About this WINE
Chateau Clerc Milon
Château Clerc Milon, a 5th Growth Pauillac estate remained in obscurity until its acquisition by Baron Philippe de Rothschild in 1970. The château, which in reality is no more than a small, rather plain-looking house, is located in the small hamlet of Mousset, in the north of Pauillac. Clerc Milon's 32 hectares of vineyards are located on a gravel ridge between the vineyards of Mouton-Rothschild and Lafite-Rothschild.
Clerc Milon is now owned by Baronne Philipine de Rothschild, with Patrick Léon as managing and technical director. The wine is lighter in style and more forward than Mouton - it does not require the extended cellaring that is mandatory for Mouton and can be approached 5-7 years after the vintage. A notable bargain amongst Pauillac classed growths.
Pauillac is the aristocrat of the Médoc boasting boasting 75 percent of the region’s First Growths and with Grand Cru Classés representing 84 percent of Pauillac's production.
For a small town, surrounded by so many familiar and regal names, Pauillac imparts a slightly seedy impression. There are no grand hotels or restaurants – with the honourable exception of the establishments owned by Jean-Michel Cazes – rather a small port and yacht harbour, and a dominant petrochemical plant.
Yet outside the town, , there is arguably the greatest concentration of fabulous vineyards throughout all Bordeaux, including three of the five First Growths. Bordering St Estèphe to the north and St Julien to the south, Pauillac has fine, deep gravel soils with important iron and marl deposits, and a subtle, softly-rolling landscape, cut by a series of small streams running into the Gironde. The vineyards are located on two gravel-rich plateaux, one to the northwest of the town of Pauillac and the other to the south, with the vines reaching a greater depth than anywhere else in the Médoc.
Pauillac's first growths each have their own unique characteristics; Lafite Rothschild, tucked in the northern part of Pauillac on the St Estèphe border, produces Pauillac's most aromatically complex and subtly-flavoured wine. Mouton Rothschild's vineyards lie on a well-drained gravel ridge and - with its high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon - can produce (in its best years) Pauillac's most decadently rich, fleshy and exotic wine.
Latour, arguably Bordeaux's most consistent First Growth, is located in southern Pauillac next to St Julien. Its soil is gravel-rich with superb drainage, and Latour's vines penetrate as far as five metres into the soil. It produces perhaps the most long-lived wines of the Médoc.
Ch. Lafite-Rothschild, Ch. Latour, Ch. Mouton-Rothschild, Ch. Pichon-Longueville Baron, Ch. Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Ch. Lynch-Bages, Ch. Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Ch, Pontet-Canet, Les Forts de Latour, Ch. Haut-Batailley, Ch. Batailley, Ch. Haut-Bages Libéral.
Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.
In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and Australia.
Neal Martin - 30/06/2017
Tasted 17 Feb: Lighter on nose than Armailhac. Tea-leaves freshness – more attenuated than Armailhac. Very crude and raw. Very, very young! The last vat finished its malolactic only very recently apparently. Will settle down. Tasted 8 Apr: Mid purplish crimson. Serious dry tobacco/leather spectrum notes on the nose. And then ripe black fruits. Really quite sweet and opulent on the palate. Those Cabernets seem just a tiny bit struggling up the hill to full ripeness... Bone-dry finish.
Tasted blind 8 Apr: Mid crimson. Pale rim. Very ripe nose. Very thick, ripe and dramatic. Loose and a bit formless with a dry finish. There’s a little tart note in there which some people might find a bit much. Drying finish. Fades rather fast. But overall there is succulence. It is clear that a lot of work has gone into this.
Jancis Robinson MW- jancis robinson.com, Apr 2011
James Molesworth – The Wine Spectator – Top Scoring Bordeaux 2010 – 31 Mar 2011
Robert Parker- Wine Advocate- Feb 2013
The powerful 2010 is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc and the balance mostly Merlot except for dollops of Petit Verdot and Carmenere that achieved 14.5% natural alcohol – a record at Clerc Milon. An intense purple color is followed by notes of incense, creme de cassis and flowers and a broad, rich wine with superb purity, concentration and depth. This layered, expansive effort could turn out to be one of the finest this estate has ever made. Give it 3-5 years of cellaring and drink it over the following two decades.
Robert Parker- Wine Advocate- May 2011
Steven Spurrier – Decanter – Apr 2011