En Primeur 2016 - Denis Durantou Does it Again!

Every year we are bowled over by the brilliant wines of Pomerol’s Denis Durantou who is, without question, one of Bordeaux’s greatest winemakers. His genius is evident throughout his full range, from the great L’Eglise Clinet down to his so-called ‘smaller’ wines. These properties in nearby appellations are consistently fantastic value year on year but when it comes to excellent vintages like 2016, their quality shines brighter and they become unmissable.

Durantou is clearly on top form in 2016 and his flagship wine, L’Eglise-Clinet, (which is not yet released) receives the highest Wine Advocate score of all the Pomerols with a 97 to 99 point rating – yes that’s right, it is rated above Pétrus, Le Pin and Lafleur. James Suckling scores it even higher than the Wine Advocate and every other critic has it as one of their wines of the vintage. But 2016 is no fluke vintage here, this is a château that has been winning blind tastings against its Pomerol peers for over two decades. If you want to buy it in 2016 and haven’t pre-ordered, you’d better do so now to give you the best chance of getting it, as it is guaranteed to sell out on release.

The outstanding wine-making skills of Monsieur Durantou are clearly on display in these other wines which have been released today. A full case of 12 bottles of any of these wines will cost you less than one bottle of L’Eglise Clinet! Today’s releases are: La Chenade, Les Cruzelles, Saintayme and Montlandrie.

The usual fantastic bargain is to be found at La Chenade. This Lalande de Pomerol is well known to customers of Farr Vintners. Those of you who bought the 2010 en primeur have seen it double in price and this vintage could potentially be just as good. At just £140 per dozen this is value-for-money that is hard to beat. Critics’ notes include the words “harmonious”, “suave” and “wonderful”. “A major buy” says Decanter magazine. Tasting notes for La Chenade 2016 can be found here.

Also from Lalande de Pomerol is Les Cruzelles which we believe to be the finest wine of the appellation. Neal Martin describes it as “sensual and engaging” and notes it being potentially “outstanding value”. His rating is the same as for La Violette - a wine that will probably be sold at ten times the price! At £200 per dozen this is a great price for a seriously good wine. Tasting notes for Les Cruzelles 2016 can be found here.

Durantou’s Saintayme is quite simply the best value 2016 Saint Emilion that you can find. At £125 per case it really is remarkable value and comes with enthusiastic notes from all the major critics which can be found here.

In the Côtes de Castillon, just east of Saint Emilion, is the latest addition to Denis’ portfolio. The first vintage of Montlandrie was 2009 and this is certainly a property to watch as it goes from strength to strength. This is described as the “sleeper” of the Durantou family and has potentially the highest ratings of all four of these wines. At £175 per dozen, you certainly get fantastic value for your money. Tasting notes for Montlandrie 2016 can be found here.

The reason to buy these Durantou wines en primeur is because drinking vintages are unavailable on the market. They are always snapped up on release by bargain-hunting wine lovers and you simply cannot find mature years like 2009 and 2010 today, let alone anything older.

All of these wines can be bought in large formats too. The majority are available in magnums, individual double magnums, cases of 3 double magnums and 6 litre imperials.


These wines are offered en primeur and will therefore be physically available in 2019

Click here to see a full list of all releases so far and to read out latest news


Chenade


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La Chenade BT180125-17514090/92NM
All prices exclude UK duty & VAT and all wines are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

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 points, Neal Martin, Wine Advocate

Made by the brilliant Denis Durantou of Chateau L'Eglise Clinet. The fruit is sourced from a section of the Les Cruzelles vineyard with gravel soil. 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc. 1700 case production. This has probably been Farr Vintners' biggest selling Bordeaux wine en primeur over the last 15 years. Year on year La Chenade delivers the goods but the price remains reasonable. A wine that never lets you down. Elevage in 40% new oak barrels. Cherries and raspberries on the nose with a lovely sweet vanilla note. Silky, ripe and smooth on the palate, there is grip from crunchy but ripe tannins and great length from pure fruit intensity. Long and harmonious on the finish, this will be superb value for money, as always.

16.5 points, Farr Vintners

Cruzelles


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Les Cruzelles BT320180-24020091/93NM
All prices exclude UK duty & VAT and all wines are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

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 points, Neal Martin, Wine Advocate

This 11 hectare property in Lalande de Pomerol is situated 1 km from the famous plateau of Pomerol, and is visible from the back door of Eglise Clinet. The Château was purchased in 2000 by Denis Durantou who ages the crop in 50% new oak and relegates fruit from the younger vines to his La Chenade label. Often better than many Pomerols and Saint Emilions that we taste, yet far cheaper thanks to the unfashionable appellation. 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc. Grapes are selected from the best terroirs of the vineyard - clay soils similar to those on the plateau of Pomerol. A wine that always reminds us of a top Pomerol. Recent vintages have been stunning and there have been impressive results in recent blind tastings including the "Southwold Group". Along with Roc de Cambes, this is, in our view, the best wine produced in a "satelite appellation" of Bordeaux. Pricing policy is moderate. We absolutely love Les Cruzelles! 2200 cases produced in 2016. Spicy and smoky on the nose with bramble fruit giving a sweet and savoury, complex bouquet. The palate is powerful, ripe and intense with black fruits, smoky char and incense. The tannins are fine, ripe and silky like a fine, high-tier Pomerol and frame the fruit core perfectly. Spicy, exotice anise notes come through on the finish with hints of coffee and cocoa. Once again, a standout wine that is a must-buy for anyone interested in 2016 Bordeaux.

16.5 points, Farr Vintners

Saintayme


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Saintayme BT200110-15012588/90NM
All prices exclude UK duty & VAT and all wines are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

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 points, Neal Martin, Wine Advocate

Denis Durantou of L'Eglise Clinet makes this modestly priced cuvée from a 9 hectare parcel of 35 year old Merlot vines in Saint Etienne de Lisse. 100% Merlot aged in 30% new oak. 5000 cases made in 2016. Fresh and crunchy in red cherry fruits, with a hint of sweet spice and vanilla. The palate is crunchy and plump, with a greandine sweetness but fresh acidity. Approachable and smooth, this will provide excellent early drinking at a great price point.

15.5+ points, Farr Vintners

Montlandrie


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Montlandrie (Denis Durantou) BT-165-20017591/93NM
All prices exclude UK duty & VAT and all wines are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

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 points, Neal Martin, Wine Advocate

The Côtes de Castillon vineyard of famous Pomerol winemaker Denis Durantou of L'Eglise Clinet (first vintage was 2009). This 11 hectare vineyard has 25 year old vines - 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% of a new clone of Cabernet Sauvignon that Denis planted in 2009. Always modestly priced, this is a wine that gives brilliant value for money. Aged in 60% new oak, with 3400 cases made in 2016. Plums and black cherries on the nose with a hint of cocoa. Mouthcoating, ripe and supple tannins reveal plush sweetness through the mid-palate with classic red and black fruits, chocolate and vanilla. Juicy, ripe and plush - another fantastic with from Denis.

16.5 points, Farr Vintners