There is not much to Pomerol the village, as opposed to Pomerol the appellation. Libourne is the nearest conurbation of any note, the village of Pomerol little more than a tiny collection of low-slung viticultural properties dotted amongst a great expanse of vineyards. If there is a focal point at all it is the impressive church, its tall spire towering above the landscape, its size strangely out of keeping with the diminutive hamlet to which it lies adjacent, rather than within. This is to our advantage, however, as the Église Saint-Jean makes for a useful landmark when you are floating adrift, directionless and disorientated – as can occasionally happen – on Pomerol’s gently undulating sea of vines.
On the Rue de L’Église, which runs roughly westwards out of Pomerol itself (and which encircles the church), there lie a number of noteworthy viticultural estates and a handful of them declare this location in their name; we have not only the famed Château L’Église-Clinet, home to Denis Durantou and some of the very best wines of the appellation, but also Domaine de L’Église and of course there is Clos de L’Église.
When it comes to understanding Pomerol, many writers have asserted that the closer the vineyard lies to this church, the better the terroir and thus the wine, and so it should perhaps come as no surprise that these estates make plain their proximity to the église in this manner. In truth these estates are not expressing their allegiance to Pomerol’s voluminous modern-day church but to a much older structure, an ancient building which lay a few hundred metres to the north, on the Chemin de l’Ancienne Église. Sadly this church was demolished, although photographs of it do exist, so recent was its demise.
But I digress. It is the vineyards that interest us, not the church, and of all the église-estates it is the latter of the three mentioned above, Clos L’Église, that I deal with in this profile.