Pomerol, a very discreet vineyard

It’s hard to believe that before Jean-Pierre Moueix established his wine merchant firm in the 1930’s on the banks of the Dordogne in Libourne, wine from the area known as Pomerol was unfashionable.  Yet within Jean-Pierre’s lifetime, the appellation grew in such importance that its wines became the most sought after in the world, due in no small part to his vision and the quality of one château, the wine of which he distributed and later owned – Petrus. 

Due to the small size of vineyard holdings (the average size is 5 hectares per château) and a demand for the opulent red wines which far outstrips supply, Pomerol remains one of the most difficult parts of the Bordeaux region to visit.

No self-respecting wine tourist to Pomerol today would fail to stop by this vineyard, located at the highest point of the plateau and fortunate enough to be comprised of heavy clay which provides a perfect expression of the Merlot grape.  Once a favorite of the Kennedys and Aristotle Onassis, even they might struggle to visit the winery today, such is the strictness of the Petrus visitor policy.  And they are not alone. Due to the small size of vineyard holdings (the average size is 5 hectares per château) and a demand for the opulent red wines which far outstrips supply, Pomerol remains one of the most difficult parts of the Bordeaux region to visit. 

Those who have decided to welcome visitors however, do it well and there has been an increase in the number of producers opening their doors in recent years. 

Cuvier - château Petit Village  

At Château Petit-Village, just off the Rue de Catusseau which separates the appellation from its equally well recognized neighbor, Saint-Emilion, 4 different types of tasting are on offer, some featuring a barrel tasting of individual grape varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet France, in addition to Merlot) or the famous 1995 and 2000 vintages.
English and Spanish are spoken and during summer months, a picnic lunch can be served outside on the shaded terrace overlooking the vineyards.

On the back of some recent renovations, nearby Château Beauregard not only welcomes tourists but also provides them with a place to stay; not surprising considering it has been part owned since 2014 by the Cathiard family of Les Sources de Caudalie. Housed in the 18th-century chartreuse, guests can choose between 5 sumptuous bedrooms facing either the gravel courtyard or the park with its moat and water lilies. 

Château Beauregard  
Château Beauregard - chambres  

Further west of the region, Château La Pointe also boasts five luxury bedrooms, each with a different theme and a modern feel. A dedicated in-house chef caters for dining requests and 2 evenings per month, cookery workshops are organized, where guests prepare local, fresh ingredients for dinner. 

château La pointe cuvier extérieur  
Château La Pointe - chai  

Modern is also a term used to describe the winery and style of wine at Château Clinet on the northern end of the Pomerol plateau. Purchased by the Laborde family in 1998, there has been an extensive refit of the winery in 2014, which now features high-tech, stainless steel vats on below ground level, so as to facilitate gravity flow vinification. Visiting the winery includes a tour of this facility, and as well as the 3 wines included in the tasting, visitors can also purchase from older vintages available in enomatic machines.

However, one of the most frequented château in the appellation is one of the oldest. Château de Sales has been in the same family for over 500 years and with a bit of luck, you may have current owner Bruno de Lambert as your guide to share his story when you visit.  

Château de Sales