En Primeur News : Tuesday, 19th June 2018

As the 2017 en primeur campaign draws to a close, we finally have the release of probably the greatest wine of the vintage. When asked about his favourite right bank wine of 2017, the leading Bordeaux critic, Neal Martin, immediately picked out Eglise Clinet stating that this is a “really great” wine. The price of £2064 per dozen is within estimate and the same as that of Vieux Chateau Certan.

Not only does l'Eglise Clinet have his highest rating of the vintage (in a first place tie with the far more expensive Lafite and Lafleur) but it comfortably out-scores illustrious neighbours Petrus, Le Pin and Cheval Blanc. 

Martin’s ranking of this outstanding Pomerol is echoed by all the other critics with scores in the mid to high nineties. Denis Durantou himself rates 2017 as the equal of his 2015 vintage. 

If you’ve not bought much in 2017, but you only want the best, well, this is it. 

With only 1000 cases produced, supply is understandably very limited and a prompt reply is advised.


"The 2017 L’Eglise-Clinet was picked between 12 and 22 September, the Cabernet Franc coming in on the last day. Nothing was touched by the frost. It is matured in 70% new oak. Denis Durantou did not specify the exact quantity produced, “Just enough for my friends” according to his spec sheet! The bouquet is very succinct, perhaps more open than either the 2015 or 2016 at this early stage, extraordinarily pure with blackberry, wild strawberry, smoke and truffle. It just gets better and better as it opens in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, linear and focused, very fresh with pointed acidity. This is full of tension and poise, a touch of graphite emerging towards the finish that lingers in the mouth with superb salinité at the end. It completes a triumvirate for Denis Durantou after the 2015 and 2016s. Drink 2024 - 2050."

95-97 points, Neal Martin, Vinous

"A blend of 90% Merlot with 10% Cabernet Franc, the deep garnet-purple colored 2017 L'Eglise Clinet opens with crème de cassis, black forest cake and preserved plums notes with suggestions of underbrush, lilacs and star anise plus an invigorating spark of Bing cherries. Medium to full-bodied and built like a brick house with very firm, ripe tannins and very refreshing acidity supporting the tightly wound muscular fruit, it finishes with epic persistence and bags of energy. This will be extremely long lived!"

96-98+ points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate

"The 2017 Eglise Clinet is a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. The Merlot was picked from the 12th to the 22nd of September. The Cabernet Franc on the 22nd. Production is around 1000 cases with elevage in 70% new oak. A dense and brooding nose of cassis, black cherry and heady liquorice and all spice. The palate is layered with mouthcoating tannins that are ripe but plentiful, offering long-term ageing potential. Beneath this structure there are waves of brambly black fruits, nutmeg, clove, and vanilla with a little sweet smokiness. This muscular wine has great intensity and legnth, without losing the freshness of the vintage. A very long finish denotes the potential here for this serious Vin de Garde."

17.5 points, Farr Vintners



Also available is the second label La Petite Eglise at £330 per dozen









We now have the release of one of the undisputed wines of the vintage with the release of Vieux Chateau Certan at £2064 per dozen. Whilst this is no bargain price (you can find the 2005 cheaper) this Pomerol has the same score as Petrus from Neal Martin, James Suckling and Antonio Galloni, and a significantly higher score from the Wine Advocate (96/98 compared to 93/95).

This afternoon saw the release of Cheval Blanc at £5300 per dozen. This is one of the great names of Bordeaux and the wine-making team here do a fine job. Sadly, the en-primeur pricing of this LVMH owned property has been far too bullish in recent vintages and there is no change to this policy in 2017. Whilst it is, at least, cheaper than the 2016 and 2015 vintages, customers can buy the 95 point rated 2014 at £3850 and even the beautiful and mature 2001 at £4100. Unless you simply must have a case of every vintage of Cheval Blanc in your cellar, or you want big bottles made, there seems little point in buying at this price. The canny buyer would be better off purchasing 6 and a half cases of Canon (with a higher Wine Advocate score) at £810 per dozen.


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