Château Le Bon Pasteur 2020
• Domaine: Château Le Bon Pasteur
• Appellation: Pomerol
• Classification: Pomerol, Bordeaux
• Origin: Right Bank, Bordeaux, France
For wine lovers who enjoy the softness of a ripe, lush Pomerol but also the power of a bold, mineral-driven Saint-Émilion, Château Le Bon Pasteur is a producer that is well worth discovering. This property is significant not just because the quality of its wines, but because of its strong connection with a very influential Bordeaux consultant, one who many vignerons consider to be the best blender in all of Bordeaux – Michel Rolland.
Like many of the top tier Pomerol properties, Château Le Bon Pasteur dates to the 1920s. The tiny house that is now a tasting room was built in 1865. In Bordeaux and other regions, the philosophy of many vignerons is that truly great wines begin with perfect fruit. Many great wine producers often start out as growers, as such is the case with the well-respected Napa phenomenon, Pym Rae. Château Le Bon Pasteur is no exception, as initially this property was simply dedicated to grape growing. The choicest, most luscious plantings of Merlot and Cabernet Franc would then get chosen by surrounding négociants. Eventually Château Le Bon Pasteur was acquired by the Rolland family in 1978 and they began making wine at the estate. Château Le Bon Pasteur was then handed on to the two sons of the Rolland family - Danny and Michel Rolland. What makes Château Le Bon Pasteur so significant is that it was the first estate Michel Rolland began implementing his techniques as a vigneron.
Michel and Danny Rolland were the first wine consultants in Bordeaux to advise winemakers with techniques that were considered by many vignerons to be a bit unusual back in the day but are now commonplace. They promoted green harvesting, effeuillage – a practice where one removes the lower leaves on the vines to let the sun hit the grapes more, and harvesting grapes based on their phenolic ripeness. During overly rainy seasons, the Rolland brothers would place plastic sheets on the vines to protect them from absorbing excessive moisture. As their consulting business grew, they would share their knowledge with their clients, leading to some of the most renowned wines in the world – including: Château Angélus, Château Pontet-Canet, Château Lascombes, and Château Ausone to name a few. Château Le Bon Pasteur is currently owned by the Goldin Group which is headed by Sutong Pan.
The vines at Château Le Bon Pasteur are scattered throughout Pomerol, with a portion of parcels in neighboring Saint-Émilion. Harvesting is done on a plot-by-plot basis on the patchwork terroirs of different soil types. Some of the finest plots are on the Caillou plot, which has the same blue clay as the legendary producer Pétrus. Fermentation here takes place with truly indigenous yeasts, and for 25 to 30 days, the barrel is not moved at all. The wines of Château Le Bon Pasteur require a bit of time before they are enjoyed, and one should wait about 6-8 years before discovering this wine. At their peak, they are the perfect blend of softness and strength.
"The 2020 Le Bon Pasteur, which as always is fermented in new oak barrels, is impressive on the nose, delivering mineral-driven black fruit, clean and precise, the new oak very neatly integrated. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp tannins and saline in the mouth, building nicely toward a finish that demonstrates a sense of symmetry and poise. This is a really fine Le Bon Pasteur that is maybe cut from a less hedonistic cloth than previous vintages. Excellent." - Neal Martin, vinous.com, (June, 2021), Rating: 92-94, Drink: 2027-2047
"Deep purple-black colored, the 2020 Bon Pasteur needs a little swirling to release bright, vibrant notes of crushed black and red plums, boysenberries and black raspberries, plus hints of menthol, cedar chest and fertile loam. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has a solid frame of grainy tannins and well-balanced acidity supporting the earth-laced, muscular black fruits, finishing on a lingering black pepper note." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate, (5/21/2021), Rating: 92-94, Drink: 2025-2040
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