Bordeaux 2016: The wines of Denis Durantou

Bordeaux 2016: The wines of Denis Durantou
We’ve said it all before, and we’ll keep banging the drum… Denis Durantou is one of the finest wine-makers in Bordeaux. His flagship, L’Eglise Clinet produces spellbinding wines vintage after vintage. But his properties in Lalande de Pomerol, St Emilion and the Cote de Castillon are perhaps where the astute buyer should look. They may hail from ‘less glamourous’ communes, however, the terroir is no less interesting. Coupled with Denis’ flair and considerable wine-making savoir-faire, it makes these wines a very attractive proposition.

2016 is the best range we have tasted to date. All the wines are brimming with noble flavours, energy and a nervous tension that makes these wines come to life. Whilst sure to be immediately enjoyable, this range will have serious aging potential. They were a joy to taste primeur and will delight drinkers for many years to come. Bravo Denis!

La Chenade
‘The 2016 La Chenade is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc from Denis Durantou's estate in Lalande-de-Pomerol. It was picked 24-29 September for the Merlot and 6 October for the Cabernet Franc at 39 hectoliters per hectare and then matured in 40% new oak. It has a lovely nose that needed some coaxing from the glass, eventually revealing black cherries and touches of bergamot with Earl Grey following later. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, fresh right from the start, very harmonious with an elegant, quite minerally finish. Very elegant, very suave, very promising. Drink 2020 - 2032. 90-92/100’. - Neal Martin,

Les Cruzelles
‘The 2016 Les Cruzelles, Denis Durantou's second estate in Lalande-de-Pomerol, is a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc picked 22-29 September and on 6 October, respectively. The yield is 40 hectoliters per hectare, and it is matured in 50% new oak. It has a very fragrant bouquet with perfumed red cherry and crushed strawberry fruit infused with minerals, like the La Chenade, very harmonious and detailed. The palate is medium-bodied with crunchy red berry fruit, crisp acidity, a little spicier than the La Chenade and perhaps with a touch more persistence on the finish. Cellar space should be made for this sensual and engaging wine, and if prices follow their trend as in previous years, it could be one of the Right Bank's outstanding values. Drink 2020 - 2035. 91-93/100’. - Neal Martin,

‘The 2016 Saintayme was picked from 9-15 October, cropped at 50 hectoliters per hectare and matured in 30% new oak. It has a pretty blueberry-scented bouquet with just a faint touch of iris, the oak nicely enmeshed with the fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with a touch of white pepper on the entry, lacking a little depth on the mid-palate but nicely detailed on the finish. This is a lovely, early-drinking Saint Emilion from Denis Durantou. Drink Date 2019 - 2029. 88-90/100’. - Neal Martin,

‘The 2016 Montlandrie is a blend of 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon picked between 3-17 October. It was picked at 40 hectoliters per hectare and raised in 60% new oak (although my sample was from a one-year-old barrel). It is the first vintage to include more than 80% of the vines that were planted by Denis Durantou after 2008. This has a more broody bouquet than the two Lalande-de-Pomerols, just a touch of leafiness originating from the Cabernet Sauvignon that enhances the complexity. The palate is medium-bodied with fine structure, more saline than the Les Cruzelles, backward at the moment, but the Cabernets impart some lovely graphite notes on the saline finish. Superb. Expect this to land towards the top of my banded score once in bottle. Drink 2021 - 2036. 91-93/100’. - Neal Martin,