I’m having a whale of a time drinking many of my 2000 Bordeaux. There will always be people telling you to wait another couple of decades, to which I say “Bah, humbug !”. Of course, the very top wines may need that much time. But many, many wines of less exalted lineage are fine just now.
To wit, this 2000 Clerc Milon (40 hectares), a 5th growth from the Mouton Rothschild stable. I’ve always liked Clerc Milon and agree with conventional views that it is one notch above its brother, another 5th growth Pauillac, Ch. d’Armailhac (70 hectares), with which it is inevitably compared. This is reflected in the prices of the respective wines.
I visited the new Clerc Milon cellar last year. It is built in a resolutely modern style on a rise directly overlooking Ch. Lafite Rothschild.
Apparently, a new cellar is also planned for d’Armailhac in the near future.
Back to the wine… 2000 Clerc Milon has a medium-deep colour and a bricking rim, looking slightly older than its age. The wine leaves thick legs on the glass. By the way, there is a common misconception that this is due to glycerine. However, I can remember a tasting tutored by the late Professor Emily Peynaud in which he said that this is incorrect: it is due to alcohol.
The nose is not very pronounced. It is a little dusty with subtle hints of raisins and black fruit jelly.
The wine is more interesting on the palate. It starts our round, then dips, and comes back with an assertive velvety tannic texture. It is warming, a little dry, and has a strong finish that even displays a little alcoholic hotness. The flavors include ethereal cherry-vanilla nuances and even some menthol/eucalyptus notes. The aftertaste is what makes this wine worthwhile. The textured tannin and grip also show that, although it has definitely entering its drinking window, it will stay on its plateau for a long time. In the galaxy of Médoc great growths this wine is middle of the road. But that’s still saying a great deal, and it is unquestionably a good, solid Pauillac.