L’If is owned by Jacques Thienpont, who is best known for his Pomerol estate, Le Pin. Before Jacques Thienpont purchased it in 2010, this property was called Château Le Haut-Plantey. As can be seen from Google Maps, some database has not caught up with the change of ownership and continue to call the parcel of land by its old name. The Thienpont family has a passion for naming their wine after trees. After naming Le Pin after a lone pine tree on the property and turning it into a legendary success, would you break the tradition? As a result, we now have pine (Le Pin), yew (L'If), and beech (L'Hêtre).
There are few families that are in the top echelon of every wine category they own. When it comes to Bordeaux's Right Bank, the Thienpont family is one to reckon with! Since their marriage in 1997, Jacques & Fiona (who earned her Master of Wine title in 1994) have been dividing their time among their three estates: Le Pin (Pomerol) , L'IF (St Emilion) and L'Hêtre (formerly named Château Goubau) (Castillon). The iconic Le Pin retails for thousands of dollars a bottle every vintage. Fortunately, the winemaker also brings to the market less pricey wines such as L'IF and L'Hêtre.
"The 2018 L'If is an exceptionally beautiful Saint-Émilion. Fragrant and light on its feet, the 2018 is all finesse. A rush of rose petal, lavender, mint, spice and blue/purplish berry fruit infuse this striking, mid-weight Saint-Émilion. This is one of the more polished, understated wines of the vintage. Silky tannins add to the wine's air of sophistication. I tasted the 2018 from six separate lots and then the final blend (two times), which once again shows how important blending is as the final wine is truly greater than the sum of its parts. Cyrille Thienpont told me the grapes did not have a lot of juice at crush, so he opted for gentler winemaking and fewer pumpovers during a cuvaison that lasted 25-28 days. The blend is 74% Merlot and 26% Cabernet Franc, a big increase over 2016, where the Franc was 9%." - Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, (April, 2019), Ratings: 95-98
"The 2018 L'If is blended of 74% Merlot and 26% Cabernet Franc, to be aged 12-16 months in barriques, 50% new. The wine has a pH of 3.55 and 14.5% alcohol. Deep purple-black in color, it gives up a beautiful perfume of baked raspberries, mulberries and Black Forest cake with hints of fragrant soil, rose hip tea and dusty soil. Full-bodied, rich and jam-packed with generous red and black fruits framed by velvety tannins, it has wonderful savory chocolate and licorice accents and a long, spicy finish." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (4/23/2019, Bordeaux 2018 Issue), Rating: 93-95
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