Few people know that the first vintage of Le Pin was produced just over 40 years ago, in 1979. While the history of the most famous houses on the left bank of Bordeaux spans over two hundred years, this absolute number one farm on the right bank has quickly become the unicorn of many wine lovers. The farm, which is only 2.7 hectares in size, focuses 100% on the Merlot grape, which it produces only a few thousand bottles each year.
From 1924, the current vineyards were owned by the Loubie family, but until 1978 the grapes were sold and blended with other Pomerol wines. At first, it was thought that the grapes produced by the farm's orchards would be used to make Vieux Château Certan, but due to the considerably high price asked for the land, the idea was quickly abandoned. Alexandre Thienpont's father, Leon, who runs VCC, talked Jacques Thienpont into buying the two-hectare paddocks for a whopping 1 million francs. The winery building was in very poor condition at the time of purchase. It had not been used for winemaking, but was mainly a shed where agricultural supplies had been stored. So Alexandre moved into a small house next to the farm, and started renovating the places. Jacques Thienpont decided to invest in a small 50 hectoliter steel tank, and this is how one of the world's most famous wines began.
The first vintage of Le Pin, which got its name from the lonely pine tree growing in Tilus, was completed in a small concrete winery and the wine matured in the old barrels of Vieux Château Certan. Since the production was already minimally small in the beginning, not much else was needed. Even today, Le Pin's cellar consists of only a couple of rows of barrels, which are renewed every year as the wine matures in them for 18-22 months. The first vintage of the wine sold for just 100 francs a bottle, which was much less than a bottle of Vieux Château Certan. Looking back, it's hard to believe how difficult it was for the wine to find buyers. Of course, the production was very low, because half of the orchards had been replanted and the vines were too young to produce quality grapes. However, everything changed in 1982 when François Thienpont introduced the wine to Robert Parker in the United States, and the rest is history.
In the years 1984-1984, Jacques succeeded in growing the original orchards in the amount of 0.6 hectares by acquiring, among other things, a plot of land where vegetables had been grown before. Today, Alexandre is in charge of the Le Pin paddocks along with the Vieux Château Certan paddocks. The yield of the vines is limited by severe cutting and thinning of the bunches, pesticides are used minimally, the beds are not fertilized, and the leaves are scraped abundantly before harvesting. The shelters are located in the middle of the Pomerol plain, facing south and the small river that divides the space. The topsoil has plenty of pebbles, while the subsoil consists of iron-rich limestone, gravel and sand. Jacques Thienpont is responsible for winemaking.