|France > Bordeaux > Right Bank > Pomerol
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.
This is amazingly perfumed with amazing aromas of fresh violets and pink roses. Blackberries and dark fruit. Black truffle and stone. It’s full-bodied with fantastic structure and tannins. Yet, it’s weightless and so beautiful. The length is ethereal and goes on for minutes. You taste it and it’s so wonderful that you want to drink it. One for the cellar. Better in 2028, but already a joy.
Hard to beat this as an example of the beating heart of Pomerol, with juicy yet slow-delivered fruit, precisely carved and spliced plump cassis and blackberry. The austerity on the first tannins hides depths of generous liquorice, slate, pencil lead, with grated white radish and black pepper spice. Powerful, unyielding, not giving everything away yet, gets better and better, and in the glass as it opens you get a proudly fleshy and generous feel to the fruits. Has years ahead of it before it is ready to drink, but it already makes you smile. 70% new oak. Harvest September 18 to 26. A fittingly exceptional last vintage under Denis Durantou, who passed away in May 2020.
Unquestionably one of the wines of the vintage on the right bank, the late Denis Durantou's swan-song 2019 L'Eglise Clinet is showing very well indeed in bottle. Unfurling in the glass with aromas of dark berry fruit mingled with notions of raw cocoa, violets, black truffle, orange rind, burning embers and loamy soil, it's full-bodied, layered and concentrated, its velvety attack segueing into a deep, multidimensional core that's framed by ripe, powdery tannins and lively balancing acids. Seamless but youthfully structured, this is a prodigious young Pomerol that will richly reward bottle age. 2029 - 2065
The 2019 L'Eglise-Clinet has a very pure and almost Burgundian bouquet with wild strawberry, Morello cherries, touches of cassis and violet petals. This is one of the most sensual in the line-up. The palate is medium-bodied with pliant tannins, velvety in texture, quite tensile thanks to the acidity. Beguiling purity, plush black cherries, plum and white pepper with a long and spicy finish. Superb. Tasted blind at the Southwold annual tasting. Drink 2026-2055.
The 2019 L'Eglise-Clinet, a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, is deep garnet-purple in color. It is a little broody to start, delivering wafts of fragrant soil, truffles, and fennel seed over a core of blackberry pie, prunes, and fruitcake. The medium to full-bodied palate is so concentrated you could stand a spoon up in it, featuring ripe, rounded tannins and soft acidity, finishing long and earthy.
Tasted blind. Introvert, contained nose and pretty dry fruit! Not quite the opulence of some of its peers. Bonfire note on the end. Though it’s pretty long. Dried fruit is the main message at the moment. Long term. 14.5%
Drink 2030– 2050
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!
The flagship 2019 Château L'Eglise Clinet is brilliant, unquestionably ranking with the top wines in the appellation. Giving up loads of ripe darker cherries, currants, tobacco, cedarwood, and spring flowers, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a plush, layered, opulent mouthfeel, impressive tannins, and a great finish. I love its mid-palate, and it's one of the bigger, richer, sexier wines in the vintage. I'd be thrilled with bottles in the cellar. It offers pleasure even today yet should hit maturity in 7-8 years and have a drinking window stretching over the following two to three decades.
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
The 2019 l’Église-Clinet has a brilliantly defined bouquet with echoes of the equally showstopping Trotanoy that I tasted just a couple of hours before. Crystalline red fruit and hints of blood orange intermingle with crushed stone and truffle. The palate is medium-bodied with an immediately seductive, satin-like texture belying the backbone of this Pomerol. Lightly spiced and fanning out with intention on the finish, this will, as I wrote before, stand as the perfect testament to Denis Durantou as his daughters carry on his legacy. Drink 2025-2065.
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
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.
A blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, aged in 70% new oak, the 2019 L'Eglise-Clinet is deep garnet-purple in color. It is a tad shy to begin, with coaxing revealing notes of black raspberries, kirsch, and preserved plums, leading to suggestions of cinnamon toast, charcoal, fertile loam, and iron ore with an exotic waft of cardamom. Medium to full-bodied, the palate already possesses incredible balance, giving up layer upon layer of black and red fruits with loads of mineral accents and a firm, grainy texture, with this stunning wine finishing very long and beautifully perfumed.
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.
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