Château Clinet is a 22-acre estate in the Pomerol appellation of Bordeaux. It is an unclassified wine because there is no classification in Pomerol, the smallest and one of the most prestigious of the region’s wine districts. Clinet is owned by Jean-Louis Laborde and produces 28,000 bottles annually. The vineyards are planted to 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. Fleur de Clinet is the estate’s second wine. Robert M. Parker Jr. has noted that the estate has “a magnificent terroir at the summit of the plateau of Pomerol” and that Clinet “continues to produce one of the finest Pomerols.”
Pomerol is the smallest of Bordeaux’s red wine producing regions, with only about 2,000 acres of vineyards. Located on the east side of the Dordogne River, it is one of the so-called “right bank” appellations and therefore planted primarily to Merlot. Pomerol is unique in Bordeaux in that it is the only district never to have been rated in a classification system. Some historians think Pomerol’s location on the right bank made it unattractive to Bordeaux-based wine traders, who had plenty of wine from Medoc and Graves to export to England and northern Europe. Since ranking estates was essentially a marketing ploy to help brokers sell wine, ranking an area where they did little business held no interest for them. Pomerol didn’t get much attention from the international wine community until the 1960s, when Jean-Pierre Moueix, an entrepreneurial wine merchant, started buying some of Pomerol’s best estates and exporting the wines. Today the influential Moueix family owns Pomerol’s most famous estate, Château Pétrus, along with numerous other Pomerol estates. Pomerol wines, primarily Merlot blended with small amounts of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, are considered softer and less tannic than left bank Bordeaux.