En Primeur Releases: 8 June 2021
8 June 2021
2020 Clerc Milon
The 2020 Clerc Milon really shows how this estate is starting to stand on its own, quite distinct from its stable-mates. It has been released this morning at GBP 690.
When we tasted the wine at Waddesdon Manor late last month, it was showing its more silky, seductive side, layered with fabulous aromatics taking you through ripe red and black fruits, black tea, tapenade and into fresh herbs, crushed rocks and warm gravel. Next to the more notably structured D’Armailhac it felt plush and polished and yet it had fantastic tension and energy derived from its fine, almost minty-fresh tannins. This is a long-term Clerc Milon that reminded me of the 2010 more than the 2016, but it is definitely close in quality to both; it also clearly has the stuffing and balance to live a long and happy life.
Lisa Perrotti-Brown praises its “fantastic tension and impressively ripe, fine grained tannins” and Jeb Dunnuck opines that “This beautifully layered, pure wine shows the style of the vintage nicely.”
Indeed this 2020 follows the brilliant performance put in during 2018 and 2019, certainly completing the trio. Benefiting from all the skills of the vineyard and winemaking team at Mouton, and, being blessed with exceptional terroir bordering both Mouton and Lafite, this wine delivers fantastic Cru Classé Pauillac quality and character at a fraction of the price of its more famous sibling (and near-neighbours!).
Clerc Milon 2020
94-96pts Jeff Leve “With a floral, spicy, tobacco leaf, currant and chocolate filled perfume, the wine is elegant, fresh, supple and silky. There is a beautiful sweetness to the currants, cherries and plums in the mouth. The sensation of the Merlot comes through the blend more than usual as you find a touch of dark chocolate gently coating your palate in the finish, adding length, texture and complexity. This is so good now. But it is going to be even better with 7-9 years of age. The wine blends 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, 13.3% ABV.”
94pts Jane Anson “Powerful, a little austere with tight black fruits that will benefit from adding flesh over ageing, as the tannins are a little angular right now. The freshly crushed mint leaf finish is beautiful, and this is is ripped with powerful nuanced fruit, tobacco and earthy flavours, followed by waves of violet flowers. Good quality, not as exuberant as some years of Clerc Milon. First year of Caroline Artaud to oversee the entire vintage, as Jean-Philippe Danjoy has headed over to Mouton. 2% Petit Verdot completes the blend. 50% new oak. There is also 0.6% of Carmanère in the blend.”
92-94pts LPB, robertparker.com “The 2020 Clerc Milon - a blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot with just a splash of Carmenere - has a deep garnet-purple color, opening 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. The medium-bodied palate delivers fantastic tension and impressively ripe, fine-grained tannins to support the crunchy, energetic black fruit flavors, finishing with a lively herbal lift.”
93-95pts Jeb Dunnuck “The top wine 2020 Château Clerc Milon checks in as 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, and the balance Petit Verdot and Carmenère, and it's another beauty, offering both richness and elegance. Ripe currants, cassis, damp earth, graphite, and crushed stone-like minerality define the bouquet, and it's medium to full-bodied, with a more focused, pure texture, plenty of expansive richness on the mid-palate, and ripe, building tannins. This beautifully layered, pure wine shows the style of the vintage nicely.”
BP 690 per case/12 IB
Other formats are available:
Halves – GBP 710 per case/24 IB
Magnums – GBP 700 per case/6 IB
Double magnums – GBP 780 per case/3 IB
Imperials – GBP 505 each IB
Chateau Cantenac Brown
“What I like most about the 2020 is the way it balances fruit intensity with vibrancy and energy. Cantenac Brown is shaping up to be one of the wines of the vintage.” Antonio Galloni
It has been a while since Cantenac Brown has been on our radar – but their 2020, released today at GBP 412, is simply too good to ignore. So here’s a rapid run-down for the uninitiated:
Chateau Cantenac Brown is located on the south-western side of the Margaux appellation, bordering Rauzan Segla on a vineyard area referred to as the Cantenac Plateau. The chateau itself must be unique in the Bordeaux region in that it was designed in the style of a Tudor mansion, by its one-time Scots owner, at the start of the 19th century! The estate has been through multiple ownerships, including AXA Millesimes (owners of Pichon Baron), but in the past couple of years it was sold to the owners of a large pharmaceutical business – who have not hesitated to invest. In addition to rapidly overhauling the winery, they have put serious time and effort into the vineyards and the surrounding area, creating a stunning natural habitat all the better to attract more pollinating insects and generate wider biodiversity.
“This is a sophisticated and quite cerebral Margaux... Highly recommended.” Neal Martin
Margaux is one of the best-performing regions in 2020 – “this year when Margaux hits the sweet spot, it is very sweet indeed… a cluster of beautifully balanced Margaux with trademark floral aromatics, silky textures and sensual, almost lacy finishes.” (Neal Martin) – and Cantenac Brown has continued its run from 2018 and 2019, making a mockery of its earlier ‘lowly’ ratings.
