Bourgneuf's Pure Pomerol Pleasure (That Won't Break the Bank)
Even in Pomerol — the land of Pétrus, Le Pin and Trotanoy — you can still find honest values if you look around. Les Saisons de Bourgneuf is more than just an honest value: it's proof both that the region's reputation is built on solid ground and that the locals are not resting on their laurels.
In the fall of 2018, a few of us booked a rare weekend appointment to visit Château Bourgneuf. Dominique Vayron, the elder of the two women in charge of the estate, received us. The weather had been good, and she was very happy to be able to show us healthy bunches of grapes growing in the vineyards around their home and cellar.
We walked up the (mild) slope towards the famous Château Trotanoy and watched as the soils changed under our feet. Sandy topsoil gave way to stony; pebbles grew in size. Throughout, the clay showed flecks of minerals. At the top, a parcel sitting right up against Trotanoy's vines had the iron deposits reputed to give violet and truffle notes to some of Pomerol's fanciest wines.
This is the terroir that makes Pomerol so sought-after. And yet, Château Bourgneuf has none of the fame of its neighbors on the plateau, never mind Trotanoy. But that will change. Frédérique Vayron, Dominique's daughter, took over in 2008 and the wines have been on an upward trajectory. Farming has become more and more environmentally conscious. And the wines seem to be getting more precise and subtle, without giving up any of the delicious Pomerol power.
One of Frédérique's first decisions was to bottle a newly-replanted site as a sort of second wine in 2012, which they called 'Saisons'. The wine was great and the Saisons de Bourgneuf bottling became a classic second wine. Before bottling, Frédérique tastes each plot (they are fermented separately) and chooses the parcels that are most true to the style and spirit of Saisons. The result is a beautiful, fruit-driven wine, which even young expresses Pomerol terroir, at a price accessible even to those who weren't early into bitcoin.
We're laying plenty down because we think it's a great reasonable cellar option. But whether you're looking for some early-drinking Pomerol pleasure or something to age, don't miss this newsletter-only deal:
Château Bourgneuf, 'Les Saisons de Bourgneuf' Pomerol, 2018
Surprisingly accessible as soon as you open it, with subtle aromas under the fruit and a freshness giving way to polished tannins on the palate, this wine only gets better with air: The palate gains depth, the oak framing integrates. This is classic Pomerol at a price that is a mere fraction of some of its neighbors.