Chateau Le Pin 1986 (Nett)


Shows incredible elegance, with very perfumy dried vanilla, bergamot and juniper notes, followed by caressing, lightly mulled raspberry and plum elements that segue into a sanguine finish that glides on and on. Despite the elegance, there's no sign of this fading or losing focus. This extremely impressive showing is almost a match for the trio of '90, '09 and '10.--Non-blind Le Pin vertical (December 2015). Drink now through 2025. 672 cases made. - WS98

Tasted from a half-bottle with owner Jacques Thienpont and Fiona Morrison MW at the property, the 1986 Le Pin put in a quite dazzling display. Who says demi-bouteilles cannot age! Still youthful in color, I was smitten by the precocious and intoxicating bouquet armed with seductive blueberry, vanilla and violet scents. Interestingly, it reminded me of a fine Chambertin and that Burgundy theme continues onto the palate. Like the nose, the palate remains very exuberant and lively, belying its age and disproving the theory that Le Pin cannot mature as well as other Pomerols. This is underpinned by filigree, quite firm tannin that are counterpoised by a sensual Burgundy-like texture, the finish offering wonderful precision and intensity. There is just a sense of effortlessness here. Probably at 30 years, it is at its peak. The 1986 Le Pin is a sterling success. For those fortunate enough to have bottles, well, you are in for a real treat. Tasted June 2016.- WA94

The Winery

Le Pin is a tiny 2.7-hectare (6-acre) property in the Pomerol district of Bordeaux. It was created in 1979 by the Thienpont family (owners of nearby Vieux Château Certan), and quickly rose to prominence to vie for the title of most expensive wine in the world. The Merlot-predominant wine is extremely concentrated and lush; it can often be drunk young but is best with a decade of aging.

The Le Pin vineyard is south-facing and sits on well-drained gravel and sand soils which give extremely low yields. It is planted 92 percent to Merlot with the remainder to Cabernet Franc. Grapes are harvested by hand and fermented in stainless steel before 14 to 18 months' aging in first one new oak barrel, and then a second. Production is obviously tiny, totaling just 600 to 700 cases per year – compared with 4000 for Petrus and 20,000 and more for the Médoc First Growths.

Le Pin is named after two pine trees at the vineyard. There is no true château on the property, though a new winery was opened in 2011, replacing an old farmhouse basement.

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