x
  • Country ranking ?

    59
  • Producer ranking ?

    2
  • Decanting time

    4h
  • When to drink

    from 2025
  • Food Pairing

    Beef

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's 50 best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

Read more
Close

(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.

Score: 19+ Matthew Jukes, MatthewJukes.com, April 2019

Read more
Close

The Story

Château Le Pin, or simply Le Pin, is an unclassed Bordeaux wine from the appellation Pomerol. There has never been an official classification of Pomerol. Even so, Chateau Le Pin commands prices that put it at levels equal to the best wines of Bordeaux. The unusually small estate is located on the Right Bank of France’s Gironde estuary, and its wine is periodically one of the world's most expensive red wines. Le Pin was the first of the "garage wines" or microchateau that have become cult collector wines. These wines defy the traditional classifications.
 

Madame Laubie, whose family had owned the plot since 1924 sold the vineyard in 1979 to the Belgian Thienpont family for 1 million francs. Developed by Marcel and Gérard Thienpont on less than 2 hectares, wine was produced by microcuvée from a farmhouse basement. The property was given the name Le Pin by the Thienponts from a solitary pine tree that shades the property. By acquiring tiny adjoining plots of land, Jacques has doubled the size of Le Pin to five acres.

Occasionally the most expensive wine in the world, continually receiving high ratings from wine critics and produced in extremely small numbers, Le Pin bottles are a constant presence on the wine auction market. Le Pin produces just 600 to 700 cases each year.
Currently managed by Jacques Thienpont, additional tiny plots of land have been acquired. Some years no wine is produced.

Read more
Close

Vintage 2018

2018 Bordeaux Vintage Report and recommendations

by Andrew Caillard MW

2018 is an exceptional year. The Bordeaux whites and sauternes are very good, but from an Australian perspective the excitement is all in the red wines. All sub regions produced examples of really good wines, but some performed better than others. Generally the very top estates made exemplary wines illustrating that the human factor and wealth can have a major impact on terroir! Over the last few weeks I have tasted around 350 to 400 wines, sometimes in large format forums like the UCG tastings or at various Chateaux. Nowadays it is difficult to taste the wines blind but density of colour, aromatic freshness, tannin density and overall balance are obvious indicators. In some instance I have tasted wines a few times enabling me to cross reference.

 

The weather until a few days ago has been clear with bright sunshine, warm days and a cool breeze. Temperatures have fallen now with more cloud cover and intermittent rains. While driving from Sauternes to St Emilion we drove through light hail but not enough to cause too many problems. In two weeks we have seen dormant vineyards and trees spring to life. The growing season is starting a touch early and of course people are worried about the chances of frost. After the devastating frost events of 2017 and the challenges created by hail and mildew during 2018, there is a feeling that climate change may well have an unpredictable impact on future  Bordeaux vintages.

 

 We have pretty tasted a good amount of primeurs wines now. As usual the vintage will be exaggerated. The growing season was near calamitous but long warm sunshine hours over summer cleaned everything up and allowed the grapes to ripen very really well. The colours, flavours, density and acidities are really impressive and as a consequence the vintage is generally quite exceptional. It is difficult to truly understand the overall crop losses as producers are understandably quite cagey. But they vary from almost nothing to less than a third. At Ch Climens in Sauternes Barsac I would estimate the crop being around 20% of the average. When one considers that this estate lost its whole crop in 2017 from frost, the shock must be keenly felt. Mother Nature has been particularly cruel of late. The narrative of the growing season will inevitably create a negative impression, but few people will remember the details in years to come. They will only remember the wine. For some people with long memories they believe the vintage is like 1947 or 1961. If this is the case, this is not just an exceptional vintage, this is something beyond the norm. An immortal year. The concentration, weight, and vitality of the wines are impressive. Despite the amazing tannin density, saturated colours and flavours, the wines are actually quite easy to taste, indicating remarkable balance and life.

 

In my opinion the strongest sub regions are Pauillac and St Julien – which have both produced wines of great consistency and classicism. They are powerfully expressive with pronounced ripe tannins and pure fruit flavours. The combination of better micro-climatic conditions, wealth and physical resources helped with the result. Ch Pontet Canet is an outlier because of its approach to biodynamic viticulture. It suffered terribly from mildew and has produced only a third of the crop. The wine is markedly different from wines like Ch Latour or Ch Pichon Lalande, but its overall buoyancy and richness of fruit is compelling. It also stands for something that is worthwhile and important. 

 

I always think of Pauilac as being the reference for Bordeaux. Typically the wines are extremely expressive with pure cassis cedar aromas and fine grainy tannins. This year the wines are particularly dense and inky with plentiful graphite tannins. They are not at all sinewy or soupy and hence when the tannins settle down the wines will be exceptional.

