I love this picture of Noëmie Durantou Reilhac: it captures the joy that I glimpsed in our conversation. I don’t get to talk enough women winemakers, let alone those that are in their 20s, and that’s a shame for the industry. The way in which she spoke about vines filled me with optimism, and excited to taste the wines she’d produced in 2020, her maiden vintage. They lived up to every expectation.
When Noëmie’s father, the legend Denis Durantou, passed away in May 2020, she stepped up to take over. The young winemaker (and actress, with her own theatre company) was now in charge of the family’s stable of illustrious properties, of which the jewel in the crown is Ch. l’Eglise-Clinet. But as the rain fell upon the vines, the threat of mildew building, there was little time to pause and consider the loss of the family’s patriarch. The vineyards weren’t waiting, so neither could they.
“When the harvest and vinification is over, it’s like waking up from a dream,” she told me. In 2020, I can only imagine what a blur the year must have been.