One of the most famous and hard-to-find wines of Bordeaux thanks to the tiny production (of 100% Merlot from 2.5 hectares of vines) and consistently fabulous quality. Jacques Thienpont established Le Pin in 1979 and his sumptuous, silky Pomerol is always intense yet un-forced, smooth and fine. He believes that his 2018 "represents a combination of the qualities of the 2015 and 2016 vintages joined together." The yield this year was 30 hl/ha and the alcohol is 14.5 degrees
Tasting the 2018 Le Pin from barrel, I was intrigued by its Left Bank–like personality on the nose. Now in bottle, though it is not as obvious as before, it still flirts with Médocian traits thanks to its very attractive, very subtle graphite and marine scents. It has wonderful delineation, pixelated and focused. The palate is medium-bodied and demonstrates a touch more tannic spine. Wonderfully focused and detailed, maybe a touch spicier than recent vintages, with disarming harmony and effortlessness. It is self-aware that it is a great Le Pin. 2022-2045
The 2018 Le Pin, tasted directly from barrel as usual, albeit six months later than primeur, ergo this represents the final blend. This has an intriguing bouquet - much more reserved and almost Left Bank in character with tightly wound black fruit laced with oyster shell and hints of seaweed. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins, a little more muscular than usual with touches of charcoal and graphite towards the beautifully defined finish. This is an intellectual Le Pin that will be fascinating to taste once in bottle. 2022 - 2045
The 2018 Le Pin is made of 100% Merlot, picked the last week of September with yields of 30 hectoliters per hectare. The wine has a pH of 3.7, an IPT (total polyphenol index) of 70 and 14.5% alcohol. Deep purple-black in color, it is a little reserved to begin, offering glimpses of tar, fertile loam and truffles with slowly emerging notes of baked black cherries, stewed plums, mulberries and underbrush plus hints of black pepper, hoisin and chargrill with a waft of garrigue. Full-bodied, the palate is loaded with taut, muscular fruit and heaps of earthy accents, with a firm frame of ripe, rounded tannins and just enough seamless freshness, finishing very long and wonderfully savory.
The density and texture to this Le Pin is very surprising. It’s tannic and intense with an angular and stony-mineral undertone. Full-bodied yet energetic and edgy. Great structure. Reminds me of the great 1986.
A heady, exotic wine, the 2018 Le Pin is rapturous right out of the gate. Waves of intense dark fruit cascade over the senses. The 2018 is a majestic, hypnotically beautiful Pomerol that really dazzles. Inky dark fruit, cherry, menthol, spice and chocolate are all fused together. The 100% new oak, a bit intrusive en primeur, has assimilated nicely. Time in the glass brings out exotic floral and spice notes. Le Pin is beyond my means, and probably beyond most readers' means, but it is undeniably great. And I mean great. 2028 - 2058
The 2018 Le Pin is dense, rich and seductive, with all of the textural richness that is such a signature. Le Pin is, of course, 100% Merlot fermented entirely in new oak. There is a touch of new wood in the en primeur sample that needs time to fully assimilate, which I expect will not be a problem over time. More than anything else, I am impressed with the wine's freshness and overall energy. The 2018 comes in 14.5% alcohol, the highest ever here, and yet that is not especially evident. A closing burst of floral overtones and red/purplish berry fruit leaves a lasting impression.
30 hl/ha, pH 3.7. Barrel sample.
Intensely perfumed with a complex combinaton of red fruits, a hint of lovely leafiness or pencil shavings (not underripeness at all), and floral plus some dark fruits in this vintage. Then there's a slightly chocolatey note from the oak but very slight and not intrusive. On the palate, both dry and silky at the same time, fluent across the palate, with the lightest of tannic friction more like a matt texture. Intense and sweet-fruited on the palate, impressive concentration, the sweetness of pure fruit. Generous, inviting and glossy without being showy. (JH) 14.5%
A deep ruby purple in the glass. Bursting with red and black berries on the nose, with hints of white pepper, smoked nuts and graphite. The palate is glossy on entry, with great intensity of fleshy cherries and plums. This is wonderfully refined, elegant and unforced, with cashmere tannins and purity of fruit. There are mineral, cool undertones and waves of fresh acidity that tame the riper elements at the core, but the texture is seductive and satiny. The finish is long, lightly spicy and harmonious.
About as sexy as wine gets, the 2018 Le Pin comes from a tiny vineyard located just across from Vieux Château Certan and is always 100% Merlot brought up in new barrels. It reveals a deep purple color as well as a heavenly bouquet of crème de cassis, roasted coffee, vanilla, and toasted spice. Deep, full-bodied, seamless, and incredibly layered on the palate, with ultra-fine tannins, it's already approachable, with the flamboyant style of the vintage, yet should evolve for decades. It’s a brilliant Pomerol in the making.
This is extremely good, expansive and luxurious with a stunning texture – vibrant and powerful, and a floral side that becomes clear as it opens in the glass, lifting the whole thing not through acidity but through aromatics.
The real difference with Le Pin and other 100% Merlot wines is the sumptuousness through the mid palate, it’s so wide and rich, you can’t just walk over it but lie down on it, feather pillow style.
They had a yield of 30hl/ha, mainly due to thicker than usual skins with some concentration at the finish, and added a selected rather than indigenous yeast to deal with the alcohol levels. 3.7Ph. 70IPT.
2019, by the way, is the 40th anniversary vintage here for the Thienponts.
Drinking Window 2026 - 2040
(100 Merlot) | 100% new oak | 14.5% alc | 30 hl/ha | 3.7 pH | 70 IPT A very intense nose leads the way with supreme richness and decadence. The acidity on the finish is amazing, too, and these two elements bookend a profoundly delicious, densely exotic wine dotted with spice and wild flower notes. It is the layering of eight different plots of Merlot on the 2.5ha property which makes this such a fascinating and rewarding wine. There is already some superb depth on display and the palate is expansive without any unwanted muscle or brawn. I made no notes at all about the oak and this is because it is at one with the wine. Jacques Thienpont thinks it is like a blend of 2015 and 2016 in one wine. I think that this is a nice image and yet there is a suppleness in this vintage which brings and extra level of charm to this wine and this sums up the 2018 vintage.