The Jumper, Laithwaite Sauvignon 2010 (2011 in Jan), Hunter's Sauvignon Blanc.

This week I am in the Midi with our Buyer Cat Lomax and we will be travelling from Gascony in the south west through the Languedoc Roussillon to Montpellier in the east of France.


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