The Chateau L’Enclos is one of the few wine making estates in Pomerol that actually has a chateau (built in 1898). Despite its history and the fine wines Pomerol produces it is something of an anomaly when compared to the other famous communes of Bordeaux, as there are no grand estates or imposing chateaux.
It is sparsely populated and contains several hamlets: Catusseau, Cloquet, Grand and Petit Moulinet, Maillet, Pignon and René – its population is below 1000. Although Pomerol has never had its Châteaux officially ranked in the 1855 Classification, it is home to some of the most famous of wines.
Pomerol is the smallest wine producing area in Bordeaux and was once a sub-appellation of Saint Emilion only being granted independent status in 1900. The name is derived from the
Latin word “poma” used by both Virgil and by Horace, to describe fruits with pips – notably grapes. Pomerol’s viticulture dates back a long way:
the plateau there was crossed by two Roman roads, one of which was used by the poet Ausonius to go to his villa, Lucaniac. The wine making tradition began by the Romans was continued by the Knights Hospitaller who also created a hospital for pilgrims passing on their way to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
it’s not surprising that Chateau L’Enclos’ origins are ecclesiastical. It’s thought that the vines were originally owned by the local priest which he made wine from to add to his income. There are records of a L’Enclos du Presbytère (Rectory).
Clos or L’Enclos refers to a walled vineyard and these stood out in Pomerol as little patches of enclosed vines among the fields of hemp used to make trousers for the French army.
L’Enclos is made up of 38 plots of vines that are planted on 3 terraces on the Pomerol plateau, a total of 25 acres. These plots are dotted about the appellation and some neighbour Clos Rene, Le Pin and also Petrus.
They were assembled over time during the 19th century by Pierre Larroucaud who also built the present small chateau. The wines quickly attained international recognition, winning a Silver Medal in 1892 at the Concours Agricole de Paris.
The Larroucaud family owned L’Enclos for 10 generations and in 1959, the wines were served at the Royal court of Holland.
In the 1970s the wine maker at L’Enclos (M Zucchi) also supervised wine making at Chateaux La Conseillante, L’Evangile and Vieux Chateau Certan. The cellar master of Chateau Cheval Blanc, Gaston Vessière, also advised at L’Enclos.
In 2007 L’Enclos was bought by Stephen and Denise Adams of Adams French Vineyards. The administrator of the chateau is Hugues Weydert, a descendant of the Larroucauds and the oenologist is Michel Rolland.
The idea of Adams French Vineyards began life when Stephen and Denise married in France and honeymooned in Saint Emilion. Having amassed a fortune in business in America Stephen Adams made his first purchase of Chateau Lagarosse in the Premières Côtes de Bordeaux in 2000,
followed by the Saint Emilion properties Chateau Candale in 2002, Château Fonplégade in 2004 and Chateau Bel Air in Lalande de Pomerol in 2005
. Chateau L’Enclos was purchased in 2007 as well as Chateau Roylland (Saint Emilion). Adams also owns three wineries in California, his own wine import company, a wine shipping firm, and wine clubs.
Chateau L’Enclos vineyards include Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec grapes and are stylish, classic and elegant with notes of red cherries, truffles, mocha, tobacco and black fruits. They are satiny smooth, deep and expressive with fine tannins.
Since the purchase of the Chateau and subsequent investment in the property prices are starting to rise.
Robert Parker has said that the 2006 vintage was “Probably the finest wine made at l’Enclos since the 1982, the American proprietor of Fonplegade (the Adams family) has done a good job at this estate.
While it will never be a big wine, this cuvée is based more on sensuality and pure fruit than body, structure, and ageing potential. The 2006 exhibits sweet black cherries interwoven with floral and herbal undertones. Medium-bodied, pure, fleshy, and attractively textured, it should be drunk over the next 7-8 years.”
If you are interested in buying the wine you can find it at www.interestinwine.co.uk