Interim End of November 2018, The Wine Advocate
The Cabernet Franc was fantastic this year, so it was all used in the grand vin. The final blend is 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Carménère. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Clerc Milon leaps from the glass with beautiful scents of chocolate-covered cherries, plum preserves and crushed blackcurrants with suggestions of lilacs, cardamom, underbrush and unsmoked cigars. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has a firm frame of finely grained tannins and seamless freshness lifting the perfumed fruit to a nice long finish.
Mouton’s congenial managing director, Philippe Dhalluin, was unfortunately in Napa while I was in Bordeaux in October, so I was hosted by Eric Tourbier—Mouton’s technical director—and Clerc-Milon’s winemaker, Jean-Emmanuel Danjoy. While discussing the particularly abundant range of aroma/flavor compounds I was perceiving in the 2016 reds, Danjoy commented, “When you have a wet spring, you tend to have more aromatic precursors. Also, it was a long maturation period. The vine made a lot of aromatic components. The gap between the Merlot and the Cabernet Sauvignon for ripening was very long. In fact, Cabernet was very late this year. We didn’t know if the Cabernet Sauvignon was going to make it! The big surprise for us was the Cabernet Franc—all of it was delicious. We used it all in the grand vin at Clerc Milon.”
230, The Wine Advocate
The 2016 Clerc Milon is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Carmenere (the latter vinification intégrale, so that it includes 50% of the stems, and Philippe Dhalluin said he was pleased with the results). It has a very pure bouquet, a mixture of red and black fruit, a touch of cedar and ash in the background. It takes time to really unfold in the glass. The palate is adorable: svelte tannin, beautifully pitched acidity, great depth with a silky smooth finish that just caresses the mouth. There is a little tightness here compared to the more expressive 2016 d’Armailhac, but I have no doubt that it will turn into a top-flight Clerc-Milon.