|Subregion||France > Bordeaux > Right Bank > Pomerol|
Denis Durantou has made stunning, age-worthy wines here, since his breakthrough 1985,that have invariably matched or beaten all the top names of Pomerol in blind tastings at Southwold and elsewhere. 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. The 2018 is 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc picked from the 18th to 28th of September. Elevage is in 70% new oak with the younger Cabernet Franc fruit demoted to la Petite Eglise. Denis said that this is similar in style to the great 2016 made here with a touch of 2010.
The 2018 L’Eglise-Clinet was picked from September 18 to 26 for the Merlot and September 28 for the the Cabernet Franc, and matured in 70% new oak. I gave the bottle a precautionary four-hour decant, which was vital in appreciating this magnificent Pomerol. The aromatics are precocious, pure and finely chiseled, featuring copious black plum and blueberry plus heart-melting violet petal scents. The palate closely approximates the barrel sample with its stunning precision and symmetry. Velvety-smooth from start to finish, this will turn into a fabulous wine from the late Denis Durantou, though be warned: I suspect it might close down for a period after bottling. 2028 - 2050
Tasted blind at Southwold 2018. Saturated ruby colour in the glass. There is an almost left bank quality to the nose here, lots of cassis, cedar and deeply savoury spices come through, though there is a seductive summer pudding note to identify the Pomerol heritage. The palate follows, with chewy, mouthcoating tannins offering a bold structure for long-term ageing. Dark fruit, incense and toasted spice burst through the chalky texture. This is a deep wine, full of forest fruit and bitter cocoa. It warrants significant cellaring before approaching, but the long and expansive finish suggest this will be one of the wines of the vintage.
Incredible purity of fruit here with blackberry, black olive, concrete, stone and violet in the nose. It’s full-bodied with a powerful palate of fruit that shows a wet-earth and black-truffle undertone. The tannins are intense and chewy, yet wonderfully polished and poised. Superb length in the finish. One built for long cellaring. Try after 2027.
A blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, the 2018 L'Eglise Clinet has a 3.63 pH and 14.5% alcohol. It was aged in 70% new barriques. Deep garnet-purple in color, it opens with a stunning fragrant-earth perfume, accented by notions of wild mushrooms, mossy tree bark and crushed rocks, giving way to a core of black raspberries, plum preserves and fresh blueberries, plus wafts of lavender and clove oil. Medium to full-bodied, the palate shimmers with energy, delivering slow-releasing black fruit and earthy layers, framed by very ripe, finely grained tannins and fantastic tension. It finishes with epic length and subtlety. It is already so evocative and beautifully expressed at this youthful stage that is tempting to broach straight away, but give it another 5-6 years to really fan its feathers, and drink it over the next 40 or more years. 2026 - 2066
This is rich, with layers upon layers of black chocolate, ripe fleshy blackberries and raspberries tempered by acidity and tannins that support, pushing the entire palate slowly onwards and upwards. It has all the generosity of the vintage but tempered with Durantou's amazing ability to sculpt freshness out of the fruit his vineyards deliver. It’s immensely seductive and powerful with more evident flesh than the 2016 – a wine that’s going to run and run.
Drinking Window 2028 - 2040
Tasted blind. High toned. Sweet and then rather challengingly tart on the end. Not a beautiful whole at this stage.
Drink 2030 – 2044
90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc; 70% new oak. Barrel sample.
Black core with purple rim. Pure cassis fruit on the nose and a touch of vanilla but quite introverted still though it opens up in the glass. There's more finesse here than in the Petite Église but there's so much sweet charry oak on the palate it is a bit overwhelming. Thick and chewy on the finish. Very rich but could be more elegant. Second sample from the same barrique taken the same day: still dense but with a little more freshness and the tannins are finer, the oak less intrusive. Not sure how it will age and have given perhaps optimistic drink dates. (JH) 14.5%
Very deep, saturated purple in the glass. The nose is already very intense but dense and brooding, with blueberry, cassis, cocoa, allspice and black pepper all unfurling with time and air. The palate is powerful, with great density and richness of structure. Mouthcoating, chewy tannins provide a bold frame for the fruit that is multi-layered and exotic. Ripe bramble fruits and cassis show first, but through the mid-palate the acidity and spice add waves of savoury freshness and complexity. Cedar, dark chocolate and espresso all come through in waves. The power is very impressive, but the restraint and tension are what take the wine to the highest level. The finish is extremely long, with fantastic delineation of fruit and spice. A profound, harmonious Eglise Clinet for the long term.
One of the true “wow” wines in the vintage, the 2018 Château l'Eglise-Clinet is a blockbuster offering stunning notes of black currants, roasted herbs, truffle, earth, and graphite. It's a ripe, voluptuous, and incredibly opulent wine that has full-bodied richness, no hard edges, silky tannins, and gorgeous length. The blend is 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, all harvest in September, and raised in 70% new oak. It has remarkable purity, as well as balance, and will benefit from 5-6 years of bottle age and evolve for two decades or more.
Lush in feel, with boysenberry reduction and crushed plum flavors, carried by a polished, solid structure. A mineral hint filters through on the finish, adding length and cut.
(90 Merlot, 10 Cabernet Franc) | 70% new oak | 14.5% alc | The Merlot was picked between the 18th and 26th September and the Cabernet Franc was picked on the 28th September This is the first vintage in which every wine made in this portfolio comes from Denis Durantou’s own plantings! He calls it his year of the ‘Revolutionary’. Noëmie Durantou Reilhac, Denis’s daughter, and his cellar master Olivier Gautrat are very much involved these days and Denis notes that the old adage that you can only make great wines from vines that were planted by your ancestors is definitely not true today! The nose on L’Eglise Clinet is magnificent. The oak is typically commanding as is the fruit and the tannins are super-fine and also very fit and lively. These tannins are big but energetic and healthy and they will propel this wine forwards for 50 years. This is another tour de force from this famous estate.
This is incredibly powerful with fantastic depth and length. It goes on for minutes. Full-bodied yet so tight and intense. Blackberries and hints of spice. It has such energy and persistence. It is a wine that makes you really reflect. Bravo. Tiny production.
Maintaining freshness in the wine was a priority for Denis Durantou at L’Eglise Clinet. “The pH developed quite quickly,” he said. “We had to test it every day; we had made a conscious decision to pick before it got too high. At a maximum of 3.7 pH, we pick. As soon as we have an evolution—a flavor change—we decide to pick.” Merlot was picked September 18-26 and Cabernet Franc on September 28. The resulting wine has a 3.63 pH and 14.5% alcohol and will be aged in 70% new barriques. A blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, the 2018 L'Eglise Clinet is deep purple-black in color and opens with beguiling truffles, forest floor, mossy bark and black tea scents, slowly unfurling to reveal a core of Black Forest cake, plum preserves, licorice and candied violets plus wafts of tar and cast iron pan. Full-bodied, concentrated and jam-packed with muscular fruit, the velvety-textured palate delivers layer upon layer of savory and earthy accents, finishing with a lingering mineral lift.