Date: 11 December 2015
Wine: Badine de la Patache 2013 Pomerol
Origin: Pomerol, Right Bank, Bordeaux, France 

When I see Pomerol, I envision one of those old school cash registers, the ones with dollars popping up one after another on metal blades behind a glass window. Pomerol is a sort of insurance policy for high quality wine. You pay extra for the name, but you sweat less as you wait for your dining companions’ verdicts.

Pomerol is the ultimate sexpot of Merlot. Pomerols tend to have generously-developed, full-bodied, swaggering mid-palates with velvety tannins that have a cuddly, palate-caressing quality. They also provide intense flavors, including world-class oak barrel treatment, and serious age-ability that can confound the senses. This has been my image of Pomerol for about 15 years.

Then, I spent a day last week in Bordeaux tasting Pomerol under $50. I saw châteaux labels I’d never seen before. These were from producers not situated on the appellation’s famous plateau, where it is so flat you can literally just do a 360° turn to find your next appointment, assuming you know what the winery looks like.

In these Pomerol bottlings, I saw another side to the appellation, one I know less well. Some were mini-Pomerols, some were more Saint-Émilion-like and some were entirely unique. They were reds with appeal, for sure, but a number were not the Pomerol in my mind’s eye.

One in particular that struck me was from Badine de la Patache. The wine smelled of mint chocolate cookies and had a kiss of Cherry Coke. It was an unusual Pomerol. The sweet blackberry and black cherry fruit I expected was present, but the savory minerality I awaited was absent. Even so, this wine’s toasty and chocolatey notes deliver serious appeal to drinkers who enjoy the layered flavors that oak influence brings.

Flavors aside, while the tannins were gentle, the wine’s acidity was acutely angular. Its youthful plumpness worked overtime to diminish the mid-palate’s angles. Despite the generous oak flavors, the structure makes this wine a drinker-upper made for food. Santé!