In a nutshell: Fantastic value undiscovered gem of a Saint-Emilion made by one of the best producers on the right bank.
The lowdown: Saintayme (or Saintem) is a 9 hectare parcel of 35 year old Merlot vines located in the Saint Etienne de Lisse commune, just to the south east of the historic town of Saint-Emilion itself. This vineyard is on a long term lease to top winemaker Denis Durantou of the famed Chateau L'Eglise Clinet, one of the best estates in Pomerol, and arguably Bordeaux, and the wine is made by the same L'Eglise Clinet team. Matured in 30% new oak only 3,500 cases are made each year and at a relatively affordable price makes this one of the best value Saint-Emilions out there at the moment. Approachable and polished this 100% Merlot is medium-full bodied with blackberry, blueberry and raspberry fruit notes with touches of oak spice and minerally energy. The tannins are firm, the acidity bright and the finish long.
Now one of Pomerol's superstar estates L'Eglise Clinet is a typically small estate of just uner 6 hectares of vines about 85% of which are Merlot and the rest being Cabernet Franc. Since being taken over by Denis Durantou in 1983 the estate hs been transformed from a steady, middle of the road, performer into one the leaders of the appellation. Also part of his stable are Château les Cruzelles in Lalande-de-Pomerol, Château Saintayme in Saint Emilion and Château Montlandrie in Côtes de Castillon and while these estates might not have the fame of L'Eglise Clinet the wines are all made with the same care and attention and are well worth looking out for especially at their relatively modest prices. Sadly Denis died, relatively young, in 2020 and the estate has now passed to his daughters..