L'Eglise Clinet 2019


Denis Durantou made stunning, age-worthy wines here, from 1983 until his untimely death in 2020. Since the breakthrough 1985 vintage, the wines produced here have invariably matched or beaten all the top names of Pomerol in blind tastings at Southwold and elsewhere. It is with great sadness that we now know that 2019 was his last harvest, and certainly one of his best. Produced from 40 year old vines over 4.2 hectares, picked when ripe but never late. No fancy tricks, just old vines, great terroir and inspired, yet traditional, wine-making. As our blind tastings have proved over and over again, this is one of the top wines of the Pomerol appellation and a genuine rival of neighbours Petrus and Lafleur.


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Tasting Notes

The harvest here took place earlier than at neighbouring vineyards, with the Merlot picked 18th-26th September, and the Cabernet Franc on 26th September. The 2019 is a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, aged in 70% new French oak, and is 14.5% abv. Very deep purple in the glass. The nose is extremely pure and finely etched - fleshy black cherries accented with subtle toasted spices and a fresher, floral cherry blossom note in the background. The palate follows, with superb delineation of fruit and spice, building layer upon layer of intense and vibrant flavour. The tannins are mouthcoating and grippy but very fine and ripe, providing ample structure for this wine to age for decades. The fruit core is still tightly wound there is superb density here. The intensity builds to an extremely long and driven finish in what is an extremely refined and powerful Eglise Clinet. A contender for Wine of the Vintage, absolutely stunning!

Score: 19.5Farr Vintners, Farr Tasting, May 2020

Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2019 L'Eglise Clinet has a powerfully fragrant nose of violets, star anise, powdered cinnamon and jasmine over a core of plum preserves, blackberry pie, Black Forest cake and camphor with wafts of crushed rocks and iron ore. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is an exercise in poise and precision, possessing remarkably well-defined, bright, energetic black fruit and minerally layers, supported by beautifully ripe, rounded tannins and seamless freshness, finishing with a long-lingering, mesmerizing array of earth, rock and glittery fruit nuances. This is a wine that will stop you in your tracks and demand you to think, contemplate and reflect. And if all that isn’t enough, it is also fantastically delicious. The blend this year is 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc.

Score: 98/100Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (2019 Borde), June 2020

The 2019 L'Eglise-Clinet is destined to be remembered as Denis Durantou's last vintage before he passed away in May 2020. It is a fitting testament to the late winemaker. It is blessed with a bewitching bouquet laden with intense, vivid red berry fruit suffused with liquorice, black pepper and clove scents. Extremely complex. The palate is wonderfully proportioned with fine tannins that frame the layered black and red fruit, lightly spiced with hints of tobacco and cracked black pepper on the finish imparted by that seasoning of Cabernet Franc. Quintessential l'Eglise-Clinet, it will give half a century of drinking pleasure and the perfect way to remember and raise a toast to one of Pomerol's finest vignerons.
2025 - 2065

Score: 97/99Neal Martin, vinous.com, June 2020

An exceptional Eglise-Clinet with density and richness, yet so racy and chewy. It harkens back to classic ECs, such as 1998 or 1989. Full-bodied with gorgeous, pure fruit. The tannins are so beautiful and intense. A wine with real soul. One of the greats.

Score: 99/100James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, June 2020

The 2019 L'Eglise-Clinet, Denis Durantou's last vintage, is also very clearly one of the wines of the year. A Pomerol of soaring, majestic intensity L'Eglise-Clinet dazzles from start to finish. Layers of dark fruit, gravel, spice and dried flowers unfold over time. I followed this sample for several days and it never lost any intensity over that time. I find the 2019 incredibly elegant and polished, but then again, I also tasted it a few months later than normal because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Merlot was harvested from September 18 to 26, while the Franc came all in on the 26th. Readers who can find the 2019 should not hesitate, as it is a true masterpiece.

Denis Durantou's 2019s are absolutely brilliant across the board. My tasting was obviously bittersweet, as Durantou lost his battle with illness just a few weeks prior. Denis Durantou was one of the most intriguing characters in Bordeaux. I can't say I knew him well, but I always enjoyed tasting with him, as he was a person that spoke more with his eyes than with words. Things were implied rather than overtly stated. So, I tasted the 2019s with daughters Constance and Noémie over Zoom, in typical 2020 fashion. The Durantou sisters describe 2019 as a year with an early flowering and homogenous ripening that led to small, concentrated berries and higher pHs than normal. Temperatures were kept cool in the cellar, where both alcoholic and malolactic fermentations took place over cuvaison of 21 days (for all wines), in a reductive environment with little oxygen. From top to bottom, the Durantou 2019s are positively stellar. Don't miss them!

Score: 97/99Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, June 2020

If great wine is about emotion, as we so often say it is, then this is a wine to savour. The last vintage under Denis Durantou, who passed away in May 2020, it will quite rightly be celebrated. But it also stands very much on its own, as a great Pomerol in a vintage where the plateau wines of this appellation have really stood out. A teasing mix of power and a feather-light touch, that trick that Durantou managed to pull off time and time again, one of a handful of winemakers to really get that right. A serious wine, more so than many in Pomerol this year, with tannins that pull you back and slow things down (a character that you see in Petite Eglise this year also), emphasising the slate and crushed stone character to the texture. Liquorice and cassis, blackberry, and a cooler blueberry note, wrapped up in dark black chocolate. This deserves its high score, one that I have only given to handful in this vintage. Is it also given in tribute to Durantou? Honestly, I don't know, and if so he deserves it. 70% new oak. Drinking Window 2029 - 2050

Score: 98/100Jane Anson, Decanter.com, June 2020

90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc; 70% new oak. Barrel sample.
Purple hue. Pure and engaging on the nose with a perfumed, burgundian nuance to the fruit. Plenty of zest and freshness. Palate suave and refined, the tannins plentiful but fine and wrapped in layers of appealing fruit. Builds steadily to a long, persistent finish. Overall great balance. (JL) 14.5%
Drink 2027 – 2042

Score: 17.5James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com, June 2020

Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.