2022 Château Clerc Milon, Pauillac, Bordeaux
The 2022 Clerc Milon, matured in 55% new oak with 14.6% alcohol, has a very tightly-wound nose at the moment. There's good fruit concentration, but it is missing a bit of personality, unlike its stablemate d'Armailhac. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannins and good grip. It's pretty dense and grainy in texture.
With graphite on the aftertaste, this Pauillac conveys fine tension but will require several years of aging in bottle. I feel this is hiding its virtues at the moment.
Drink 2030 - 2055
Neal Martin, Vinous.com (April 2023)
The 2022 Clerc Milon is plump, juicy and vibrant, with terrific energy and tons of class. Sumptuous black cherry, gravel, licorice, menthol and spice are beautifully dialed up in this decidedly flamboyant edition of Clerc Milon.
A sample tasted in a group setting outside the château was far fresher than the wine I tasted at the estate, evidence that much of en primeur tasting is ridiculous. A sample presented at Mouton-Rothschild was five days old and oxidized. I rated it (86-88).
Drink 2028 - 2042
Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (April 2023)
The 2022 Clerc Milon is a blend of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Carmenere. Deep garnet-purple in color, it races out with vivacious notes of fresh blackcurrants, black raspberries, and boysenberries, leading to touches of bay leaves, Indian spices, and garrigue. The full-bodied palate is packed with black fruit and savory layers, framed by firm, grainy tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long with an herbal lift. pH 3.83, TPI 74.
Drink 2026 - 2042
Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent (May 2023)
The depths are evident in the velvety texture and colour, and it stretches out through the palate with slow confidence. Plenty of grip and supple tannins that cradle the cassis and bilberry fruit, studded with olive, cocoa bean, white pepper, slate, clear spice, intense phenolics and this is excellent quality. Caroline Artaud technical director. Old vine Carmanère no doubt helps add the spice and eucalyptus edge. 63% of production in this wine, 55% new oak, 3.83ph. 37hl/h yield.
Drink 2030 - 2048
Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com (May 2023)
59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 1% Carmenère. Cask sample.
Rich and concentrated with layered fruit on the palate. Round and generous but with a chalky, minerally freshness. Tannins suave but finishes a little dry (oak not fully integrated?). Plenty of power. 14.5%.
Drink 2030 - 2045
Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com (May 2023)
The 2022 Clerc Milon is beautiful, offering up aromas of cherries, raspberries and plums mingled with hints of pencil shavings and rose petals. Medium to full-bodied, layered and concentrated, it's taut and lively, with a vibrant core of fruit framed by fine, chalky tannins. Its clay-limestone terroir lends it a distinctive signature that sets it apart from the rest of the portfolio.
William Kelley, Wine Advocate (April 2023)
Focused and bright with plenty of fruit but oranges and minerals in the mid-palate. Really fresh with a fresh bitterness.
James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (April 2023)
Fragrant, perfumed black berries and purple flowers. Smells intense and concentrated, deep, dark and rich. Bold and characterful from the first sip, supple and generous, a lovely shot of strawberry and red cherry fruit gives the tang and immediate excitement while the tannins, stoney and cool, enter and give the frame and focus for the finish. Really well made, great drive but plush at the same time, it’s silky yet well defined and also weighty and forward.
A big mouthful that is just so juicy and fun, lively, expressive, well worked and so easy. A step-up from Pastourelle. Super accessible and really enjoyable with the sweet juicy tang that I adore and stony minerality on the finish that is moreish. Immediate pleasure on offer. 12.8% press wine. 1% Carmenere completes the blend. HVE3 certified. Ageing 18 months in French oak barrels, 55% new. 3.83pH.
Drink 2028 - 2048
Georgina Hindle, Decanter (April 2023)
As to the Grand Vin 2022 Château Clerc Milon, it reminds me of the 2018 with its full-bodied, ripe, yet elegant style. Cassis, graphite, espresso roast, and lead pencil notes define the aromatics, and it has a beautiful spine of acidity, ripe tannins, and a great finish. It shows the ripe, exuberant yet structured style of the vintage beautifully.
The blend is 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Carmenère, harvested between the 9th and 26th of September, with an alcohol content of 14.5%, a pH of 3.83, and an IPT of 74. The élevage here is 55% new French oak. Tasted multiple times with consistent notes.
Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (May 2023)
About this WINE
Château Clerc Milon
Classified as a Fifth Growth in 1855, Château Clerc Milon is one of a trinity of Pauillac classified growths owned by the Baron Philippe de Rothschild family. Baron Philippe began renovation and restoration here in 1970 – work that was later championed by his daughter Baroness Philippine until her death in 2014.
Baroness Philippine’s children, Camille and Philippe Sereys de Rothschild and Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild, now continue their mother’s legacy. In recent times, the estate has flourished under the careful stewardship of Director Jean-Emmanuel Danjoy. In 2020, his role expanded to include Château Mouton Rothschild and Château d’Armailhac and the talented winemaker Caroline Artaud joined the team at Château Clerc Milon in the capacity of Director.
Château Clerc Milon’s vineyard holdings – 41 hectares – neighbour two first growths. More than half of the vines are Cabernet Sauvignon (51.5%), with the remainder being Merlot (37%), Cabernet Franc (8%), Petit Verdot (2%) and Carmenère (1.5%). The vines have an average age of 48 years. Harvesting here is done by hand.
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 Blend
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.