Château Clerc Milon
Address: BP 117 – 33250 Pauillac
Telephone: +33 (0)5 56 73 20 20
A fifth growth now in the Mouton stable Château Clerc Milon produces wine with a lovely pure blackcurrant fruit and is very well made. The wine firm with obvious structure, but less immediately appealing than d’Armailhac its stable mate, also owned and made by the Mouton people. Lying adjacent to first growths Mouton-Rothschild and Lafite-Rothschild Clerc Milon has the sort of terrior that most winemakers would give their proverbial right arm for. In this respect given the example of Château Pontet-Canet nearby you wonder whether you might be reasonable to expect even a bit more here from Clerc Milon today, especially given the winemaking talent of Philipe Dhalluin and his team? This is not to say the wine is languishing in quality, far from it, but you just wonder it could potentially attain more. That said 2009 and 2010 here are terrific and the 2016 looks exceptional.
Vineyard/Terroir: 44 hectares on sandy clay soils with deep gravel as well as with soils with a higher percentage of clay planted with 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Carmenere.
Winemaking/Elévage: Traditional with 30% new oak each year
- 2016 Deep and bold colour; dense; earthy purple at edge; lovely cassis notes; strong blackcurrant aromatics and black cherry notes; emphasis on the purity of the fruit; lovely expression; excellent aromas; has plenty of flesh on the palate but very supple tannins; nicely handled and extracted; there is oak influence but very well integrated sample; good depth and life; nicely vibrant notes; good acidity and extract on the finish. Very nicely done. Will be a beauty. [55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, 1% Carménère.] Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2024-2040. 94-96+
- 2015 Glossy look; healthy; purple edge; ripe Cabernet aromatics; fuller and fatter than d’Armailhac on the day [and than at Mouton the previous day]; singular seam of blackcurrant fruit here; cassis and even some wine gum notes; fresh palate but also full with very good depth of fruit; plenty of flesh here this vintage; creamy fruit tones; again harmonious quality here. Excellent length. [51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot, 1% Carmenère.] Drink 2024-2035. Tasted 5/4/16 UGCB. 92-94 [Earlier note] Mid depth; fresh looking; nice cassis and blackcurrant tones; spices; some wine gum notes; layered; classical Clerc Milon on the palate; a little stern at this stage but should be good. Tasted 4/4/16 at Mouton. Drink 2024-2032. 90-92
- 2014 Deep and concentrated; vibrant edge; blackcurrant and cassis; some wet rock; nice purity; attractive cool blackcurrant tones; some pretty perfume at edge; Cabernets feel dominant in the blend; spices and blackcurrants on the palate; extract and matter; some chew and more material evident than on d’Armailhac; still more closed but fraction more fruit on display on the day. [58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, 29% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdit, 1% Carmenere]. Drink 2022-2030. Tasted at Mouton 30 March, 2015. 90-92+ [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; some cake spices; wet rocks and minerality; tight; palate also a little tight and sappy; fraction hardness; blackcurrant fruit emerges but the wine is tight and shows elevated acidity leaving it finish chewy at present. Tighter and more closed than at Mouton earlier in the week. Drink 2020-2030. Tasted UGC 2 April, 2015. 87-89
- 2013 Vibrant purple; glossy and healthy looking; nice blackcurrant fruit on the nose; cassis; feels fuller than d’Armailhac; oak and fruit on the palate; little compact but has structure; blackcurrants, some wood; lacks a bit of concentration at the back; should fill out. [58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, 1% Carmenere]. Drink 2018-2027. 87-89+ [Second note] Glossy look; purple at edge; fresh blackcurrants aromas; some plum too; sweet entry, some oak but pure; grippy but there is texture here; perhaps a fraction stretched at the end? Should fill out. Tasted UGC 1/4/14. 87-88 [Third note] Mid depth; cassis and menthol hints; blackcurrant tones also; softer entry and fruit here; glossier than sibling d’Armailhac; no dryness; elegant for sure and perhaps a little boney at the end. Tasted UGC 3/4/14. Drink 2018-2028. 86-88
- 2012 Mid depth; solid notes; chalky/wet rock; blackcurrants and cherry fruit tones on the palate with a salty/saline note; structure and acidity; a minerally Clerc Milon that needs a bit of time and that is currently lacking in expression. 2017-2025. 87+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Mid depth; pretty, some perfume and blackcurrant cassis; blackcurrant fruit on the palate but a little hardness; fresh but a little angular on the finish. Tasted UGC Thursday April 11, 2013 87-88+ [Earlier] Glossy and dark; ripe pure blackcurrant and cassis; some wet rock; elegant palate; blackcurrants; fruit here more plushness on this sample than at the UGC. Nice length. Good and pure. Tasted at Mouton, Tuesday April 9, 2013. 90-92 [Earlier at UGC] Mid depth; perfume, rose petal; blackcurrant; some lift; similar tones on the palate; bit chewy on the finish. Lean. Tasted UGC Tuesday April 9, 2013. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot, 1% Carmenere. 87-88
