'95 Clerc Milon -- Going Somewhere?

Had been sitting on a six pack and decided to sample one over the weekend. The Clerc was one of the more highly regarded offerings from '95 (i.e., WS 95 pts).

Had to give it an hour before I could even begin to sort things out. Concentration, structure and finish were there, but the flavor profile seemed off. Smoke, coffee and some dill, but little fruit or complexity. It seems to have the tannins to sit longer, so I'm glad to wait for better days if they're in the cards. Would be equally happy to hear that bottle variation may be to blame. If you've had recent experience with the '95 Clerc or useful insight regarding '95 Bordeaux in general (see accompanying post), I would appreciate the input.
Original Post
I wouldn't be too concerned. I had this wine approximately 18 months ago in a Bordeaux-focused blind tasting I hosted for 10 of my friends. It was the clear winner among a respectable set of grand crus that included 1997 Lafite Rothschild, 1995 Lafon Rochet & others I don't remeber. Unlike what you describe, the wine had a lot of fruit and complexity.

It may be that you had an off bottle, as it is highly unlikely such a young wine would be in decline after only 7 years of age. My experience with Clerc Milon is that it is drinkable soon after release and rarely enters into a dumb phase.

I have another 7 bottles in my EuroCave at 55 degrees waiting to be consumed. I strongly recommend this wine, although the 95 WS pts may be a stretch by 2-3 points.

big grin
Pelochain, thanks for your thoughtful input. If you happen to sample another of your '95s, I would be interested to see if your reaction is the same. I too recall having a bottle around 18 months ago. I remember it being much better then than the bottle I had this past weekend. In any event, I have several more, so I plan to investigate again in another year or two.
I had this last night with leg of lamb in a garlic rosemary and citrus rub. The idea was to see what went better with lamb, CDP or Bordeaux.

I decanted about 40 minutes before we ate. The Clerc Milon was all structure, tannin and acid. In your face bracing and powerful, with mineral, smoke and hints of fruit. It never opened up. Not even the last sip 3 hours later gave a hint of letting up.

Conclusions for me - 1995's are monsters, like the 1986's. I'll probably try my next Clerc Milon around 2010-2012. The bigger wines I have Cos, Mouton, Lafite - will be drinking well in 2020+. The 2000's I have, which should be similiar to the 1995's, will be enjoyed by my nephews when I'm drinking prune juice 30-40 years from now.

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Santa Cruz Mountains Vintage Chart
I have a magnum of the 1995 Clerc Milon and thought it might be good to hold it till 2010/2012.

I've felt that 1995 was an overhyped good vintage, but not as good as the Chateaux would have us believe. 1995 was the year the Bordelais first spiked the prices of their wines..... Frown
Nothing wrong with trying one of these or any of the '95s, I suppose, but there's no good reason to expect that they'll offer anything special before they reach at least 10 or 15 years of age.

Just my 2 oz. ...

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Give me a fast connection and a bottle of Geyserville and I'm out of here!
well I can think of three good reasons.....

First I buy Clerc Milon and d'Armailhac for just such testing. I prefer to check in on those wines rather than my Cos d'Estournel, Mouton or Lafite. Better to do your testing cheap.

I read critics, but I don't really 'trust' them. It's better to have your own opinions, own experiences and own judgements. I hate sheep.

Second was I've had this thread in mind for a year and a half or so. I have never met Pelochain, but I've heard fantastic things about him from two gentlemen I respect a great deal who have; Otisabdul and Gusbo. His comment seemed odd to me, not what I would expect from a 95. But rather than questioning that without experience I figured I'd wait until I had a chance to comment from an educated and experienced point of view.

We should all do more of that. There is an unbelievable amount of uniformed bickering that goes on here. People questioning other peoples notes and motives, without their own notes to back it up. Before questioning Pelochain's note, I felt I owed it to him as a gentleman to speak from my own experience.

Finally, we entertained very good friends on Sunday night. They had just had the 2000 Clerc Milon at a tasting and were very excited about it. The first Clerc they had ever had. I thought it a wonderful chance to share a similiar wine - 5 years older - too help them on their way of learning and loving wine.

And that's the real reason. Wine should be about the moment, the event, the friends, the learning, the food and the friendship. I'm often bothered here that we put wine in the front seat when it should be coming along for the ride. Wine is a part of life, not the driving factor. Relax, enjoy it, it's just wine. Focus on your friends, your guests, and your family and let the wine follow along.

