Located in the northern part of the Pauillac appellation, Clerc-Milon is one of eighteen Cinquièmes Crus (Fifth Growths) and faces Château Lafite Rothschild across the Route des Châteaux.
Having become increasingly fragmented through sell-offs, it was acquired in 1970 by Baron Philippe de Rothschild, of Mouton Rothschild fame, as a doup with great potential, and he immediately set about renovating the estate, constructing a new vat house and weaving his well documented magic on the châteaus imagery.
The vat house is the first in Bordeaux to claim High Environmental Quality certification. The 45-hectare vineyard is planted in 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% of Carménère, the latter consisting of vines that were planted back in 1947.
Clerc-Milon is now making the best wines in its history, beguiling, classically-styled expressions of currant, blackberry and spice, and can boast an outstanding run of recent vintages.
Climatic conditions / The vegetation cycle started very early following a mild, warm winter. Budbreak took place between 7 and 17 March depending on the variety. Changeable weather in the spring – cold weather in March and April followed by high temperatures in May – caused early but slow flowering.
Mid-flowering was observed on 21 May for the Merlot and Cabernet Franc and on 26 May for the Cabernet Sauvignon. June and July were dry; August remained dry and very hot, with several days of heatwave conditions. Veraison, like flowering, took place early but slowly; mid-veraison was observed between 3 and 11 August depending on the variety.
A long veraison period means that the grapes mature unevenly, so that bunches where veraison is too irregular must be eliminated. That having been done, the potential of the crop was exceptional. The grapes were in perfect condition, very ripe and deeply coloured. Fine weather in September meant that the harvest could take place under ideal conditions as regards both the maturity of the grapes and picking.