Château Duhart-Milon 2017
Château Duhart-Milon is the only Fourth Growth property in the Pauillac AOC. It is an estate that lovers of the First Growth, Château Lafite Rothschild, should know. Not only is it a mere 7-minute drive away from Château Lafite Rothschild, but the two are considered sister properties with the same winemaking team. Like Lafite, the estate is owned by Domains de Barons de Rothschild. Château Duhart-Milon is home to some truly phenomenal terroir of gravel, limestone, and clay. When asked why he purchased the property, the Baron put it plainly: “It would have been nonsense not to acquire such a great neighboring vineyard.”
Château Duhart-Milon has a very interesting and circuitous history. The property was initially the Second Wine for Lafite Rothschild when the Marquis de Alexandre Segur, or “The Wine Prince,” was running Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Latour, Château Mouton Rothschild and Château Calon Segur. The Marquis saw the potential of Château Duhart-Milon, and in the 19th Century, the wines were already held in great esteem. It was considered a cru vineyard in the making. Château Duhart-Milon received part of its name from Sir Duhart, who was rumored to have been a pirate and gunrunner for King Louis XV. When he was done pillaging the high seas, he decided to retire in Pauillac in a little dwelling that was near the port. The dwelling was called the “pirate’s house” and was eventually torn down in the 1950s. Yet the building’s legacy lives on – it’s on the label for the grand vin of Château Duhart-Milon.
Château Duhart-Milon was classified as a Fourth Growth in 1855, and then it was owned by the Castéja family. The Castéja family was very well known throughout Bordeaux, and they currently oversee the illustrious Château Trotte Vielle. Right before World War II, disaster seemed to stalk Château Duhart-Milon. Frosts ravaged its vineyards. It changed hands at least five times during the 1950s and 1960s, and out of the massive 110 hectares of land, only 17 hectares were left planted with vines by the time Baron Eric de Rothschild acquired the estate. The Rothschilds almost doubled the size of the vineyards at the property, restoring the Fourth Growth to its former glory.
Château Duhart-Milon is a rare estate because it is one of the few properties in Pauillac without an actual château. Instead, it hosts vat rooms, barrel storage, and, of course, the stars of the show – the vines. The vineyards are planted with 76 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot; the vines are about 30 years old on average. Like its sister estate, Lafite, the same cooperage makes the barrels on the property. Charles Chevalier is the director of winemaking, and each plot at Château Duhart-Milon is isolated and judged separately based on quality. The grapes are harvested and fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats. The wines of Château Duhart-Milon are powerful, like many Pauillacs. They require a bit of time for their aromas to unfold, and younger vintages can be decanted if need be.
"The 2017 Duhart-Milon has really come together nicely with élevage. Dark and generous in the glass, the 2017 possesses terrific depth and tons of sheer appeal. Sweet tobacco, cedar, licorice, tobacco and grilled herbs add tons of Cabernet savoriness that beautifully complements the ripe dark cherry and plum fruit. The 2017 is such a gorgeous wine." - Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, (March, 2020), Rating: 91, Drink: 2022-2037
"A blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon and 24% Merlot, the 2017 Duhart-Milon is beautifully scented of crushed red and black currants, black raspberries and spice cake with suggestions of lavender, cloves and rose hip tea. The palate is medium-bodied, very soft and elegant with seamless freshness and a lingering spiciness on the finish." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate (4/27/2018, Issue 236), Ratings: 89-91
"The 2017 Chateau Duhart-Milon is terrific, offering tons of Pauillac character in its smoked tobacco, blackcurrant, new leather, and spicy, earthy aromas and flavors. Rich, medium to full-bodied, and beautifully textured, it has the forward, elegant, classic style of the vintage and will continue drinking beautifully for 20-25 years or more. It’s a hidden gem in the vintage I’d be thrilled to have in the cellar." Jeb Dunnuck, 2017 Bordeaux From Bottle (2/26/2020) Rating: 92