Robert Parker 98
Unquestionably one of the wines of the vintage on the right bank, the late Denis Durantou’s swan-song 2019 L’Eglise Clinet is showing very well indeed in bottle. Unfurling in the glass with aromas of dark berry fruit mingled with notions of raw cocoa, violets, black truffle, orange rind, burning embers and loamy soil, it’s full-bodied, layered and concentrated, its velvety attack segueing into a deep, multidimensional core that’s framed by ripe, powdery tannins and lively balancing acids. Seamless but youthfully structured, this is a prodigious young Pomerol that will richly reward bottle age.
Anticipated maturity: 2029-2065
The 2019 L’Eglise-Clinet, Denis Durantou’s last vintage, is also very clearly one of the wines of the year. A Pomerol of soaring, majestic intensity L’Eglise-Clinet dazzles from start to finish. Layers of dark fruit, gravel, spice and dried flowers unfold over time. I followed this sample for several days and it never lost any intensity over that time. I find the 2019 incredibly elegant and polished, but then again, I also tasted it a few months later than normal because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Merlot was harvested from September 18 to 26, while the Franc came all in on the 26th. Readers who can find the 2019 should not hesitate, as it is a true masterpiece. Denis Durantou’s 2019s are absolutely brilliant across the board. My tasting was obviously bittersweet, as Durantou lost his battle with illness just a few weeks prior. Denis Durantou was one of the most intriguing characters in Bordeaux. I can’t say I knew him well, but I always enjoyed tasting with him, as he was a person that spoke more with his eyes than with words. Things were implied rather than overtly stated. So, I tasted the 2019s with daughters Constance and Noémie over Zoom, in typical 2020 fashion. The Durantou sisters describe 2019 as a year with an early flowering and homogenous ripening that led to small, concentrated berries and higher pHs than normal. Temperatures were kept cool in the cellar, where both alcoholic and malolactic fermentations took place over cuvaison of 21 days (for all wines), in a reductive environment with little oxygen. From top to bottom, the Durantou 2019s are positively stellar. Don’t miss them!