It is believed that during the 18th century the Gazin estate was the site of a hospital, built by knights to receive pilgrims – this is the inspiration for the name of the estate’s second wine, L’Hospitalet de Gazin. Since the early 20th century it has been in the Baillencourt family, and although there was some variation in quality in the latter half of the 1900s, the current, fifth generation has been producing increasingly fine wines since the excellent 2001 vintage.
At 26 hectares, Gazin’s vineyard is the largest estate in Pomerol, located in a single block on the upper part of the famous Pomerol plateau, next to Pétrus. The terroir is typical of the appellation – günz gravel and iron-rich blue and green clay – and the average age of the vines is 35 years.
The grapes are all harvested by hand, plot by plot to ensure they are only picked at the optimum levels of ripeness, after which they undergo a triple sorting to ensure only the best-quality fruit is used. The wine is vinified in small concrete vats, with grapes separated by variety and plot, after which a second fermentation takes place either in barrels or vats, depending on the quality of each batch of grapes.
The blend is generally 90% merlot, 7% cabernet sauvignon and 3% cabernet franc, which spends 18 months in oak barrels (half of them new), during which time the wines are progressively blended roughly once every three months.
The style is velvety but fine and elegant too, with a structure that benefits from laying down, generally for between seven and 25 years.