There are many outstanding wines from Pauillac including Ch Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Ch Pichon Longueville Baron, Ch Lynch Bages, Ch Batailley, Ch d’Armailhac and Ch Grand Puy Lacoste. The first growths Ch Latour, Ch Mouton Rothschild and Ch Lafite Rothschild are very impressive. Their second wines Les Forts de Latour, Petit Mouton and Carruades are also of very high quality.

 

Neighbouring St Julien has also performed very well. Ch Ducru Beaucaillou and Ch Leoville Lascases probably lead the pack but Ch Leoville Barton, Ch Leoville Poyferré, Ch Gruaud Larose, Ch Talbot and Close de Marquis are all exceptionally well made wines

 

St Estephe is variable. Some estates controlled the volume and consistency of tannin very well and made classical wines. These include Cos d’Estournel, Ch Montrose, Ch TronquoyLalande, Ch Phelan Segur and Ch Canon Segur. Other examples were in my opinion excessively brutish in structure. For those willing to keep the wines for a decade or two, many of them will eventually come

around.

Margaux is also variable and does not always have the density of fruit to go with the tannins. Yet one of my favourite wines of the vintage is Ch Palmer which is magical. In fact I think it is the wine of the vintage. Ch Prieuré Lichine, Brane Cantenac, Giscours and Marquis de Terme were all good. Ch Margaux and Pavillon Rouge were of course well above the average. 

 

Subregions Moulis, Listrac and Haut Medoc wines are all over the place yet there are some genuine highlights including Esmond de Rothschild’s Ch Clarke, Ch Cantemerle and Ch Beaumont. 

 

Graves and Pessac Leognan have produced wines of varying quality yet again the very top Chateaux including Ch HautBailly, Ch La Mission Haut Brion and Ch Haut Brion have made impressive grand vins. Ch Smith Haut Lafitte has really moved up the hustings and has made a really good wine this year. 

 

St Emilion is a fascinating tapestry of colour and movement this year making some truly outstanding wines. Ch Cheval Blanc, Ch Ausone, Ch Belair Monange, Ch Fourtet, Ch Figeac, Ch Canon and Ch Pavie have all produced wines of richness and impact. I also enjoyed Ch La Dominique and the Burgundian-like Tertre Roteboeuf. But there is more inconsistency on the flats and fringes of the region. However as is often the case the value can be found best with lesser names who have prevailed well. This includes a few wines in the nearby Cotes de Castillon which may represent good value.

 

Pomerol is more consistent than St Emilion but there is also some variability. Ch Petrus, Vieux Chateau Certan, Ch Certande May, Ch Latour a Pomerol, Ch Gazin, Lafleur, Lafleur Petrus and Ch Trotanoy made really terrific wine but there were some instances where the wines were lighter in weight and probably less appealing. On reflection I think Pomerol vies for line honours. The wines are amazingly impressive with beautiful polish, suppleness and concentration. There are many instances where second wines have performed 

2018 is not a very great Sauternes Barsac year and the quality is dependent on the producer and how much of the crop was picked before the rain and humidity finally arrived to promote botrytis in the vineyards. My clear favourite is Ch Climens. Although I always see it in parts, the end result promises to be outstanding.  Rieussec, de Fargues and Lafaurie Peyragueyare are standouts.

 

As you will see from my tasting notes there are many great wines. This year it is going to be very hard to make a bad decision. Although the big names have made impressive wines there are stacks of lesser known or lower profile estates that have made promising young wines. Over the next year they will continue to evolve and mature in barrel, building more complexity and allowing the tannins to settle down. 

As regards whether it is a great vintage, I think it is safe to say that it is a remarkable year with many very great wines made. In some ways it is a miracle year considering the challenges and disappointments of the growing season. Most observers will agree that the 2018 vintage, specifically the red wines, is in the same league as the greatest vintages including 2015, 2010 and 2009 etc. Some winemakers are also suggesting its very similar to 1947 or 1961. 

But 2018 is also an atypical year – whatever that means these days. The weather patterns are more difficult to predict and no one can really second guess what God plans for this forthcoming season. Thankfully the predicted cold snap last night did not damage the emerging new growth. But the unseasonable warm start to the growing season and clear skies has everyone on edge

 

Andrew Caillard, MW

Read more
Close

Latest Pro-tasting notes

11 tasting notes

Tasting note

Be the first one to make a 20s tasting note!

Written Notes

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.

  • 97p

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.

