2023 Château Clerc Milon, Pauillac, Bordeaux

2023 Château Clerc Milon, Pauillac, Bordeaux

Product: 20231008212
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2023 Château Clerc Milon, Pauillac, Bordeaux

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Blend: 72% Cabernet Sauvignon; 19% Merlot; 6.5% Cabernet Franc; 1.5% Carmenère; 1% Petit Verdot.

Even Ch. Clerc Milon, with its well-placed Merlot on limestone, has upped the proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon this year. It edges a little closer to its sibling Ch. d’Armailhac in style, but it still retains its exuberant side. Across the Mouton stable, this is the juiciest of the 2023s, though it has plenty of grip and spicy tannin, making it slightly atypical for this estate. The black, blue and red fruits are more discernible, and the vibrant bounce of acidity leavens the finish. This is an assertive wine that will need a bit of patience.

Drink 2029 - 2050

Our score: 17/20

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Critics reviews

Jane Anson96/100

Pauillac was close to normal rainfall, with less mildew than other parts of the region, helping to usher in the excellent crop of wines that you will find in the appellation in 2023. This joins the best of them with its superb quality, and a real sense of excitement and drive. Expect vivacity and tension in the blue and black fruits, with liqourice root, squid ink, salted cracker, white pepper spice and freshly cut herbs. September 7 to 29 for harvest, 55% new oak barrels for ageing. Carmanère dating from 1947 is in this 1st wine, with the massal selection descendents in Pastourelle. Caroline Artaud director.

Drink 2030 - 2046

Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com (April 2024)

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Neal Martin, Vinous92-94/100

The 2023 Clerc Milon was picked from September 7 to 29 and is matured in 55% new oak. It has much more fruit concentration on the nose than the Pastorelle—quite precocious, with blackberry and cassis fruit. It's floral and more flamboyant than the d'Armailhac. The palate is very well balanced with a slightly creamy texture and a lovely mouthfeel. Its concentration is neatly counterbalanced by the acidity, and it feels very harmonious and long on the finish. Superb. If Mouton-Rothschild is beyond your budget—yes, I am familiar with that feeling—then this is where you should look.

Drink 2028 - 2050

Neal Martin, Vinous.com (April 2024)

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Antonio Galloni, Vinous91-93/100

The 2023 Clerc Milon is a packed with blackberry, grilled herbs, leather, incense, gravel and cloves. A dark, brooding powerhouse, the 2023 will need a few years to settle down. Today, its imposing, tannic personality is very much front and center.

Drink 2028 - 2043

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (April 2024)

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Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW92-94+/100

Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2023 Clerc Milon features flamboyant notes of blackcurrant pastilles, boysenberries, and fresh plums plus hints of licorice, lilacs, and underbrush. The medium-bodied palate is bright and breezy, with approachable fine-grained tannins and bags of freshness, finishing with a skip in its step.

The blend is 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 6.5% Cabernet Franc, 1.5% Carmenere, and 1% Petit Verdot, with pH 3.83. The alcohol is 13.5%.

Drink 2028 - 2042

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent (April 2024)

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Jancis Robinson MW16.5+/20

72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 6.5% Cabernet Franc, 1.5% Carmenère and 1% Petit Verdot. Cask sample.

Purple hue. Dense, fresh Cabernet nose. Smooth attack, ample fruit then tight and firm on the finish. Chalky freshness as well, the limestone terroir evident.

Drink 2030 - 2045

James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com (April 2024)

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Wine Advocate92-94/100

Revealing aromas of red berries, cherries and blackcurrants mingled with hints of pencil shavings and new oak, the 2023 Clerc Milon is medium to full-bodied, deep and fleshy, with a layered core of fruit, sweet velvety tannins and a seamless, succulent profile. It's a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 6.5% Cabernet Franc and the balance Carmenère and Petit Verdot.

William Kelley, Wine Advocate (April 2024)

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James Suckling95-96/100

This has a great finish, with blackcurrant, chocolate, hazelnut and salt undertones that run the length of the wine. Full-bodied and dense, and then it lifts off at the end. Chalky undertone, coming from the limestone terroir here. 72% cabernet sauvignon, 19% merlot, 6.5% cabernet franc, 1.5% carmenere and 1% petit verdot.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (April 2023)

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Jeb Dunnuck92-94/100

The 2023 Château Clerc Milon is gorgeous, with a salty, slightly bloody character in its red and black fruits, flowers, chalky mineral, and spicy oak-like aromatics. These carry to a medium to full-bodied, focused, elegant, yet beautifully concentrated red that has ripe tannins, beautiful overall balance, and outstanding length. Based on 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 6.5% Cabernet Franc, and the balance Carmenere and Petit Verdot, it’s aging in 55% new barrels and hit 13.5% alcohol and a pH of 3.83.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (May 2024)

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About this WINE

Château Clerc Milon

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.

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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.

Recommended Châteaux
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.

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Cabernet Sauvignon Blend

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.

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