(PS Geo t. that wasn't really directed at you, just stuff I've wanted to say and this was the right time and right thread Wink )

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Santa Cruz Mountains Vintage Chart
quote:
Wine should be about the moment, the event, the friends, the learning, the food and the friendship. I'm often bothered here that we put wine in the front seat when it should be coming along for the ride. Wine is a part of life, not the driving factor. Relax, enjoy it, it's just wine. Focus on your friends, your guests, and your family and let the wine follow along.



tlily
Extremely well put! Cool

BTW, your Sharks are takin' on Vitis' Avs...do I sense a bet coming on...
Wink

I offer sound advice.
That's 99% sound and 1% advice
Riddler, Tlily, I had the 95 twice in the last year and both time I had the same experience you encountered - Tannins, acid, concentration but not a really enjoyable wine right now. I would rate it 85 pts but hopefully it will come around. I have had the same experience with every 95 I've bought and frankly, right now, I'm more a fan of the 97 vintage than the 95. I have had only one bottle of 95 I've liked in the last 4-5 years and it was the Roc de Cambes. everything else is concentrated but does not show much fruit. I hope it comes around. The 96 are drinking really nice right now and I wish I had spent more money on that vintage than the 95. Unfortunately, I did the opposite.
By the way, I have had all of the Clerc Milons between 1994 and 1999 and 1995 is by far the most disappointing. I like the wine, but I think that the critics missed the boat with 1995, not only for Clerc Milon but for the entire vintage.
TN: 95 Clerc Milon

Not much of a Bordeaux drinker/critic but found this quite appealing. Very dark ruby in color with little sediment. The nose is a wonderful mix of cherries, tobacco, and cedar. The palate is dominated by blackberries/dark fruit with a trace of liquorish. The finish begins with the drying tannins I have found before in Bordeaux, but then the tannins turn sweet and the finish lingers nicely. CN93

CabNut
Slick I drank the 89' last week in a tasting of 89' Bordeaux I put together for my wine group. The wine was fantastic. Medium body. terrific complexity and structure. Finished 3rd behind Pichon Baron and Domine de Chavalier. I would not hesitate to open now.
Latour67, nice post. The reason I picked the three '95ers for our offline (see link above) were the WS drinking window: Clerc Milon : best after '01; Haut-Bailly: best after '01; La Tour Martillac: best from 2001 through 2006. All three bottles came from the SAME cellar (where they had stayed since release)...yet, the HB was fully mature, while the CM was a baby.
StevieCage I am surprised that the Haut Bailly was fully mature, but not so surprised about the C/M...Parker rated the HB 90 points with a window of 2000--2018. I would have opened the HB 2010, but I prefer my Bordeaux aged. Still, I'm sure it made for a great comparison and that is how to learn!

I have some 1994 Pontet Canet that is resting till 2007, but it could be 2012! Parker rated it 93 points, but it is so backward, I doubt that it will be ready till 2012 or after!
Good luck on your Clerc Milon's. I started buying them in the 1985 and continued thru up to the 1995. In 1997 I still was having trouble being able to appreciate the 1985 and 1986 - had to give plenty of time to breath, decanting, then knew that they still had another few years before they would be ready. For me, I said, I do not want to purchase any more wines that will take 20 years to come around and that is where I think most of the Clerc Milons will begin to get real maturity. Not for my two bucks.

Again, to all of you fans, good luck and I hope you are still in your 30's.
That was mostly the 'Evil'. Peer liked the bottle and asked me to dump out the wine and fill it with something better Smile

Not exactly an overly formal group we have.

Going through my cellar I was suprised how little wine I have from Pauillac, St Julien and Margaux. Most of my Bordeaux is St Estephe, Pessec, St Emilion, or Pomorol. I guess I'm more of a Merlot kind of guy.

I think this latest poor showing has me convinced to bundle off my 1995's and use the proceeds on 01's and 03's.
quote:
Originally posted by Stefania Wine:
The surprise miss of the night was the Lewis 'Mason' Cabernet, which got 94 WS points I think. I dumped out 80% of it the next day, no one tried it.


didn't get a chance at the cgv..
but the lewis was flabby inky and disjointed if i recall ... (unless this was a bottle that was opened after I was drinking port, in which case, I take it back and say I've never tried it)
  • 1995 Château Clerc Milon - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac (2/13/2011)
    Decanted for around an hour at home and then poured back into the bottle and decanted a further hour and a half at the Restaurant Didier in Toronto. Nose showed notes of red licorice, red cherry, cigar smoke, truffle and lots of sweet cedar. In the mouth, lots of red fruits, sweet tannins that were mostly resolved, and very nice acidity. Very, very nice showing from this wine. Drink now to 2015. (93 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker
I had a comparative tasting with the 1995 and the 2000 Clerc Milon a few months ago. Both were great, and the 2000 was better by just a hair, but the 1995 was very good. Maybe these were sleeping when people tried them years ago, but they are starting to wake up now. I'm looking forward to see where they go over the next 10 years.

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