  • 95p

Ruby. Blueberries, anise, some spices, elegant nose, dark fruits, layered and detailed nose. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, anise, blueberries and spices, layered, detailed, intense, stunning balance and length, incredible. 99-100

  • 100p

Dark purple red colour with violet hue and black core. Opulent nose with graphite, almost flinty character, very juicy fruit, hints of ripe berries in the background. Complex palate, with perfect concentration, excellent structure, gentle extraction, complex and rich character, great depth. A great wine with great class.

  • 99p
Load more notes

Information

Origin

Pomerol, Bordeaux

Inside Information

98-99 JAMES SUCKLING: "A very plush and exciting L’Evangile with polished, velvety tannins that set this up to be a classic. It’s full-bodied with glorious fruit and a great center palate that has fantastic depth. It’s so caressing and beautiful. So much here."

98 DECANTER: "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."

97-99 JEB DUNNUCK: "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." 

97-99 THE WINEADVOCATE: "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."

Read more

Highlights

Latest news

WINE NEWS: Dom Pérignon 2010 / The luminous sweetness of tropical fruit – green mango, melon, pineapple – instantly shi  more ...
VINTAGE NEWS: 1945 / Tastingbook’s TOP 10 wines from 1947&1945 tasting  (66 wines tasted) 1. Chât  more ...
WINERY NEWS Château Margaux /          VINTAGE  more ...
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS 100 Best Champagnes for 2020  / Dom Pérignon is a winner again!
WINERY NEWS Warre's / The New Normal 2019 Douro Harvest Report It is easy for visitors to the Douro to assume that  more ...
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS MOST FAKED WINE / TOP 30 LIST
WINERY NEWS Diamond Creek Vineyards / Louis Roederer Champagne to buy Diamond Creek Vineyards Roederer is about to add another gem, Dia  more ...
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS One of the most famous names in the global wine trade, Michael Broadbent MW, has died aged 92. / Robert Joseph remembers Michael Broadbent MW, who led an extraordinary life in wine.
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS BWW 2020 - Best Wine Shop of the World have been selected  / Millésima from France is the Winner.
WINE NEWS: Sassicaia 2017 / Sassicaia 2017 released – “a wild, exotic beauty” By Liv-ex Sassicaia 2  more ...
WINE NEWS: Sir Winston Churchill 2009 / Pol Roger, Sir Winston Churchill 2009 released By Liv-ex This morning, Pol Roger Sir Wins  more ...
WINE NEWS: Hermitage La Chapelle 2016 / Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage Chapelle 2017 released – “a magical wine in the making&rdqu  more ...
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS Champagne Henriot announces the appointment of its new Wine Maker, Alice Tétienne / Champagne Henriot is very pleased to welcome Alice Tétienne as its new Wine Maker, starting from April 1st, 2020.
WINERY NEWS Château Cantenac-Brown / Margaux third growth Château Cantenac Brown has been sold to Frenchman Tristan Le Lous for an   more ...
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS PENFOLDS GRANGE VERTICAL BREAKS AUCTION RECORD / A set of Penfolds Grange, dating from 1951 to 2015, has been sold for a record AU$372,800, comfortably beating the previous auction price for a similar vertical of $349,500.
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS BWW 2020 - Best Wine Critics of the World have been selected! / The Best Wine Critic of the World -title was awarded to Neal Martin.
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS BWW 2020 - Voting for the Best Wine Critic of the World is over. / Wine Critics received 218,966 votes from 56 countries.
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS DRAKE LAUNCHES 2008 VINTAGE CHAMPAGNE PRICED AT $550 A BOTTLE / Having unveiled his first Mod Sélection Champagnes at the start of the year, Canadian rapper Drake is ending the year by launching two 2008 vintage expressions priced at US$480 and $550 a bottle.
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS LOUIS ROEDERER LAUNCHES FIRST ‘BIODYNAMIC’ CRISTAL / Louis Roederer has announced the release of the 2012 vintage of Cristal, the first to be made from 100% biodynamically farmed grapes.

Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.
Incorrect Information
If you found some information that is wrong, let us know
Are you sure you want do delete this wine? All information will be lost.
Are you sure you want to recommend this wine?
Are you sure you want hide this written note ?
Are you sure you want show this written note ?

HOW TO USE TASTINGBOOK?

We recommend you to share few minutes for watching the following video instructions of how to use the Tastingbook. This can provide you a comprehensive understanding of all the features you can find from this unique service platform.

This video will help you get started



Taste wines with the Tastingbook


Create Your wine cellar on 'My Wines'



Explore Your tasted wines library



Administrate Your wine world in Your Profile



Type a message ...
Register to Tastingbook
Register now, it's fast, easy and totally free. No commitments, only enjoyments.
  Register