Lalande-de-Pomerol lies north from the famous and mighty Big Brother and is separated from it by the Barbanne stream that also marks the frontier between Saint-Émilion and its satellites. The appellation comprises two communes: Néac and Lalande-de-Pomerol. The wines from the former are in general considered being higher quality because of gentle slopes and gravely soils with some intrusions of the sticky clay (“argiles gonflantes”) which Pomerol is famous for.

Lalande-de-Pomerol AOC is one of the earliest French appellations created in 1936 but its Syndicate, the producers’ association, is proved to be the oldest in France. Created in 1886 under the name “Association syndicate de lutte contre le phylloxera” (Association-Syndicate of the Fight Against Phylloxera), it united the growers who were all heavily hit by the plague. They shared experiences and best practices to adapt to the new realities.

In the 1930s, on the dawn of the French appellation system, many producers from Néac assumed that they, based on the soil’s similarities, should be a part of Pomerol, rather than Lalande. Today, some tiny parts of Lalande are included in Pomerol AOC but the area is only 3.5ha belonging to Château De Sales, Pomerol’s biggest property. Some producers from Néac are still fighting to be a part of the more prestigious appellation, yet without success.

Merlot vineyards cover around 80% of the appellation with Cabernet Franc being the second most planted grape, giving extra freshness and elegance to local wines. Generally, wines coming from sandier soils of Lalande-de-Pomerol are lighter, somewhat simpler, meant to be drunk younger, while those from the gravels and clays of Néac show greater complexity and appear to be persistent and age-worthy.

Always playing a supporting role, Lalande-de-Pomerol offers great value. Though producers still benefit from bearing the word “Pomerol” on the label, they keep their prices reasonable. Trying to change the image of “Poor man’s Pomerol”, the appellation is one of the most rigorous in France in controlling quality, promoting environmental initiatives, and communicating to professionals and wine lovers.