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Producer profile: Château La Pointe

With 23ha, the fourth largest estate in Pomerol after De Sales, Nenin and Gazin, La Pointe rose to prominence under France’s Second Empire.

In the 1883 edition of Cocks et Féret’s Bordeaux et ses Vins, Château La Pointe was just one of three awarded the prestigious ‘Château’ prefix. It has always been a well thought-of, middle-of-the-road Pomerol.

The first vintage that Bordeaux expert David Peppercorn MW came across was the 1943, and Stephen Brook mentions the 1947 in his book The Complete Bordeaux (Mitchell Beazley, 2007). It was a regular on wine lists due to its open style and modest price, the d’Arfeuille family, also owners of La Serre in St-Emilion, assuring a good average quality (its 1996, in my Dorset cellar, is perfect now).

In 2007 the estate was sold to the Generali France insurance company, and now under the direction of agronomic engineer Eric Monneret (ex Raymond-Lafon in Sauternes), with Hubert de Boüard de Laforest as consultant, investments are ongoing to ensure that La Pointe reaches its full potential.

One of the first properties to the north of the village of Catusseau on the outskirts of Libourne, the terroir is fine sandy-gravel with a little moisture-retaining clay but none of the iron elements found in the centre of the appellation, even though one parcel is near to Trotanoy. An indepth geological study of the soils and sub-soils undertaken by Pierre Becheler, who had conducted similar surveys at Branaire-Ducru, Cos d’Estournel, Montrose and Palmer, resulted in the uprooting of all the 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and the severe limitation of yields from the Cabernet Franc.

A totally new vat room and barrel cellar (50% new each year) were ready in time for the 2009 harvest, allowing for plot-by-plot vinification, and later enabling fine-tuning of the selection for the grand vin, the second label being Pomerol de La Pointe. La Pointe is now regaining its 19th-century glory.

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