Le Pin: Could this be the ultime collector wine?

It’s difficult to believe that one of Bordeaux’s most emblematic wines dates only from 1979, the year where Léon Thienpont bought a hectare (2,5 acres) of vines from his neighbor, the Loubie family. In 1984 a little bit more than a hectare was added to the domain, forming a unique ensemble of 2,7 hectare in the heart of the Pomerol appellation. Chateau Le Pin, has very rapidly become a legendary wine by the year 1980. A small production (6 to 7 000 bottles per year), magnificent wines, all the factors are present making it the reference of modern Pomerols. Situated on the Pomerol plateau, alas! The 2,7 hectares of the Château du Pin, unfortunately produce insufficient quantities of bottles each year. Owner as well of the equally famous Pomerol, the old Château Certan, Jacques holds 80% of the propriety, and his cousin Alexandre (son of Leon) the rest. He is the man in charge of the vines (with the help of his son Guillaume), whilst Jacques remains the winemaker.

The wine

Innovative in many respects, the wine from the Château le Pin is one of the first Bordeaux Grand crus to use the malolactic fermentation in totally new oak casks. It’s equally one of the first “garage wines”, these marvelous wines, produced in small quantities and sold at unearthly prices. All these elements probably explain the exotic, richness and the extremely well structured character of the Château le Pin wines. This wine forms part of the great Pomerols and one of the most seductive ones of the Bordeaux area. The varieties used are merlot noir (92%) and cabernet franc (8%).

Extremely popular in Japan, Alexandre Thienpont compares it to La Tache with regards to its velvety texture and rich floral aroma; it can be drunk quiet young, with smooth and mellow tannins, almost from the beginning. But, it will mature exceptionally well, something that many critics underestimated in the beginning.


If you are able to purchase it, get your hands on the 2001 vintage. “Very certainly the best value for money deal on the market £ 9,000 (15 000$) for a case of six bottles, compared to the £ 16,000 (27 400$) for the 2000 vintage.
Le Pin, with its small scale and the great talent of its winemaker, will always produce extremely good wines in the small millesimes”.
A brand new cellar, conceived by the famous Belgian architects Robbrecht & Daem, was finished in 2012.

The winemakers

Jacques Thienpont and Fiona Morrison, form one of the most powerful couples in the world of wines. Since their marriage in 1997, they share their time between Belgium where they exploit the family business, and their cellar in France. Fiona is an expert in wines, writer, and a consultant for Christies and creates wine menus for restaurants. Even though Jacques and Fiona are often associated to the Le Pin domain, one must underline the work done by Alexandre Thienpont, owner of the Vieux Château Certan and of a sixth of the parts of Le Pin. He’s the man responsible for the vines and their maintenance throughout the year.

What critics are saying

It will take a while to find a critic that will speak negatively about Château Le Pin. Sa far as Parker points are concerned, it seems to float around the 95 point and more, levels, even if in the 1998 and 2009 vintages they reached perfection with 100 points. According the Traders Bordelais, it’s one of the most solid investments. For a case of 6 bought in 2000 (96 points, 12,790$), it’ll cost you now approximately 59,100$. In other words a 400% increase. The prices for Le Pin are maintaining themselves much better than other Bordeaux icons, especially those of the left bank. The production is so confidential, that it is less sensitive to market fluctuations.
An obsession for quality, for instance, there was not a 2003 vintage after a droughty summer, and in 2013 only three barrels where produced. Only 40% of the production is sold in Bordeaux, the rest is sold directly to wine merchants in the countries of distribution.

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