“Welcome!” says attractive Monique Bailly, as our car pulls into the driveway in front of Chateau Clinet in Pomerol.
With her long blonde hair Monique looks like the total California girl yet she is half British and French. As she welcomes us into the tasting room she tells us a little bit about the Chateau.
The name CLINET can be read “Cliné” on the Belleyme map of 1785 where it appears among a cluster of wines around the ancienne église. The name could derive from the old French ‘cliner’, used during the 16th century. The word meant to ‘bow’ or ‘lean’ – possibly a reference to the slope, which runs down from the famous Plateau de Pomerol, providing natural drainage.
Château CLINET is one of the most prestigious estates of the Pomerol wine region, set amongst the finest parcels of this well-known plateau.
Located 40km to the east of Bordeaux, on the right bank of the Garonne River, its gravelly clay soil makes Pomerol the terroir of the finest Merlots in the world. The natural resources required to produce the exceptional quality of our grapes, simply cannot be reproduced anywhere else on earth.
Successive generations of owners have been producing world-renowned wines here for centuries and, since 1998, it has been the duty and privilege of the Laborde family to perpetuate the highest possible standards, observing the traditions of a strict cultural approach.
The current owner and CEO Ronan Laborde grew up in a weathy family where the children were asked early in life about their interests and how they wanted to make their livelihood. Ronan showed an interest in wine from an early age so in 1999 when Ronan was 19 he and his father Jean-Louis Laborde travelled together to Argentina, looking at potential vineyards to purchase. But destiny brought them back to Bordeaux, when the perfect property presented itself for sale.
As soon as Ronan finished his studies, he became highly involved in the day-to-day management of CLINET, to the point that his father was soon able to comfortably take a step back and return to his former businesses.
Set on the right bank of the Garonne River, the climate is warm and the soil cool with natural drainage. Pomerol is best known for its full-bodied yet refined, elegant and approachable red wines, which are grown from Merlot (80%), Cabernet Franc (15%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (5%) grape varieties.
After explaining the terroir, Monique invited us to dinner which started off with Champagne and continued on with several vintages of their wine — all Merlot based with incredible balance between ripe fruit, racy acidity, and judicious use of oak. Much of the quality can be attributed to the winemaking as well as the unique ‘Gunz gravel’ as Château CLINET’s terroir sits on the famous terrace, which extends along the Isle river towards Libourne, up to Pomerol and Figeac (Saint-Emilion).
It was a delightful visit and many thanks to the Union Des Grand Crus and also the Laborde family for their hospitality.