1966 & 1990 Clinet


I have probably drunk more than my fair share of Pomerol over the years. That said, some of my favourite châteaux possess scant reserves of mature vintages, the last remaining bottles of yesteryear vintages sold long ago. That includes Clinet. Whilst I have a great deal of experience with vintages over the last 25 years, anything older is rarely found, and anything predating 1982 is as rare as hens’ teeth. So, I was certainly excited when proprietor Ronan Laborde opened two mature bottles last December, one of which I had never previously encountered. The first was made under the late Jean-Michel Arcaute, a year before the estate was sold to an insurance company and several years before its acquisition by the Laborde family.

My previous encounter with the 1990 Clinet was out of magnum, circa the release of my Pomerol tome around a decade ago. It was impressive. However, this bottle suggests that this lauded Pomerol is beginning to stumble after 30 years. Rather volatile on the nose, the 1990 offers smudged black cherries, kirsch, green olives and dates, heady and ostentatious, though missing a bit of refinement. The palate is quite hedonistic, loaded with glycerine, a core of sweet black fruit with touches of fresh date and camphor, some VA just evident on the finish. Highly enjoyable for sure, though I would not leave bottles too long to drink. It is a Pomerol rather emblematic of the time. 92?/Drink 2022-2030.

The 1966 Clinet is a revelation. This was made by Georges Audy who went on to bequeath the estate to Arcaute in the mid-1970s. I suspect it was made in very rudimentary fashion, not that this seems to have affected quality one iota. Fresh as a daisy on the nose, it offers black fruit intermingling with seaweed and briny aromas. The palate is broad-shouldered like many 1966s, in fact, you might compare it with the 1966 La Violette, which tasted in Beaune a month earlier. Like the nose, the palate is fresh and vibrant. More black than red fruit mingle with brine and hints of black olive, tobacco and cedar. Ample structure towards the correct, almost clinical finish. Suffice to say, my glass was easy to empty. 94/Drink 2022-2035.

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