From a rather featureless block of vineyards northeast of the town of Libourne and the district of St-Emilion, comes some of the world's most exciting Merlot-based wines. The properties may be small, some less than an acre, but the wines are remarkable. Some of the more westerly estates are on sandy soil, but at the heart of Pomerol, it is thick clay, with an underpinning of iron and minerals, that produce the classic wines of Petrus, Trontanoy, Le Pin, Certan-de-May and Latour-Pomerol. An adjacent district is Lalande-de-Pomerol, producing wines with a touch of Pomerol's rich and concentrated yet accessible style.
There are few regions in the world with stricter regulations in regards to wine production and grape varietals than those found in Bordeaux, France. Here, in the home of the world's finest wines, the type and quality of grapes used is of utmost importance, and the legendary wineries which work on the banks of the Gironde river have mastered the careful art of juice blending to find the perfect balance for their produce. Whilst there are six 'official' Bordeaux grapes, the two key varietals for almost every fine Bordeaux wine are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and with good reason. Whilst Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are renowned for their acidity and astringency, strong fruit and spice flavors and full body, Merlot grapes are notably rounded, soft, fleshy and lighter on tannin. The combination of these two varietals, along with a small percentage of (commonly) Petit Verdot or Cabernet Franc, is the perfect balancing act – the two grape varietals cancel out each others weaker points, and accentuate all that is good about the other.