Bordeaux 2023: L’Eglise Clinet and family

4 June 2024

L’Eglise Clinet was the first stop on the J&B bus, and it cheered our spirits and provided a sense of optimism for the entire 2023 vintage. Until then, the Bordeaux marketing machine had been uncharacteristically coy, rather downplaying the latest crop. However, the range presented to us by sisters, Noëmie and Constance Durantou left us feeling hugely upbeat.

These are bright, cheerful wines with lots of fragrant, floral fruit, plush tannins and a refreshing kick of salinity. Saintayme and La Chenade will be delightful early drinkers: uncomplicated, balanced and fun. Montlandrie and Les Cruzelles are much more serious offerings with dense cores of vivid fruit, and tannic frameworks that suggest these will develop for many years to come. They are both ludicrously good value for such serious wines. And then we have the Pomerols: La Petite Eglise, one of the best examples we can recall tasting, with a real sense of sophistication and class, and the hugely impressive L’Eglise Clinet, which must rank amongst the finest wines produced on either bank of the river. A dazzling range from the Durantou sisters!

L'Eglise Clinet

“The 2023 L'Eglise-Clinet was picked between September 10 and 14 and matured in 82% new oak. It has a stunning bouquet with enthralling delineation and focus, very intense with blackberries, raspberry, crushed stone, Earl Grey and a touch of blood orange. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-boned tannins and a dash of cracked black pepper. It's very harmonious and fans out brilliantly on the finish. It is surely going to vie with the stupendous 2022, and this ranks as one of the best wines of the vintage. Tasted on two visits at the beginning and end of my Bordeaux tastings.”98-100/100, Neal Martin, vinous.com

Les Cruzelles

"The 2023 Les Cruzelles is the same blend as last year. Though it includes fruit that went into La Chenade in 2022, the volume of Merlot was higher, so it remains 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. When Noemie Durantou tasted through the tanks, she found it easy to pick out the wines from Les Cruzelles. Harvested between September 11 and 18 and matured in 52% new oak, this has a delineated and focused bouquet. A hint of incense infuses the black fruit, while a subtle citric element tucks in underneath. The palate is wonderful, certainly more complex and mineral-driven than the La Chenade, possessing gentle grip and perfectly pitched acidity. it fans out with chutzpah on the peppery finish. Excellent."91-93/100, Neal Martin, vinous.com

Montlandrie

“The 2023 Montlandrie sees a change in composition, as a plot of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon that Noëmie Durantou planted in 2021 enters the blend for the first time. She found the first-pressed wine for the Cabernet Sauvignon impressive, so she also added that to the blend. The result is 55% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, picked between September 18 and 30 and matured in 50% new oak. This new makeup certainly gives it a different aromatic profile than previous vintages: black cherries, cedar and pencil shavings, very focused, more Left-Bank-meets-Right-Bank in style. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins. It’s beautifully structured and judiciously spiced with gentle grip on the finish. Together with Les Cruzelles, these wines represent outstanding value for money. This will certainly age well in bottle.”92-94/100, Neal Martin, vinous.com

Saintayme

“The 2023 Saintayme is pure Merlot, as usual, picked between September 27 and October 4 and matured in 30% new oak. This is quite lush on the nose with black plum and light blueberry scents and fine purity. It clocks in at 14.6% alcohol, but that is nicely disguised. The palate is medium-bodied with a slightly powdery texture, moderate weight and good balance. There’s perhaps slightly less complexity on the finish compared to the 2022 at this stage last year.”89-91/100, Neal Martin, vinous.com

La Chenade

“The 2023 La Chenade is pure Merlot. Last year contained 20% Cabernet Franc, but this year, Noëmie Durantou blended it into the Les Cruzelles cuvée. Picked on September 13 and matured in 40% new oak, this is noticeably reductive on the nose. It’s quite intense, although perhaps missing amplitude usually bestowed by the Cabernet Franc. The palate is medium-bodied with a lovely texture and a keen line of acidity, lightly spiced with gentle grip on the slightly savory finish. Very satisfying in the mouth, this is a sensual La Chenade that will provide for delicious early drinking.”89-91/100, Neal Martin, vinous.com

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