Genius winemaker, Denis Durantou - April 2013

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Two daughters of late Denis Durantou, Constance (left) and Noëmie (right) + Olivier Gautrat, the cellar master. April 2022

This property's name (since 1955 vintage) combines the names of two properties, Clos L’Église Clinet and Domaine de Clinet. It lies on the plateau, north of the church and next to the cemetery. The soil is a blend of gravel, clay, and sand on the surface, while the subsoil consists of clay mixed with "crasse de fer".

L’Église Clinet is one of the few properties in Pomerol that did not dig vines up after the disastrous frost in 1956. That is why you can find vines here that are 60-100 years old.

From 1942 to 1982, this property was managed by Pierre Lasserre, the owner of Clos Rene in Pomerol. Denis Durantou took command in 1983, and vintage 983 was the first one he made. He introduced immediately, as late harvest as possible a very strong selection of cuveés for Grand Vin and a maximum yield per ha at 35 hl.

Meeting Denis Durantou was always a great pleasure, and I have met him many times since my first visit in September 1985. He was a magician and an incredibly gifted winemaker with his way of doing things. He told me that he has always utilized traditional winemaking without modern tweaks. F.i. didn't use malolactic fermentation in barrels; he says he would get the same flavors yearly by using this vinification method. He utilized a short fermentation period (15 days) at 26 degrees C. Denis Durantou died in May 2020.

L’Église Clinet is undoubtedly among the absolute top wines in Pomerol. It is an incredibly complex and nuanced wine with minerality, striking power and concentration, richness, and tremendous longevity. Purely Pomerol!!

During the 1980 and 1990s, I came across the fabulous 1983, fantastic 1985 (qualitatively very close to the Pétrus itself!), outstanding 1986, 1988, 1989, and 1990, emphasizing Denis Durantou's brilliant skills as a winemaker. The very well-structured, compact, and spicy 1994 was a success for the vintage, while 1995 appeared as a monstrous hit with power and sappiness, a lot of sun-ripe raspberries/blackberries, and enormous depth. All these wines would be rated at 94-95p, except 1985 (99p) and 1995 (98p). I haven't retasted these wines since then.


L'Eglise Clinet 2022 (barrel sample) 98-100p

Tasted in April 2023. 90% Merlot + 10% C. Franc. 14.6% alcohol. 2022 is a dazzling beauty. Traditionally tight and powerful with a strong backbone, very concentrated and multilayered with plenty of black cherries and blueberries. Vibrant and sophisticated. It's a long, fatty finish. Sheer delight! 

L'Eglise Clinet 2021 (barrel sample) 95-96p

Tasted in April 2022. 85% Merlot + 15% C. Franc. 14% alcohol. Denis Durantou's daughters, Constance (in charge of tastings and receiving visitors) and Nöemie (the winemaker), gracefully continue their father's great work. 2021 here was dazzling. Traditionally tight with a strong backbone, plenty of morello cherries, violets, and a few slices of black winter truffle. Mineral, vibrant, and sophisticated. Sublime stuff. 

L'Eglise Clinet 2020 98-99p

Tasted twice - last time in April 2023. Consistent notes. 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. 14.4% alcohol. Classic stuff, no modern tweaks here. Potent and concentrated, strong backbone, fat and dense on the palate (old vines), lot of minerality, great complexity, multilayered and excellent length, and long, long finish. This was from the barrel. After bottling, the wine is riveting and fulfills the big promises! Denis Durantous' two daughters, Constance and Nöemie, and the cellarmaster, Olivier Gautrat, did a fantastic job with the vintage! 

L'Eglise Clinet 2019 98-99p

Tasted in November 2021. It was the last vintage made by Denis Durantou before he left for heaven in May 2020. 90% Merlot + 10% C. Franc. 14.5% alcohol. It is intense on the nose, with black cherries, violets, and black winter truffle. Also, there is a secondary aroma of grated dark chocolate. Succulent, vibrant, and silky on the palate, with great complexity and length. Persistent finish. Stupendous effort. 

L'Eglise Clinet 2018 98+p

Tasted twice - last time in November 2021. Consistent notes. 90% Merlot + 10% C. Franc. This wine had a huge concentration, a strong backbone, was fat and dense on the palate (old vines), a lot of minerality, great complexity, was multilayered and had excellent length, and a long, long finish. Denis Durantou had always utilized traditional winemaking at his properties without modern tweaks. Amazing stuff. 98+p.

L'Eglise Clinet 2017 97p.

Tasted twice -  last time in November 2021. Consistent notes. 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. It is a textbook Pomerol wine with plenty of spicy black fruit, intense and creamy, fabulous complexity and depth, sophisticated and terrific structure, and a long finish. There is more elegance here than in 2018 and 2019 vintages. Stunning wine. 

L'Eglise Clinet 2016 (barrel sample) 98-99p

Tasted in April 2017 - Denis Durantou has done everything right in the 2016 vintage! This wine had excellent ripeness and acidity, violets and black cherries everywhere, powerful, extraordinary complexity, great depth, and was stunningly rich. Mega-long aftertaste. This is a tremendous effort. 

L'Eglise Clinet 2015 98p

Tasted twice - last time in April 2018. Consistent notes. In April 2016, It showed an excellent ripeness and acidity from the barrel, with black cherries everywhere, powerful, deep, and stunningly rich. Bull's eye effort. Then, two years later, I was delighted when Denis Durantou poured his magnificently delicious 2015 vintage into the glass at my request. Lots of tannins and sweet lack very creamy, deep, and long fruit. It's a fantastic wine, and I'm delighted I've purchased a few bottles of it en primeur!!

L'Eglise Clinet 2014 (barrel sample) 96+p

Tasted in March 2015. Denis Durantou, the magician winemaker at this highly regarded property, made sublime wines in 2014. He always brings out the best possible from the grapes, no matter how much weather conditions challenge him! Grand Vin (90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc) had excellent ripeness and acidity, black cherries everywhere, and was powerful, deep, and stunningly rich. Bull's eye effort.

L'Eglise Clinet 2013 (barrel sample) 94p

Tasted in April 2014. L'Eglise Clinet, in comparison to recent vintages, was lighter in texture and had a shorter finish. Nevertheless, it had a trademark cherry aroma mixed with chocolate, truffles, sappiness, and fine structure and length. Very Pomerol and great effort for the vintage.

L'Eglise Clinet 2012 (barrel sample) 96p

Tasted in April 2013. This was a classy, stylish, rich wine with a distinct nose of black cherries mixed with chocolate/cocoa powder, stunning complexity with plenty of nuances, and excellent length and aftertaste. Stunning effort.

L'Eglise Clinet 2011 (barrel sample) 96p

Tasted in March 2012. It was a classy and stylish wine with vibrancy, great complexity, various nuances, and excellent length and aftertaste. Full-blown ripeness of fruit and tannin and beautiful balance. This is awesome stuff from Denis Durantou!

L'Eglise Clinet 2010  99-100p

Tasted in April 2013. This wine was so "thick" that you could slice it! Enormous concentration and intensity. 90% Valrhona chocolate, mixed with black cherries and blueberries, has superb composition and richness of nuances, a firm backbone as a rock, and an extraordinary length. Mind-boggling effort!

L'Eglise Clinet 1970 95p

Tasted in April 2007. Dark red, youthful appearance, tight, and impressively structured. It is packed with lush cherries, raspberries, and truffles, complex, vibrant, and long on the palate with a firm, sweet finish. Wonderful wine.

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