NOT YET RELEASED
2021 Château Saintayme en primeur
We have talked about the wines of 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 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, the ability to identify sites with great potential and then went on to fulfil that potential. Jane Anson wrote of him:
"The impressive thing with Denis Durantou is the accomplishment shown across his entire range and the precision of his work with tannins. These are not insubstantial wines, and here there is a richness and shape to the structure as it moves through your mouth. Black cherry fruit is accompanied by a lovely freshness and chewy but extremely well-placed tannins that hold, hold, hold, before backing off for a lift on the finish."
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 were very sad to hear that he had passed away suddenly last year. Not all winemakers receive an obituary in The Times. His describe him as an "intensely private perfectionist", which fits with our impression of him.
When we visited L'Eglise Clinet in April 2019 his daughters Alix and Noémie were working closely with Denis, presenting the wines and clearly very involved in all stages of production. Along with their sister Constance, they now run the estate, with winemaker Oliver Gautrat, who worked with Durantou for twenty years.
Saintayme (known and labelled in some markets as Saintem) is from a 9-hectare parcel of vines on a long-term lease to the Durantous. A single plot of Merlot in St-Etienne-de-Lisse, the terroir here is limestone, clay and gravel, with the vines averaging 35 years of age.
"Beautiful juice here, cool, measured, reserved, precise blue fruit and gunsmoke reduction, with sinew and just a touch of swagger. Harvest September 28 to October 11. 92 points." JaneAnson.com (JA), Apr 2022
Landing spring 2024.