Lucien Michel | November 12, 2020

An Up-and-Coming Saint-Émilion Collectible  

In the wine world, the name Thienpont is associated with some of the greatest estates on the right bank of Bordeaux. Three cousins, Jacques, Alexandre, and Nicolas, carry the family name, each blazing his own path. In the early eighties, Jacques purchased a tiny parcel next to the family estate of Vieux Château Certan, and from there Le Pin was to become one of the most iconic and sought-after wines from Pomerol.

In the recent era, Jacques has spread his wings and one of the latest projects is L’IF in Saint-Émilion. Since the first vintage in 2011, the wine has never ceased to impress us, with the quality rising every year. Like Le Pin, its name is in reference to a tree (it means “yew tree” in French). It also shares another similarity with aging in 50% new oak for 12-16 months. And, like the famed Pomerol property, it is a rare product: with 8 hectares under vine and only 1,000 cases released per year, this wine is already establishing itself as a collectible.

Located on some of the best terroir on the Saint-Émilion plateau, L’IF is a project to watch on the right bank. Now is the right time to buy, while these wines still represent value considering the limited production. I especially prefer the Cabernet Franc blended with the dominant Merlot, which brings such a special character to the wine. These wines are definitely built for the cellar, the 2017 is rich, explosive and full of nuance. There are bright floral notes and spices lifting up the wine gracefully, and the tannins are sweet and silky. With bottle age, this wine will come together fully and become truly spectacular.