Châteaux d'Armailhac, Clerc Milon & Mouton-Rothschild have released their 2019 vintage wines this morning.
With predicted perfect scores for the First Growth, (98-100 points from Lisa Perotti-Brown MW and 99-100 from James Suckling), availability and allocations will be the challenge here. We have sold out of our initial allocation to those customers who pre-ordered and we are now trying to source more in Bordeaux. If you do have interest, please let us know as soon as possible.
D'Armailhac and Clerc Milon both attract more modest scores (91-93 points for d'Armailhac and 92-95 points for Clerc Milon). We think the wines are often under-rated. Both are Pauillac fifth growths, just like Pontet-Canet and Lynch-Bages. Each year when we taste them, the familial resemblance with Mouton grows a little stronger.
We normally go out of our way to avoid talking about 'brands' when it comes to fine wine, but we can see the increasingly powerful effect of brand-thinking at the top estates. The level of investment in the vineyard and winemaking is beyond what these estates could support if they stood alone and there is clearly a steely-eyed intent to make them the equal of those more famous fifth growths, as well as narrowing the gap with Mouton.
With this background and at 20% below the 2018 release price, d'Armailhac is great value, just £30 per bottle in bond. Clerc Milon, always a clear step up, seems to us by turns to capture more of the nuances and complexity of the First Growth wine. Lisa Perotti-Brown finds notes of "tar, chargrill, tapenade and Marmite toast over an emerging core of stewed plums, black cherries and kirsch with a touch of garrigue", whilst Suckling notes the clean, linear style (94-95 pts). We feel confident in recommending these wines as solid investments for your cellar.
Finally, we should also mention 2019 Aile d'Argent, the little-known white wine from Mouton-Rothschild, from a 4 hectares vineyard on the estate. The sandy, gravelly soil is planted with Sauvignon Blanc (53%), Semillon (35%), Sauvignon Gris (11%) and Muscadelle (1%), 50% of the wine is matured in new oak barrels. James Suckling awards an impressive 97-98 points this year, describing it as "A very exotic Aile d’Argent with dried-mango, fresh-pineapple, and sliced-lemon aromas and flavors"...a slice of the Mouton estate at just £360 IB per six bottles!
Offered En Primeur, landing Spring 2022.
Florent Fresse presents the 2019 vintage at Armailhac:
|RED||2019||Château d'Armailhac||75cl||£360 per case of 12||Château d'Armailhac
2019 / / 75cl
£360 per case of 12
Tasting Notes"This year the blend is 62%Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, harvested from the 19th of September to the 9th of October. The 2019 D'Armailhac sports a medium to deep garnet-purple color and notes of warm plums, stewed cherries, mulberries and blackcurrant pastilles with touches of aniseed, wild thyme and chocolate box. The medium-bodied palate has a firm frame of fine-grained tannins and bold freshness supporting the expressive black and blue fruits, finishing with a provocative herbal lift. 91-93 points" Lisa Perotti-Brown, Robert.Parker.com "A polished, refined red with blueberries, blackberries and some dark chocolate and spice, such as cloves and black pepper. Full-bodied, round and ripe. Crisp and fresh at the end. Juicy and delicious already. 92-93 points" jamessuckling.com £The 2019 d'Armailhac was the last vintage made in the old winery that has since been demolished to make way for a new gravity-fed facility that will be equipped with 50 smaller vats tailored to the parcels in the vineyard. It will provide greater space that will permit longer élevage if desired. It is fascinating to juxtapose again its Clerc Milon stablemate. There is more amplitude on the nose, it is more forthright with blackberry, wild hedgerow, tobacco and a subtle leather aroma. It comes across less high-toned than previous vintages. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannins and slightly more mid-palate depth/grip than the Clerc Milon. The crescendo here is wonderful, fanning out towards the finish with subtle black pepper, sage and mint notes. This is a delicious d'Armailhac in the making. 92-94 points" Neal Martin, Vinous.com