Denis always has a catchphrase for each vintage. He describes the 2013s as 'unspittable' wines. It's a bon mot. 'Unspittable', because there is so little wine it would be a crime to, and 'unspittable' as the wines are gourmand and cry out to be consumed! The 2013 Montlandrie includes Denis first ever Cabernet Sauvignon vines from this site up near the windmill in Castillon. It is more brooding and introspective than the Lalande de Pomerols. With aeration, there are notes of flowers, griotte, cherry liqueur and earth. It seems like a contradiction, but one feels that the fruit is quite hedonistic, packed with berry fruit, yet this is a taut muscular wine framed with wonderful suave tannins. Excellent.
It is hard to think of anyone more charismatic or energetic in Bordeaux than the dynamic Denis Durantou. His flagship Chateau L’Eglise Clinet is regarded as Pomerol royalty, but for those who want exception quality and like the idea of a bargain, should fill their boots with Chenade, Saintayme, Les Cruzelles and Montlandrie. The latter is Denis’ property on the hill of Castillon.
Castillon is a continuation of the Cote of St Emilion and this is reflected in the terroir of this 12 hectare vineyard. Clay and limestone soils and a steep southerly facing aspect provide perfect conditions. Merlot and Cabernet Franc dominate plantings (65% and 20% respectively) with 15% of Cabernet Sauvignon.
2009 was the first vintage Denis produced and it was a roaring success. Voluptuous, silky and characterful, it was a superb debut. The 2010 reached even greater heights with clearer delineation and even more lavish fruit. Subsequent vintages have gone from strength to strength. It is extremely rare if Montlandrie does not feature in our top ten ‘best value’ picks – it is a wine we love to buy and drink for its immediate charms, but have no doubt, this is a serious, dense wine with plenty of ageing potential.
These are Merlot based wines, sometimes with Cabernet Franc, that betray a fleshiness and sturdiness that can be drunk 1-5 years after the vintage. The region is named after the town of Castillon-la-Bataille, the battle that brought an end to the hundred years war.