Along with Petrus, the 2012 l’Eglise Clinet is the potential wine of the vintage. An amazing tour de force in winemaking, the wine’s inky/purple color is accompanied by copious notes of spring flowers, creme de cassis, kirsch liqueur, truffles, caramels and graphite. Full-bodied with enormous concentration, the purity, exquisite balance and sheer gravitas and palate presence of this massive yet phenomenally compelling Pomerol are something to behold. Kudos to l’Eglise Clinet. This wine will be approachable in 4-5 years, and last for three decades or more. An amazing performance from proprietor Denis Durantou, this blend of 85% Merlot (harvested between September 21 and October 4) and 15% Cabernet Franc (harvested October 6) hits all the sweet spots in the olfactory senses as well as on the more crude palate. Drink 2017 - 2047
The Grand Vin was picked between 21 September and 4th October for the Merlot, with the Cabernet Franc picked on 6th October. A blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc (aged in 80% new oak) it has Burgundy-like minerality and purity on the nose that is taciturn at first, but blossoms nicely in the glass whilst maintaining a sense of restraint and focus. The palate is medium-bodied with very pure fruit and a silky texture. The acidity is extremely well judged, the Cabernet Franc lending this wine just a touch of edginess. There is sublime focus on the mineral-laden finish. One day, Denis Durantou will make a wine that does not merit a stream of superlatives. But that day seems a long way away.
90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, on clay and gravel, very small volume this year. Deep dark crimson. Black core. Just-ripe dark fruit and sweet oak spice on the nose. Hint of char and cedar. Chewy and firm and just enough fruit in the middle but only just. Savoury, lots of char but lots more to come. It's less approachable than many a 2012. I like its earthy firmness but the char taste on the oak seems a little heavy. (JH) Drink 2016-2025
Ripe, focused, pure and precise, this pulls raspberry, cherry and red currant fruit together seamlessly, letting the floral, iron and incense notes flicker through the long, silky finish. A beautiful wine. —J.M.
This really builds at the end of the palate, which clearly shows it’s top notch. It’s full-bodied, and grows on the palate ever so steadily. Lovely berry, chocolate, and hazelnut character. Goes on for a minutes. This has wonderful tannin tension for the vintage. Better than 2011.
Tasting with Dénis Durantou is always a visual feast. Not only do we get to savour a range of greatwines, but we also normally get to view one of the Right Bank's most striking art collections,painted by Dénis' wife. But sadly they were on loan to an exhibition. The most famous of thePomerol "Clinets", L'Eglise Clinet has been run by Dénis since 1983 whose brilliant winemaking hascatapulted this château skywards.
The small sub-region of Pomerol is situated north-east of the industrious city of Libourne. Pomerol's soils are predominately iron-rich clay with a smattering of gravel that produce wines with extraordinary power and depth. As a result of this clay-dominance, it has the highest percentage of Merlot planted in all of Bordeaux. Certain châteaux are produced exclusively from this grape, but most incorporate smaller quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc as well. Despite its hefty (if not exclusive) proportion of Merlot, many people think of wines from this region as separate entities. As one wine aficionado stated recently, "It's not Merlot. It's Pomerol." Despite the region's small size, Pomerol contains some of the world's most sought after (and expensive) wines including Pétrus, Le Pin, Lafleur, l'Evangile and Vieux Château Certan. Unlike other Bordelais subregions, there is no system of classification. The châteaux are traded on reputation alone.