The Old Lady of Le Pin


Jacques Thienpont

Jacques Thienpont

Our tasting of the Right Bank yesterday culminated in, what turned out to be, a more-than-usually special visit to Le Pin. As ever, we arrived at the strangely uninspiring building that has come to symbolise the entrepreneurial nature of this iconic producer’s fortunes.

To taste the 2009s however, we moved to the new chai (left), all of 100m away, which had much more space than the low-ceilinged basement of the old house. The wine was fabulous – its alcohol level of only 13.5 is a miracle in a vintage where virtually every Merlot we had tasted was 14-15%. Beautifully balanced, harmonious and concentrated, yet fresh – this is surely one of the great wines of Le Pin.

And then Jacques Thienpont told us that the old building – for many a symbol of the turnaround in fortunes of Bordeaux – is to be demolished in three months to make way for a few more prized rows vines.

She was never a beauty (as you can see from the photo of Jacques Thienpont and the old winery above), but we can’t help but feel somewhat saddened by the impending loss of the old Le Pin house, so different from the immaculate, aristocratic opulence of the Grands Chateaux. We came away feeling honoured that we had tasted the last vintage crafted within sight of the Old Lady of Le Pin. Bonne nuit, Madame, et bonne continuation.