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Chateau Clerc Milon (Futures Pre-Sale) 2016

Bordeaux Red Blends from Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
  • WS96
  • D96
  • JS95
  • WE95
  • RP94
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Winemaker Notes

Blend: 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, 1% Carmenere

Critical Acclaim

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WS 96
Wine Spectator
Very fresh in feel, with bright cassis and cherry fruit racing along an iron edge. Shows a good sleek feel through the finish and a light tug of earth at the very end. A vivacious and delicious wine in the making.
Barrel Sample: 93-96 Points
D 96
Decanter
An estate that has been making great leaps forward over recent years, and once again we have a gorgeous Clerc on our hands. This is extremely succulent, with aromatic complexity and a freshness that just bursts out of the glass. Things start off closed for the first minute or so, then the juice comes rushing through. The mid-palate is smooth and polished but also bursting with energy. This is quite clearly one of their best ever wines, ripped through with sweet cherry and wild blackberry fruit, tightened up by slate and cedar. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Carmenere (some of the oldest plantings of this grape in Bordeaux).
Barrel Sample
JS 95
James Suckling
Refined and ultra-fine with a linear and polished character. Full-bodied, yet tight and racy. A classy and sophisticated young wine.
Barrel Sample: 94-95 Points
WE 95
Wine Enthusiast
This wine has great richness, with dense tannins that beautifully meld with intense black fruits. It's concentrated, while at the same time it has a superb, velvety texture. This will be a great wine, ready after 12–15 years.
Barrel Sample: 93-95 Points
RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The Cabernet Franc was fantastic this year, so it was all used in the grand vin. The final blend is 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Carménère. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Clerc Milon leaps from the glass with beautiful scents of chocolate-covered cherries, plum preserves and crushed blackcurrants with suggestions of lilacs, cardamom, underbrush and unsmoked cigars. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has a firm frame of finely grained tannins and seamless freshness lifting the perfumed fruit to a nice long finish.
Rating: 94+
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Chateau Clerc Milon

Chateau Clerc Milon

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Chateau Clerc Milon, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
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Château 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 in 1970.

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. 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.

Pauillac

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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.

Bordeaux Blends

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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, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

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