One to watch: Château Duhart-Milon
Author: Berry Bros. & Rudd
The Rothschild family purchased Pauillac Fourth Growth Château Duhart-Milon back in 1962. Next door to the family’s First Growth Château Lafite Rothschild, the property was – at that time – producing mediocre wine, perhaps unworthy of its classification. The Rothschild take-over soon saw things change, backed with that Rothschild determination – and of course their resources. As Baron Eric said, “It would have been nonsense not to acquire such a great neighbouring vineyard.”
The work started among the vines themselves, where it matters most. The new team – the same one that manages the vines at Lafite – set about draining poor sites, uprooting and replanting vines, as well as acquiring new land. The vineyard area has grown from 17 hectares to a respectable 76 today – unusually for the region mostly in one large parcel. Over the years the improvements came through, culminating in 2003, when the cellars were renovated – allowing the work in the vineyard to be translated to the finished product.
The result has been a qualitative consistency that has been missed by many – with recent vintages repeatedly impressing us (as well as critics).
Today, the estate is seeing a fresh shot of adrenaline in the form of Saskia de Rothschild, the new and progressive Chairman of Domaines Barons de Rothschild. She took over from her father Eric last year and works together with another scion of Bordeaux, the new CEO and President of the company, Jean-Guillaume Prats.
Based on the Carruades plateau in Pauillac, to the west of Lafite, and not far from Châteaux Mouton-Rothschild or Clerc Milon, the terroir here is slightly cooler – giving the wines more freshness, yet with nuance and poise. As one sees Lafite Rothschild vying for top spot with Mouton Rothschild, so one sees Duhart-Milon rival Mouton’s Clerc Milon for the highest accolades and deepest praise.
There is a definite trend among even the grandest châteaux to see all the wines in their stables perform at their best – of which Duhart Milon is an excellent example. Long undervalued, it’s clear that this property’s fortunes are on the up.
With Saskia de Rothschild’s influence, we expect the exposure of this Classed Growth to improve greatly – likely with increased demand for back vintages. Contact us to find out about stocks (firstname.lastname@example.org, 020 3301 2883).