Wine of the Month - June 2020
• Laguna Cellar Wine of the Month
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
This month, we pay tribute to a wine legend, Denis Durentou, the owner of Château L'Eglise Clinet (Pomerol), Château Montlandrie (Castillon), Château Les Cruzelles & Le Chenade (Lalande de Pomerol), and Saintayme (Saint-Emilion). He passed away 10 days ago after a long illness, at the age of 62.
In his career as a winemaker since 1983 when he took over the management of the family estate from his grandfather, he single-handedly revitalized the property and pioneered a winemaking style that emphasizes more on letting the terroir shine through, and less intervention by winemakers through the use of new oak and over extraction. Not only did he make the high-end L'Eglise Clinet (from an unknown name when he started to one of the best wine of Pomerol today), but also several of the best value wines from Bordeaux: Montlandrie, Les Cruzelles, Le Chenade. We have been big fans of his winemaking style and have carried his wines before renowned wine critics started presenting them to the general public. The latest example is the writing of James Suckling. He listed Château Montlandrie among the top 8 value wines of Bordeaux under $30.
This month's selections are:
- Château Cos Labory 2014, Saint-Estephe, 90-92 pts
- Château Kirwan 2016, Margaux, 91 pts
- Château Montlandrie 2016, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux, 91-93
Château Prieure-Lichine 2010, Margaux, 92 pts.
Château Cos Labory 2014 - "The 2014 Cos Labory has a slightly pinched bouquet at first, gradually opening with blackberry and briary scents, just a touch of graphite. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannin, sappy black fruit laced with graphite and black pepper, quite harmonious with a crisp and poised, satisfying finish. Excellent, traditional Saint Estèphe and perhaps one of the best Cos-Labory I have tasted thus far. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting." - Neal Martin, vinous.com, (March, 2018), Rating: 90-92, Drink: 2019-2030
Château Kirwan 2016 - "The 2016 Kirwan is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot picked up 49 hectoliters per hectare between 27 September until 18 October. The nose needed some encouragement from the glass, perhaps not quite as cohesive as I was expecting, angular black fruit with a dash of white pepper. It just felt rather broody and unsettled at this early stage. On the palate, I discerned some hardness on the tannin, rendering this a more masculine Kirwan that will hopefully flesh out once in bottle. With a new winery, I am anticipating great things from Kirwan. This might be a wine that will blossom later than others, so I will keep a watchful eye." - Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate (4/28/2017, Issue 230), Ratings: 91, Drink: 2023-2040
Château Montlandrie 2016 - "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 Originting 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." - Neal Martin, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (4/28/2017, Issue 230), Ratings: 91-93, DRINK: 2021-2036
Château Prieure-Lichine 2010 - "Dense purple, with loads of blueberry and blackberry fruit as well as hints of smoke and subtle charred wood, this wine is expansive, round, generous, lush and multi-dimensional. This beauty can be drunk now or cellared for 15-20 years. A beautiful example of wine from this estate, which is using well-known consultant Stephane Derenoncourt, finished 2010 at 14.5% natural alcohol, and seems to be one of the sexier, more developed and evolved styles of the vintage." - Robert Parker Jr., The Wine Advocate (2/27/2013, Issue 205), Ratings: 92, Drink: 2013-2028