Denis Durantou, of L’Eglise Clinet fame, is one of the most gifted vignerons in Bordeaux. The likes of Robert Parker and other notable members of the wine press swoon over his wines; and perhaps more tellingly, members of the wine trade can’t get enough of them.
Magnificent as the L’Eglise Clinet is, it is not everyday drinking (except for the lucky few). Besides, this wine merits long term cellaring to display its full spectrum of nuances. The smart buys are from Denis’ two Lalande de Pomerol estates, La Chenade and Les Cruzelles, Saintayme from St Emilion and Montlandrie from Castillon. Here Denis has acquired some very smart terroir in less glamourous postcodes and plies his considerable talents into the vineyards and during wine-making. And the results are spectacular!
We have waxed lyrical before about just how wonderful these wines are, and what exceptional value they represent. They are immensely pleasurable to drink when young and they have the ability to age gracefully for up to two decades. And it’s not just us who thinks so. Customers regularly come back to these wines for their seductive fruit and velour textures. The 2015s are perhaps Denis’ best range yet, with Les Cruzelles and Montlandrie shining particularly brightly. It was no surprise then that they received such overwhelming and unanimous praise. Bravo Denis!
‘The 2015 Saintayme is pure Merlot picked between 29 September and 9 October, cropped at 45 hl/ha and raised in 30% new oak. It has a gorgeous bouquet with blackberry and cranberry fruit, a touch of vanilla emanating from the new oak that is nicely integrated. The palate is medium-bodied with good depth, a "solid" Saintayme, a pleasant chewiness with a feisty dark berry, licorice-tinged finish. This comes recommended - a fine Saint Emilion from the hands of Denis Durantou. Drink 2018-2030. 90-92/100’. - Neal Martin, Wine Advocate
‘The 2015 La Chenade is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc picked between September 15-25 and on October 5 respectively, cropped at 45 hectoliters per hectare and matured in 30% new oak. This Lalande-de-Pomerol moves towards red fruit on the nose, crushed strawberry and raspberry pastilles, candied and somehow...joyful. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, very fine in the mouth with a keen line of acidity. This is a very cohesive La Chenade, elegant and composed with a touch of salinity towards the finish. This is a graceful La Chenade that should drink early, but clearly has the substance to offer 12-15 years of drinking pleasure. Drink 2018-2032. 91-93/100’. - Neal Martin, Wine Advocate
‘The 2015 Les Cruzelles is a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc on gravel/clayey soil, picked from September 15-22 and October 6 respectively, then matured in 45% new oak. The new wood is seamlessly integrated into this Lalande-de-Pomerol, more broody and introspective than the La Chenade at the moment, but very well defined. The palate is beautifully proportioned with crisp tannin, a fine line of acidity, somehow gentle and understated on the finish, but very long in the mouth. Yet another ridiculously fine wine to load up on, courtesy of Denis Durantou. Drink 2018-2035. 91-93/100’. - Neal Martin, Wine Advocate
‘The 2015 Montlandrie is a blend of 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, picked between September 29 and October 8, and matured in 45% new oak. This is perhaps more precocious on the nose compared to Denis Durantou's La Chenade and Les Cruzelles 2015s, gradually revealing an attractive floral, dried rose petal/pot pourri scent as it opens in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, quite grippy in the mouth, the acidity nicely judged here and again, very harmonious and sensual on the finish. You could almost whisk this out of barrel and drink this now, but preferably, give it 4-5 years in bottle. Drink 2019-2032. 91-93/100’. - Neal Martin, Wine Advocate