The Terrific Wines of Denis Durantou

Lucien Michel | May 8, 2020

Lalande-de-Pomerol and Saint-Emilion

Widely considered a superstar and master craftsman of the right bank, Denis Durantou, the owner and winemaker of Château l’Eglise-Clinet in Pomerol, has a stable of enthralling wines that remain somewhat under the radar.

Regardless of price, the same meticulous farming and attention to detail goes into all of his wines, which is one of many reasons you should try them:

Château les Cruzelles – Lalande-de-Pomerol 
This 10ha estate is situated on the appellation’s favored terroir and has one of the highest proportions of Cabernet Franc in the region. I really enjoy wines that have Cabernet Franc in the blend, as this variety reveals the specific terroir, more than Merlot, which tends to have a stronger varietal expression: Les Cruzelles is a fantastic example of this.

La Chenade – Lalande-de-Pomerol
La Chenade was originally a cuvée made from the grapes from Les Cruzelles, before Denis bought the estate. Today, this is produced from the younger vines of the same plots as Les Cruzelles. It exhibits polished tannins, bright fruits and is very charming and appealing.

Saintayme – Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 
Under the name Saintayme – a word play or anglicized version of Saint-Emilion – Denis produces a Saint-Emilion Grand Cru from this small property of old vines located at the eastern end of the appellation. This is a favorite of mine for value and approachability, an excellent expression of the modern Bordeaux style that I like to drink.

These 2016s are utterly delicious, drinking beautifully now and thoroughly overdeliver in value. They are hidden gems from the often overlooked satellite appellations of Bordeaux.   

We also have the Grand Vin, Eglise Clinet 2001, from Denis, which is drinking superbly at the moment.