Alright… so we have a budget…. our wine for April is not from a great Burgundy vineyard; and it’s not a great vintage either.

It’s a 2012 La Patache. But it’s still very good. An excellent balance of strong tannins, but at the same time smooth and luxurious. And with lots of body. An unusual technique is used to achieve this rich texture and the intensity and purity of the wine. It’s fermented in the barrel first, and then it undergoes a malolactic fermentation which turns the naturally present and bitter malic acid in the wine into softer-tasting lactic acid. More on that on Wikipedia.

This wine is a glorious mix of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc grapes, and has an alcohol content of 13.5%.

So it comes as no surprise that Decanter has awarded it a gold medal and they’ve also given it the trophy for the best right bank claret.

This wine (well all Pomerols really) pairs well with beef or venison fillet. Avoid pastry (ie, no wellingtons) as you will not taste the wine so well.

Château La Patache is a very small, three hectare vineyard which marches with Château Clinet. Over the last decade or so Château Clinet has become one of the most prestigious names in Pomerol (it has land on the first bouttonière – see below).


About the Pomerol wine region

Where is Pomerol?

Pomerol is in the ‘right bank’, eastern region of Bordeaux (the ‘left bank’ region includes the great châteaux including Margaux and Pauillac). It’s an area delineated by law (it’s an AOC – for more on these protected areas follow this link) which is situated just to the north-west of Saint Émilion. It’s a tiny area however in comparison with this neighbour, about 12 kilometres square, about a seventh the size. Some of the Pomerol estates look across to the prestigious Château Cheval Blanc vineyards.

chateau petrus
Château Pétrus

No grand houses

Unlike most Burgundy wine areas – see Saint Émilion – it’s not centred around a village or town, instead the houses are all scattered among the vineyards. And most are not grand, elegant country houses, but more modest farm houses.

Which grapes

Most Pomerol wines are made mostly with merlot grapes (according to Berry Bros and Rudd, “Pomerol produces arguably the finest Merlot-based wines in the world”), with some cabernet franc (follow this link for more on this grape) mixed in. Sometimes Malbec is also used, and, increasingly, Cabernet Sauvignon.

Château Pétrus

Pomerol includes the very famous Château Pétrus – one of the most expensive wines in the world. This vineyard is able to afford to use helicopters to hover, in order to generate a grape-drying breeze. Château Pétrus vineyards take up over half of a piece (known as a bouttonière, or ‘buttonhole’) of very special soil – blue clay (known as molasse) above iron-rich sand (crasse de fer). This clay is the secret of the body and power of the wines produced from the vines it nurtures – it retains moisture even in dry years. Total area of this precious pocket of land, which is not like the rest of the soil in Pomerol, is about 50 acres.

The first bouttonière

chateau gazin
Château Gazin

Châteaux with some (or all their) land on the same bouttonière as Château Pétrus

  • Château La Conseillante
  • Château L’Évangile
  • Château Lafleur
  • Château Gazin
  • Château Trotanoy
  • Château Clinet
  • Château Le Gay
  • Vieux Château Certan

The second bouttonière

There is a second bouttonière in Pomerol which lacks the iron-rich sand, but which does have the blue clay. There is some dispute as to how important the iron-rich sand layer is – it may even be detrimental – it’s impermeable to vine roots for example. This pocket of land is further north and west. Châteaux with vineyards with some, or all ground on it are:

  • Château L’Église-Clinet
  • Château Trotanoy
  • Château Clos L’Église
  • Château La Cabanne
  • Château Nenin


For more posts on Saucy Dressings about wine, follow this link.


chateau le pin
The modest Château Le Pin




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