Wine of the Week - Chateau Duhart Milon 2010

Text: Ivy Tsang

In the early 18th century, Chateau Milon (the original name of Chateau Duhart-Milon) was the second wine of Chateau Lafite which was owned by Marquis Nicolas-Alexandre de Segur, referred as “The Wine Prince” by Louis XV. The quality of terroir need not to be doubted.

 

Between 1830-1840, the Casteja family became the owner after inheriting the vineyards from both Mandavy and the widow of Sir Duhart. The name of the winery was changed to Duhart-Milon. The label was inspired by the original house at Pauillac port which Sir Duhart settled after the retirement as privateer under Louis XV. It was recognised as the only 4th Growth in Pauillac under the 1855 Classification. It was still in the hand of the Casteja family until the first part of the 20th century, and one of the largest Pauillac estates with around 50 hectares.

 

Sadly, due to the successive inheritances, the estate was sold in 1937. It then went through 5 different owners in just 25 years and led to dramatic decline in quality. The Rothschild family purchased the estate in 1962. 110 hectares were included but then only 17 hectares were planted with vines. Major construction projects including draining, uprooting and replanting were undertaken. Building up wine making facilities, new cellars and storage was also needed desperately. With those projects and the purchase of vineyards nearby, the vineyard increased from 42 hectares to 71 hectares from 1973 to 2001. By 2008, its quality, price and market status were restored.

 

Duhart-Milon is one of the few 1855 Classified Growths which has only two main Bordeaux grape varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, grown, around 67% and 33% respectively.

 

Vintage 2010, of course, is the vintage of the decade in Bordeaux. Duhart-Milon also shows a remarkable success with this vintage. It is dense, full-bodied with the classic notes of Pauillac, like cedar, pencil shavings, black fruits, licorice and oak. It goes through the throat just like silk. Robert Parker not just commented that it should drink beautifully for 30+ years in his tasting note in 2013, he also wrote “If you can’t afford Lafite-Rothschild (few can)or even their second wine, Carruades de Lafite, you still have Duhart Milon, which has become a profound wine over the last 5-7 years due to the extensive amount of attention and investment the Rothschilds have pumped into this estate.”

 

Say thanks to the Rothschild family!