This afternoon we saw the release of the second pair of ‘satellite’ Right Bank wines from Denis Durantou. These wines, along with the already-released Saintayme and La Chenade, are at the top of our Best Value list every year.
Les Cruzelles (£180) is Denis’ Lalande de Pomerol estate which produces both the eponymous Les Cruzelles and La Chenade. You can actually see the Les Cruzelles estate (which produces both wines) from L’Eglise Clinet, it is that close. The 2015 Cruzelles, made from 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, is deeper, richer and more comprehensively structured than the charming La Chenade. It is still hugely vibrant and balanced but will require some time in the cellar to really reach its potential. As Neal Martin states “Yet another ridiculously fine wine to load up on”.
Montlandrie (£165) is Denis’ Côtes de Castillon estate, a beautiful hillside estate of 9 hectares famed for the ancient stone tower in its centre. This hugely impressive 2015 is a blend of 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon; it is an intense, spiced, layered and hugely impressive wine with an exotic, perfumed nose and a delightful structure. It could be enjoyed almost from the point of delivery but there is more than enough matter and structure here to last a good 5-10 years beyond that.
A raft of other names at the value end were all released, but there were two St. Emilions in particular which caught our eye.
Barde-Haut, released at £250, is the home estate of Hélène Garcin-Lévêque. Too often in the past Barde-Haut has fallen under the shadow of Hélène’s Pomerol estate Clos L’Eglise – one of the great plateau terroirs – but 2015 is the year it steps into the light. In the quest for balance, freshness and elegance, Hélène picked very early (starting mid-September) and the result is hugely impressive. James Suckling even asks whether it might be the “Best ever?”
Grand Mayne, released at £270, is one estate that has made considerable stylistic strides since the over-extracted heydays of the past decade. Under the control of Bordeaux aristocracy the Nony family, estate boss Jean Antoine has created a St. Emilion of balance, finesse and vibrancy whilst retaining a rich, plummy, thickly fruited character – very much in the style of the very fine 1998-2001 period. It will need a few years in the cellar to show at its best but will certainly turn out to be a wonderful example of this ‘new/old’ style of St. Emilion.
Earlier in the day we had two very good wines being released at slightly less exciting prices.
Clos du Marquis was without doubt a decent effort (we gave it 90-92) but at £385 it’s £25 more expensive than the 2010 currently available on our list – which has 94 points from Neal Martin and 96 from James Suckling.
Clerc Milon at £480 was one of the first wines to be priced above the top end of our spread and whilst it’s a very good wine in 2015, you might be better placed to wait for other Pauillacs which may deliver rather better value.
Keep your eyes peeled for future En Primeur releases.