Château L’Eglise Clinet 2010
L’Eglise Clinet is considered by many to be one of the truly great offerings from Pomerol. The name of this producer is often brought up in conjunction with icons of the Right Bank like Château Pétrus and Château La Fleur. Yet despite the greatness of this estate, the wine is still among the less exorbitantly priced Pomerol producers out there today. Robert Parker Jr himself once referred to this estate as a, “sleeper château of the century.”
The history of this estate dates to 1803, when a gentleman named Jean Rouchut purchased some vines near a small cemetery. In 1882, the family purchased some plots from a neighboring vineyard, Domaine de Clinet. They decided to partner, and thus L’Eglise Clinet was born. The property’s rise to stardom began when it was inherited by one of the legends in the wine industry, Denis Durantou.
The Durantou family was a family of farmers, and most of their income did not come from winemaking. Denis Durantou took over operations in 1983 and he certainly had his work cut out for him. There were no cellar floors, only dirt. The vats were old and unclean, and they were not temperature controlled. He made sweeping changes to the vat room and relined cement tanks with epoxy and replanted much of the 5.5-hectare vineyard. It took him only two years before he began to see the fruits of his labor. There’s a mixture of opulence, concentration, and body in each bottle of L’Eglise Clinet and these traits began to evolve and shine during his tenure. During the 1990s, each vintage received mounting critical acclaim and today, this opulent and lush wine is now considered one of the true stars of Pomerol.
Denis Durantou was known as, “a winemaker’s winemaker.” He valued precision when approaching his wines and was a master at handling the Merlot grape. Durantou’s authenticity was refreshing, and he was the epitome of a humble vigneron who did most of his winemaking in the vineyard. He was described by some as, “a man of the soil,” whose purposes and motivation for crafting wine was simple: bringing integrity to terroir. There was no pretense or ego that came through in his winemaking. This is especially rare in a region where exorbitant prices continue to inflate, and a great wine is more and more difficult to purchase. Denis Durantou’s contributions were important ones because he devoted a significant portion of his time to creating value oriented Pomerol that leveled the playing field. In an interview with Jane Anson, he said he wanted to translate terroir, “as honestly as possible.” Unfortunately, he passed away in 2020 after a long illness. It was truly a great loss for the wine industry in all of Bordeaux.
Denis Durantou’s legacy lives on in those thirty-seven vintages he produced. One can still always experience his technique, his precision, and his unique style in these wines. His daughters are now in charge of the property with the winemaking team headed by Olivier Gautrat who worked for Durantou family for the past 20 years.
"This wine will likely be a major superstar with about 10-15 years of cellaring. It was one of the more closed and difficult wines to penetrate and one of probably only a dozen or so 2010s that I only had one chance to taste from bottle, but it is loaded with fabulous raw materials. The 2010 is a profound effort, but it needs to be forgotten for at least a decade. This opaque purple wine offers up notes of caramelized black currant and black cherry candies intermixed with some very high class, subtle vanillin and toast. Hints of licorice, mocha and perhaps even a touch of chocolate are also present in this full-bodied, super-duper, concentrated, classic wine, which has everything in perfect proportions. But in the finish, its whoppingly big tannins kick in and basically announce that drinking this wine now would be infanticide. Look for this wine to last for at least 50+ years.
Proprietor Denis Durantou has been on a hot streak, and is one of those perfectionist proprietors who seems tortured by their compulsion to do everything so well. Believe me, as a wine drinker, you want people like Durantou making the wines!" - Robert Parker Jr., The Wine Advocate, (2/27/2013, Issue 205), Rating: 96+, Drink: 2013-2063
|Château L'Eglise Clinet