I am still reeling from the news of the death last week of Denis Durantou, owner and winemaker of Chateau l'Église Clinet, La Petite Église (its second wine) Cruzelles, Montlandrie, La Chenade and Saintayme. He was only 62. I've been so disengaged (delegation) from the last two Bordeaux primeur campaigns, that I didn't even know he was ill.
We sample a staggering number of wines during the tastings of en primeur week and there is always a treasure trove of beautifully made and very well priced options. There are particularly rich pickings in a vintage with the quality and consistency of 2016. The *Fill your cellar for under £250 a dozen* list is our pick of the bunch. £2k could easily get you 10 cases of superb claret that will bring huge amounts of pleasure in the years ahead
The ever dependable right-bank stable of Denis Durantou has just been released. These are wines where the price-to-quality ratio is always off the scale - even more so so in a fresh and juicy vintage like 2016. The SAINTAYME and LA CHENADE will provide enormous pleasure almost immediately.
'Yet another ridiculously fine wine to load up on, courtesy of Denis Durantou.' So said Neal Martin of 2015 CHÂTEAU LES CRUZELLES, Denis Durantou's lead wine from his Lalande de Pomerol property. And this is another cracker and great value at £180 a dozen. 91-93 Neal Martin, 92-93 James Suckling.
There are various people in Bordeaux (or rather in the vineyards around Bordeaux) who are prepared to be intelligently honest in their appraisals of vintages, and that can really help sort out what one's thoughts about a vintage are.