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Since 1983, Denis Durantou has been at the helm of this historic estate. He has quietly performed something of a revolution, introducing a host of innovations and bringing his wine-making philosophy to one of the greatest terroirs in Bordeaux. The 4.5 hectares used for the grand vin are situated next to the church in Pomerol on gravel and clay soils. A further 1.5 hectares of on sandy soils account for the excellent Petite Eglise.
Denis’ wines receive many accolades, all richly deserved. The grand vin is consistently amongst the best wines of the vintage; they are typically perfumed, nuanced and posses the structure to age gracefully for many decades.
Château L'Église Clinet
In 1882, Mr Mauléon-Rouchut, great great grandfather of Denis Durantou, brought together different plots of Clos L'Église and Domaine de Clinet. which his family had acquied in the 18th century, to make up a vineyard around the church of Saint John of Pomerol. In 1989 Durantou took over L'Église Clinet.
L’Eglise Clinet’s continuing success may well be the result of great Pomerol terroir, painstaking vine-growing and perfectionist wine-making, but grower Denis Durantou insists that the bottling can be the making or the breaking of a great wine.
"Choosing the right time to harvest and the right time to bottle are the two trickiest decisions in the winemaker’s calendar. If you get these two wrong, there is no going back; you can’t stick the grapes back on the vines and you can’t uncork all the bottles." says Durantou.
"At L’Eglise Clinet, the wine is aged in barrel with very little contact with oxygen. There are of course rackings, but we keep a high level of free sulphur throughout the whole of the ageing process to be sure there is no aromatic deviation. We don’t want to take any risks with yeasts and bacteria, and we believe that it is very important to preserve the reduction potential in great wines. But we also have to take care to explain to consumers that on opening a bottle, the wine may not be showing at its best during the first minutes; it needs a little time to breathe and come out."
Soil: clay and gravel
Production area: 5.4 ha
Grape varieties: Merlot 85%, Cabernet Franc 15%
Average age of vines: 40 years
Ageing: 18 months in oak barrels, new depending on the vintage
Château L'Église Clinet
Tel. + 33 (0)5 5725 9659
Fax + 33 (0)5 5725 2196
Upon closer examination of the decade, attention must also be drawn to the Bordeaux 1950 vintage, which offered quantity more than quality - indeed, with welcome exceptions. Due to the relatively rainy summer, expectations for the year were not very high, but the change in weather by the end of the year made it a good one, and in some areas even excellent. The wines lacked the ample and balanced character of the previous year. They were instead noted for their highly tannic quality. But the wines have matured with surprising grace. Many of the wines have become more harmonious as the tannins have faded.
Two vintage gems are the Cheval Blanc and Pétrus. On the other hand, the Graves La-Mission-Haut-Brion is an outstanding wine. Although the finest wines are at the peak of their drinkability right now, they will remain there for years to come. Due to the large crop and the very modest reputation of the vintage, these wines can be found at very affordable prices.