Château Gazin, 2016 Update

“It is better to be looked over than overlooked”, said Mae West, queen of the suggestive Hollywood one-liner. I like to imagine that the Bailliencourt family, long-time proprietors of Château Gazin, would tend to agree. This is one of the largest domaines in Pomerol, albeit not quite the largest. Those who claim it is are themselves guilty of overlooking Château de Sales which has in excess of 47 hectares of vines, more or less twice the area planted to Vitis vinifera at Château Gazin.

More important than size, however, is location. Château de Sales is hidden away in a sandy corner of the appellation, while the Gazin vines are largely situated up on the prized gravel and clay soils of the plateau. The vineyards abut those of Château L’Évangile and Petrus, among others, and yet it receives only a fraction of the attention these other domaines receive.

Château Gazin

The estate’s peripheral position perhaps has something to do with this. The château sits on the roadside not far from these other estates, near Château Le Gay, another property whose reputation rests on the fact many of the vines run up onto the clay and gravel of the plateau in front of the house, not down the sandy slope towards the Barbanne behind (those that do are relegated to the second wine). At Château Gazin this run of vines up onto the plateau is extensive, with more than 20 hectares all told, and the vineyard includes some of the famous blue clay, also known as smectite, which characterises the vineyard of Petrus and which is credited with its remarkable quality. Little wonder, perhaps, that the wine made here is so worthy of our attention. It is to the consumers’ advantage, however, that it does tend to be overlooked, rather than looked over, compared to some of its very illustrious neighbours. As a consequence there is relative value (in Pomerol or Bordeaux terms, anyway) waiting to be found here.

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