Denis Durantou is famed from his wonderful Pomerol estate, Chateau L'Eglise Clinet, but he has spread his wings to St Emilion, Lalande de Pomerol and Castillon and it is perhaps in these estates that he has best demonstrated his Midas touch. Year after year, the likes of La Chenade and Montlandrie have topped our best value poll, and now we are seeing Saintayme and Cruzelles there too. Produced from 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon from a clay and limestone slope close to the windmill in Castillon. The fruit here is a little more decadent with notes of raspberry, Valrhona chocolate and blood orange. There is a real sense of earthy minerality too. At this stage the tannins are more evident and a little more rustic than some of the other Durantou wines, but there is ample velvety fruit here to cope. As with many of its predecessors, this has a wonderful future.
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.