The leading Fifth Growth Clerc Milon has released among this stunning stable this morning for £624 per case of 12, or £312 per case of six, a 15% discount to last year. Today’s release price also marks a 17% discount to the average trading price of vintages since 2005 which is £751 leaving a potential 20% upside over the next few years. It has been awarded 92-94+ points from Lisa Perrotti-Brown of The Wine Advocate and awarded 94-95 points from James Suckling, making the 2019 one of their finest ever.
We expect insatiable demand and a sell out from Clerc Milon, which sees greater interest than even d’Armailhac. It is easy to understand why given the location of the vineyard, its terroir and vintage premium.
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 north east of Pauillac.
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.
Chateau d’Armailhac has also released this morning for £372 per case of 12 bottles, or £186 per case of six, an 11% discount to the release price of the 2018. Indeed, the average trading price for vintages since 2005 is £489, so today’s release leaves around 32% on the table for those who secure an allocation. It has been awarded 91-93 points by Lisa Perrotti-Brown, which matches the score in 2019. James Suckling has awarded it 92-93 points, putting it very much in line with the quality of the 2005, 2009 and 2010. He describes it as having ‘A polished, refined red with blueberries, blackberries and some dark chocolate and spice, such as cloves and black pepper. Full-bodied, round and ripe. Crisp and fresh at the end. Juicy and delicious already. It is certainly very fine indeed.’
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, yet at a superb price point: one can purchase a 12-bottle case of d’Armailhac for the price of one bottle of Mouton Rothschild.
Baron Philippe de Rothschild bought the estate in 1933 and the 50 hectares of vineyards are planted with 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. The Cabernet Franc famously provides a wonderful fragrance; the high percentage sets it apart from Mouton’s other wines. Chateau d’Armailhac is a Fifth Growth in its own right and as one can imagine the combination of superb terroir and access to Mouton’s winemaking makes this wine an astute purchase, the value for money is fantastic.