Given the quality/price ratio and exceptional ratings we expect this to sell very fast so please do let us know your requirements as swiftly as possible…
Cantenac Brown 2020
94-96pts Neal Martin, vinous “The 2020 Cantenac Brown, cropped at 36hl/ha, has quite a precocious bouquet of macerated small black cherries, blueberry, touches of cassis and violet, all very generous and seductive in style. The palate is beautifully balanced and extremely pure, offering succulent ripe tannins, perfectly judged acidity and layers of blueberry, Dorset plum, crushed stone and light graphite notes toward the finish, which has just the right amount of salinity. This is a sophisticated and quite cerebral Margaux in a series of excellent recent releases from the estate. Highly recommended.”
94-97pts Antonio Galloni, vinous “The 2020 Cantenac Brown is an outrageously beautiful wine. Ample, vertical and soaring in its intensity, the 2020 is shaping up to be a jewel of a wine. Punchy red berry fruit, lavender, spice, mint and rose petal abound. What I like most about the 2020 is the way it balances fruit intensity with vibrancy and energy. Cantenac Brown is shaping up to be one of the wines of the vintage.”
96-97pts James Suckling “Fantastic depth of fruit with layers of firm, chewy tannins that are medium-grained and long in the mouth. Full and dynamic. One of the best ever.”
94-96pts Jeff Leve “Inky in color, the wine hits all the right notes with its floral, camphor, blackberry, incense, espresso and black currant aromatics. There is serious intensity here with layers of ripe, sweet, dark fruits, toasty oak and polished tannins on the mid-palate and in the finish. Long, and deep, give this at least 7-8 in the cellar and this is going to really start to show well.”
GBP 412 per case/12
Other formats are available:
Halves – GBP 432 per case/24 IB
Magnums – GBP 422 per case/6 IB
Double magnums – GBP 502 per case/3 IB
Imperials – GBP 320 each IB
Grand Puy Lacoste 2020
If we were forced to pick a ‘most popular Pauillac’ then surely Grand Puy Lacoste would be right up there. Their 2020 has been released at GBP 607 and with 95-97 points from Neal Martin, who calls it “a brilliant GPL”, it will once again appeal to lovers of this most gloriously traditional, vineyard-expressive Pauillac.
“Same level as the excellent 2016.” James Suckling
Under the stewardship of Francois-Xavier Borie, his family and team, Grand Puy Lacoste regularly reaches peaks of quality and vineyard expression which estates with considerably higher price tags cannot deliver. The Grand Puy Lacoste story began in the 1500s when then owners, the De Guiraud family, first planted their vines in Pauillac. The estate, via marriage, then passed through the hands of the Dejean family, and subsequently the marriage of one of the Dejean daughters into the Lacoste family gave birth to the name Grand Puy Lacoste and the Chateau that still stands today. In 1978 the Borie family acquired a 50% stake in Grand Puy Lacoste, acquiring the rest of the shares in instalments. Headed by Jean Eugene Borie, the father of the current owner, François-Xavier Borie, the Bories’ own story stretches back to the 1800s.
“A wine of vertical structure and precision, the 2020 is a total stunner. It simply dazzles from start to finish.” Antonio Galloni
Following significant investment in the vineyards, chai and Chateau, the results at ‘GPL’ have been remarkable, rarely missing a beat since the 1982 vintage. In an age of corporatisation this friendly, family-run estate has retained a strong sense of modesty in all that they do. It’s no surprise that it is unquestionably one of Bordeaux’s best-loved Chateaux.
Grand Puy Lacoste 2020
95-97pts Neal Martin, vinous “The 2020 Grand-Puy-Lacoste has a very refined, almost understated bouquet at first, but it opens in glorious fashion to offer precise blackberry and wild strawberry fruit, crushed stone and wild mint, gaining intensity at its own pace. The palate is beautifully balanced with fine-grained tannins, a keen thread of acidity, layers of intense black fruit and quite a spicy, vibrant and certainly persistent finish. This is a brilliant GPL from the Borie family.”
96-97pts James Suckling “This full-bodied red builds on the palate in a fantastic way with tight, compact tannins that grow and grow on the finish. Plenty of blackcurrant and graphite character and a flavorful finish. Same level as the excellent 2016.”
93-96pts Antonio Galloni, vinous “The 2020 Grand-Puy-Lacoste is an explosive, vibrant Pauillac. The bouquet alone is captivating. Lavender, grilled herbs, menthol, chocolate and crème de cassis all race out of the glass. A wine of vertical structure and precision, the 2020 is a total stunner. It simply dazzles from start to finish.”
94-96pts Jeff Leve “Dark garnet in hue, the wine comes alive with its aromatic display of peppery, savory cassis, cigar box, forest floor and herbs. Concentrated, ripe, round and with richness and flesh, the big, juicy gulp of chewy cassis in the endnote is exactly what I was looking for. Wait 8-9 years and enjoy it over the next 2-3 decades after that.”
GBP 607 per case/12 IB
Other formats are available:
Halves – GBP 627 per case/24 IB
Magnums – GBP 617 per case/6 IB
Double magnums – GBP 697 per case/3 IB
Imperials – GBP 450 each IB