- 2011 Saturated but vibrant at edge; more stone fruit, some plum; some Cab freshness too; as always feels a bit leaner on the nose than d’Armailhac; purity though to the fruit – blackcurrant with a black cherry edge; blackcurrants and cassis on the palate; some spice but purity again; cooler and fresher even than d’Armailhac. Nimble and not over-extracted. Very refined and polished. Feels fresh. 91-92+ Tasted at Mouton 3/4/12 [Second note] Deep at core; vibrant edge; stone fruit, blackcurrant, some plum; fresh again, some stalkiness as before; blackcurrants; quite structured palate with acid; tannin very nicely handled. Will settle well. Cool. Some twist at the end. Tasted 3/4/12 and 5/4/12 at UGC. 91-92+
- 2010 Mid depth; deep at the core; clear and slightly higher toned Cabernet style; clean, blackcurrant cassis; purity; density on the palate with some freshness; moreish palate; spices and blackcurrant tones dominate the palate; genuine length. Purity here. Linear and pure. Drink 2016-2035. 94+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and dense; glossy again; creamier, more pure blackcurrant; nice pure seam of fruit; classic palate; pure and textured with depth but also acid and grip and tannin. Lots of structure. Chewy and dense finish. Long term but very promising. 93+ UGCB Nov ’12 [Earlier note] Very deep and intense; fresh looking; little more evocative than the d’Armailhac – very pure, very fresh tasting; fresh blackcurrants again; summer fruit pudding; good structure, acid and tannin here; bit less evolved on the palate than on the nose; feels leaner and meaner but good chew and density and good length on the finish suggests more than enough fruit is here. Excellent length in fact 90-92+/100 Tasted 4 April at Mouton. [Second tasting] Deep core, legs, purple rim; ripe blackcurrant nose; cassis, some grip, leaf and density on the palate; feels that it’s quite infant; tannin and acid very present and lots of material; sample a trifle disjointed; Good length and grip on the finish. 90-92 Tasted 5 April 2011 UGCB [Third tasting] Deep and saturated; some summer fruit pudding; ripe and rich; deep and attractive; dense blackcurrant, quite grippy and fresh. Good length. Very good. 90-92/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 UGCB
- 2009 Deep and fresh looking; vibrant in the glass; blackcurrants, ripe fruit tones and wonderful freshness – real purity here; very clean blackcurrant fruit on the palate with great purity; needs time. Junior Mouton. Drink 2019-2030. 94+ MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Mid depth; red at edge; purer and less meaty than d’Armailhac; lovely cassis and blackcurrant purity; this is quite excellent; nice oak well integrated; junior Mouton; lots of cassis and depth. Big palate, lots of power but cool and fresh blackcurrants; layered and excellent; great length too and certainly up a few notches from its primeur showing. 95/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier note] 2009 Bright and clear, deep, purple at edge; very fresh and clean nose; cassis and blackcurrants; very pure and polished nose; blackcurrants on palate; slightly more drying tannins on palate; not quite the sweetness of the tannins of the Super Seconds but good concentration. More polished than the Grand Puy Ducasse but harder than d’Armailhac. 90+/100 Tasted 30th March & 1st April ’10 UGU Primeur tastings and at Mouton 1st April ’10.
- 2008 Dense, more serious looking than d’Armailhac. Colour tight to edge. Quite high toned Cabernet; fresh; some earth; purity here; quite grippy palate with some chew. Pretty chewy finish. 88+ MW Institute Nov ‘12
- 2007 Mid depth, some red; blackcurrant and minerals; quite tight but feels polished; fresh blackcurrants on the palate; quite angular and boney but with density. Quite structured and rather angular tannins but otherwise pretty correct and feels fresh. 87/100 MW Institute Nov ’11 [Earlier note] 2007 Mid red; little dumb; some spice and blackcurrant; palate a bit closed and mean; blackcurrants but quite dry and tannic. Tannins dry. Bit narrow. 84- 85?/100 Oct ’09 UGC London tastings.
- 2006 Better depth, mid red; again some of that cider apple element but more stoney and mineral note; could this be ripe plums I’m confusing it with? Quite reserved and a bit dumb; palate quite hard and unyielding, yes blackcurrants and some spice; lots of structure and acid and firm on the palate. Good length but lacks flesh. Tannins ripe. Should show more eventually. 88/100 MW Institute Nov ‘10
- 1994 Dark; sweet oak and ripe fruit with concentration; structured and tannic palate. Tannins a little dry. 87/100 Barrel sample tasted at Mouton November ‘95