The rebirth of a Classified Growth
In the 18th century, Château Clerc Milon formed part of the vast estates of the seigneury of Lafite. Sold as a “national asset” in the Revolution, it was acquired then by the Clerc family, which joined its name to that of Milon, the Pauillac hamlet where the estate is located. The rank of Fifth Growth bestowed on it in the famous 1855 Classification is evidence of its standing, even then, among the elite Médoc châteaux. The vineyard at the time covered some 30 hectares (75 acres).
The wine long maintained a very good reputation. But sales and successions reduced the original estate and its upkeep was neglected. Very run-down, by the 1960s it had shrunk to only 15 hectares (37 acres), the rest being dispersed in hundreds of parcels, with almost as many deeds of title.
From 1970 to 1982, a Jungfraubecher, a silver-gilt marriage cup from the 18th century, taken from the Museum of Wine in Art at Château Mouton Rothschild, was used to illustrate the first Clerc Milon label.
From 1983 on, it was replaced on the label by another decorative work by 17th century German goldsmiths, a pair of dancers made of precious stones, taken as well from the Museum of Wine in Art.
Convinced of the wine’s potential, Baron Philippe considered that Château Clerc Milon deserved a “rightful place” alongside the family’s two other wines, Château Mouton Rothschild and Château d’Armailhac. He acquired the estate in 1970 and embarked on a meticulous renovation of the vineyard, drawing on the remarkable skills of the technical staff at Mouton, while reconstituting the estate by gradually buying up the parcels dispersed over the years from their countless owners.
To renew the wine’s image and identity, he successively illustrated the Château Clerc Milon label with two decorative works by 17th and 18th century German goldsmiths taken from the Museum of Wine in Art at Château Mouton Rothschild: a Jungfraubecher, a silver-gilt marriage cup, until the 1982 vintage, then a pair of dancers made of precious stones.