Pomerol is a flavorful red wine from the “right bank” region of Bordeaux known as the Libournais, considered to be among the most reputable of the Bordeaux appellations. Its renown dates back to the 12th century, when the Knights Hospitaliers of the order of Saint-John of Jerusalem – the precursor to the Knights of Malta – began popularizing wine from this region throughout the medieval period. After a period of abandonment during the Hundred Years’ War, growers got back to work and succeeded in reasserting the excellence of their wines by the mid-18th century. Before long, Pomerols began expanding internationally and in 1936 they were part of the first group of wines to be granted AOC status by the French National Institute of Origin and Quality.
The small region or terroir of Pomerol strictly produces red wine. Merlot grapes are by far the most dominant, though rarely the exclusive ingredient in a Pomerol. The arid summer temperatures and clay-ridden soil bring the best out of these vines. 80% of the regions vineyards produce Merlot grapes, though the official AOC approves the inclusion of the Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot varieties. The majority of reputed blends call for the addition of Cabernet Franc to the Merlot. This addition is important to many Pomerol producers because Cabernet Franc wine has a higher acidity and tannin content than do sweet Merlot wines, and can help the wine age with more sophistication.
Pomerols have a high reputation for their finesse and intensity and typically boast a fleshy and velvety texture. Their principal fruit comparison is a plum or prune, though they commonly give off a diverse array of notes ranging from chocolate to truffles. They are lower than most Bordeaux in tannin content and can be enjoyed optimally at a young age, though many merit proper long-term storage. Aged Pomerols are capable of developing rare and exquisite bouquets of flavors that have been compared to the grands vins of Burgundy. This assertive wine pairs best with equally flavorful and gamey meats.