This morning sees the release of Clerc Milon, the brilliant Fifth Growth, whose superb vineyard is sited between Lafite and Mouton Rothschild and owned by the latter. In 2020 it has released at £345 per case of six. As always it offers superb access to the majesty of Mouton Rothschild and the 2020 does not disappoint with 93-95 points from Jeb Dunnuck who says, ‘This beautifully layered, pure wine shows the style of the vintage nicely.’ Lisa Perrotti Brown of The Wine Advocate awards it 92-94 points saying it opens ‘with notes of tar, unsmoked cigars, bouquet garni and graphite, giving way to a core of ripe black and red currants, boysenberries and tree bark, plus a touch of black olives.’ Indeed in 2020 it is a blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, with a drop of Carmenere.

Chateau Clerc Milon occupies a superb location overlooking the Gironde between Lafite Rothschild and Mouton Rothschild. Its vineyards are adjacent to Duhart Milon whose name it shares in recognition of the tiny hamlet that they both occupy in the northeast of Pauillac. It is easy to understand why given the location of the vineyard, its terroir and vintage this is a perennial favourite of wines lovers across the globe.
 

Clerc MilonWAJSReleasePrice
202092-9495-96£690£690
201992-94+94-95£624£624
201893-9595£732£690
201794+95£585£640
201694+96£600£700
201593+95£480£720
20149294£324£710
201387-8990£330£740
20129293£340£840
20118893£378£740
20109394£530£840
20099394£400£850
20089091£240£790
200789n/a£250£750
20069090£220£800
200593n/a£270£895
 
The Chateau derives its name from the Clerc family who purchased the Estate following the French Revolution in 1789 and John-Bapiste Clerc owned the vineyard in 1855 when it was classified a Fifth Growth. Following decades of arguments over ownership and neglect of the vineyards, the property was purchased by Baron Philippe de Rothschild who stated that Clerc Milon deserves a ‘rightful place’ alongside Mouton Rothschild and d’Armailhac. Clerc Milon boasts enviable terroir, situated on the Mousset crest, its gravel soils over a bed of clay and limestone are similar to Mouton Rothschild’s as are its flavour profiles of concentrated dark fruits and exotic spice. Since 1970, the family have turned the fortunes of the property around by investing heavily in infrastructure and technology, including adopting renewable energy sources and building a cutting edge environmentally friendly barrel hall in 2011. The wine produced at Clerc Milon in 2018 stands face to face with its classified growth peers. It is one of the Estate’s finest ever vintages that will continue to develop over the next 30 years.
 
Also available today is another exceptional wine from the epic Rothschild stable, Chateau d’Armailhac 2020. It is released for £198 per case of 6 or £396 per case of 12. The average trading price for vintages since 2005 is £489, so today’s release leaves around 23% on the table for those who secure an allocation. Neal Martin in his Bordeaux 2020 vintage report praises this vintage of d’Armailhac as one of the best he has ever tasted: “I also want to draw readers’ attention to the superb Château d’Armailhac, one of the best I have tasted at this stage; again, much more classic and almost reserved in style compared to vintages of 15–20 years ago, classier and perhaps bearing more resemblance to the Mouton-Rothschild as the years go by.” Martin granted this release 92-94 points, concluding: “This Château d’Armailhac is a splendid wine in the making, and one of the best examples from the estate that I have tasted out of barrel.” 

 

D’ArmailhacWAJSReleasePrice
202090-9293-94£396£396
201991-9392-93£372£372
201893+95£420£420
201792+94£385£390
20169395£390£440
20159293£310£445
20148994£234£480
201385-8790£250£440
20129192£275£475
20118790£325£475
20109293£375£600
20099193£325£620
20088990£220£480
200790n/a£205£550
200690n/a£190£550
200590n/a£235£630
 
We view d’Armailhac as one of the perennial must buy wines of Pauillac. Chateau d’Armailhac was once part of the Mouton Rothschild vineyards. As such, it boasts impressively deep gravel, 20% of which is clay-limestone, and the vines have the very impressive average age of 46 years, with one fifth of the vines dating back to 1890. As such, it embodies much of Mouton Rothschild’s greatness, at a superb price point: one can purchase a 12-bottle case of d’Armailhac for the price of one bottle of Mouton Rothschild.