Denis Durantou made stunning, age-worthy wines here, from 1983 until his untimely death in 2020. Since the breakthrough 1985 vintage, L'Eglise Clinet has invariably matched or beaten all the top names of Pomerol in blind tastings at Southwold and elsewhere. Denis' right-hand man, Olivier Gautrat, had worked with him every day for over two decades and continues the Durantou wine-making philosophy. 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 Pétrus and Lafleur.
Wonderfully bright, floral aromas with so much violet character. Such purity and focus. Ethereal on the nose already. Full-bodied, but very polished and deep with finesse and beauty. Incredible structure that fills the mouth.
The 2020 L'Eglise Clinet is a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. The Merlot was picked between the 11th and the 14th of September, and the Cabernet Franc was picked on the 16th of September. It has an alcohol of 14.4% and is aging in French oak barrels, 80% new. Displaying and opaque purple-black color, it needs a bit of swirling to reveal a fascinating array of earthy notes—black truffles, charcoal, mossy tree bark and fallen leaves—over a profound core of preserved plums, blackberry preserves and violets, with a waft of tapenade. The medium to full-bodied palate has exquisitely ripe tannins and bold freshness supporting the seductively ripe, black fruit layers, finishing on a lingering fragrant earth note.
Noémie Durantou has taken over from her late father Denis with this vintage, and has produced a L'Eglise Clinet that is dark ruby in colour, and needs time in the glass as it is built and muscular. You need a little patience for the cassis, bilberry and raspberry fruits to arrange, enjoy instead the silky, velvety texture that stops the tannins being too restrictive and allows the palate to slowly expand. Not as expressive as in some vintages, but still exudes quiet confidence. A yield of 42hl/ha. Harvest from September 8.
Drinking Window 2029 - 2050
The 2020 is a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc that will be aged in 80% new oak. The Merlot was harvested between 11th and 14th September, and Cabernet Franc on 16th September. Deep purple colour. The nose is dense and brooding at first. With air, this reveals layer upon layer of blue and black fruit, cedar, vanilla and game. The palate is full bodied and impressive, the ripe Merlot fruit bringing a fleshy, full complement of cherries, plums and blackberries. There is superb cut from a cedary, graphite note and bright acidity to cut through the flesh. The tannins, though mouthcoating, are ripe and very fine, adding to the moreish nature of the fruit. The finish is intense and vibrant, with persistent structure confirming a superb potential to age.
90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc. Cask sample.
Dense and profound, the fruit savoury and pure. Profuse on attack, the fruit bursting on the palate with layered, fine-grain tannins in support. Purity and precision, the detail spot-on, the tannins of the finest weave. Great potential. (JL) 14.4%
Drink 2028 – 2045
(90% M, 10% CF; 14.4% ABV; 80% new)
Dense, fine, and scented to smell, freshly black-fruit ripe, subtle and persistent; rich, fairly full, fresh to lively, very finely tannic, a lovely restrained yet ample balance; deep, subtly oakily sweet, a dark ripe fruit, creamy and fresh at once, very long across the palate, very long to finish; aromatic and complex, effortlessly graceful, refined and complete. There is more structure here than in the Petite Eglise, less immediate charm, but there is a superb fruit core and wonderful scope. A beautiful expression of the terroir and of the year. 2032–50+.