Chateau Clerc Milon (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2005
Blend: 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot, 1% Carmenere
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Chateau Clerc Milon, classified as a Fifth Growth in 1855, consists of 79 acres of vines, planted with the typical varieties of the region: 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot and 1% Carmenère. Adjoining two Pauillac First Growths, Lafite and Mouton, the estate had become somewhat neglected when it was bought by Baron Phillipe de Rothschild.
Convinced of the wine’s potential, Baron Philippe considered that Château Clerc Milon deserved a “rightful place” alongside the family’s two other wines, Chateau Mouton Rothschild and Chateau d'Armailhac. He acquired the estate in 1970 and embarked on a meticulous renovation of the vineyard, drawing on the remarkable skills of the technical staff at Mouton, while reconstituting the estate by gradually buying up the parcels dispersed over the years from their countless owners.
Vines were replanted by staff from Chateau Mouton Rothschild, parcels were consolidated and many technical improvements were made, including the building of a new vat room. To renew the wine’s image and identity, he successively illustrated the Château Clerc Milon label with two decorative works by 17th and 18th century German goldsmiths taken from the Museum of Wine in Art at Chateau Mouton Rothschild: a Jungfraubecher, a silver-gilt marriage cup, until the 1982 vintage, then a pair of dancers made of precious stones. These efforts are now bearing fruit and Chateau Clerc Milon has become one of the most sought-after Médoc wines, displaying a richness and depth comparable with the region's finest.
The leader on the Left Bank in number of first growth classified producers within its boundaries, Pauillac has more than any of the other appellations, at three of the five. Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Mouton Rothschild border St. Estephe on its northern end and Chateau Latour is at Pauillac’s southern end, bordering St. Julien.
While the first growths are certainly some of the better producers of the Left Bank, today they often compete with some of the “lower ranked” producers (second, third, fourth, fifth growth) in quality and value. The Left Bank of Bordeaux subscribes to an arguably outdated method of classification that goes back to 1855. The finest chateaux in that year were judged on the basis of reputation and trading price; changes in rank since then have been miniscule at best. Today producers such as Chateau Pontet-Canet, Chateau Grand Puy-Lacoste, Chateau Lynch-Bages, among others (all fifth growth) offer some of the most outstanding wines in all of Bordeaux.
Defining characteristics of fine wines from Pauillac (i.e. Cabernet-based Bordeaux Blends) include inky and juicy blackcurrant, cedar or cigar box and plush or chalky tannins.
Layers of gravel in the Pauillac region are key to its wines’ character and quality. The layers offer excellent drainage in the relatively flat topography of the region allowing water to run off into “jalles” or streams, which subsequently flow off into the Gironde.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.