Denis Durantou's 2019 vintageFriday, June 12
Released this morning, the 2019 wines from Saintayme, La Chenade, Les Cruzelles and Montlandrie are the last vintage of Bordeaux winemaking star Denis Durantou, who very sadly passed away last month.
We have followed Denis Durantou for some years, since he turned around the fortunes of his diminutive Pomerol estate L'Eglise Clinet, making it one of the most respected on the right bank. With just the 4.5 hectares here, he then began to practice his art with a collection of other, small properties in neighbouring St.Emilion and Lalande de Pomerol.
Saintayme, La Chenade, Les Cruzelles & Montlandrie all effectively "came from nowhere"; one of the reasons Durantou was so respected. He demonstrated several times over that the ability to identify sites with great potential and then go on to fulfil that potential.
We have grown used to seeing his labels in our cellars and the sense that these modestly-priced wines would always deliver real excitement and a strong identity, far above their monetary value. We are very sad to hear of his death. When we last visited L'Eglise Clinet in April 2019 his daughters Alix, Noémie were very much to the fore. It is heartening to hear that they (along with their sister Constance) intend to run the estate, along with winemaker Oliver Gautrat, who worked alongside Durantou for twenty years.
Saintayme, La Chenade, Les Cruzelles and Montlandrie are always among the very best value wines of each new en primeur campaign, so we do hope you will add them to your cellar.
Offered En Primeur, landing Spring 2022.
2019 Château Saintayme, St.-Emilion Grand Cru
From a single 9 hectare parcel of 35 year old vines, almost entirely Merlot with a very small proportion of Cabernet Franc. The wine will be aged in 30% new oak for 18 months. RKL
“A red with lovely, juicy character and plenty of ripe fruit and chocolate undertones. It’s rich and layered. Flavorful. More concentration than the 2018. 93-94 points" jamessuckling.com
"Black chocolate, baked earth, liquorice root and silky smooth tannins greet you on the first attack of this wine. I've never found this the easiest to love of the Durantou range but it is strikingly successful in 2019. Silky and yet slatey in texture, this both eases you through the palate and pulls you up short, slowing things down. Sparks of fresh minerality accompany the pulsing blueberry and raspberry fruits, and the juicy finish makes this one to look out for. Drinking Window 2027 - 2042. 94 points." Jane Anson, Decanter
2019 La Chenade, Lalande de Pomerol
Made from fruit sourced from Les Cruzelles, La Chenade is a blend of 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, aged mostly in one-year old oak barrels. RKL
"Sweet, carefully extracted and poised blackberry and brambled fruits with gentle smoked oak notes and fresh acidities that cut through the heat of the summer. Delicate overall, this is an unforced and highly enjoyable wine. Drinking Window 2023 - 2036. 91 points." Jane Anson, Decanter
"Plenty of sweet berries with chocolate and smoke. Even coffee. It’s medium-bodied with ripe tannins. Cherries at the end. 92-93 points" jamessuckling.com
2019 Château Les Cruzelles, Lalande de Pomerol
The fruit for Les Cruzelles is grown on soils with a higher clay content than La Chenade, with slightly more Merlot in the blend, giving darker, more intense wines. RKL
"This is smoky, spicy and meaty with blueberry character. It’s medium-bodied with a chewy texture and a tight, pronounced finish. Serious. 92-93 points" jamessuckling.com
"For me this stands out above La Chenade, in the yin and yang of these two terroirs. Has more signature of the Pomerol side of Lalande, with rich coffee-tinged blackberry fruits, still with beautiful control and lift. Silky, elegant, concentrated. This is a wine that stands as a tribute to the brilliance of Denis Durantou in these smaller appellations, and is one that you will drink with emotion. Drinking Window 2023 - 2036. 93 points." Jane Anson, Decanter
2019 Château Montlandrie, Castillon, Cotes de Bordeaux
Montlandrie is a 12 hectare vineyard on a mix of clay and limestone, planted to 65% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Like all of Durantou's wines, the hallmark of Montlandrie is a voluptuous texture and concentration, accompanied by wonderful freshness and purity of fruit. RKL
“A chewy, structured red with medium body. The flavor shows blue fruit with salty, minerally undertones. It’s tannic, yet driven. Tight. 92-93 points" jamessuckling.com
"Cinnamon and spice box tinged pulped raspberry fruits on the nose, this has the restrained exuberance of Montlandrie in spades, where the ripe fruits are balanced step by step with fresh acidities and lip smacking salinity that speaks to the limestone soils of this estate. Cabernet Sauvignon adds a savoury touch, and overall this is yet another example of why the loss of Durantou will be felt for years. Drinking Window 2025 - 2036. 93 points." Jane Anson, Decanter
"The 2019 Montlandrie is a blend of 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. It comes bounding out of the glass with bright, cheerful scents of warm redcurrants, Morello cherries, wild blueberries and boysenberries with touches of lavender, red roses, cinnamon stick and cast-iron pan. Wow. I LOVE this energy on the elegantly styled, medium-bodied palate. The red and black fruit layers practically dance, intermingled with grainy (Cabernet-like) tannins and tons of freshness. It has a satisfyingly long, fragrant finish. Truly impressive! 93-95 points." Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate June 2020