Château Duhart-Milon Moulin de Duhart Pauillac 2016: Deep purple color; black cherry, plum, blackcurrant, cedar on the nose; plum, raspberry, black cherry, minerality/iron on the palate.
Dry; tannic grip, especially on the mid-palate and finish. The château recommends decanting; so do I. Do not rush this bottle. Full body; balancing acidity. Delivers impressive complexity and depth. Blend of 55-60% cabernet sauvignon, 40-45% merlot—the percentages are determined by the mix of vines in the 188 acres of the vineyard and the website does not specify percentages in individual vintages. Aged 10 months in two-year-old oak barrels, so oak is only a bit player in this ensemble of tasty, rich, red and black fruits; 13% ABV.
Château Duhart-Milon is a brand/château of Les Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite). The Duhart-Milon website notes: “Château Duhart-Milon’s second wine is selected on the same basis as the “Grand Vin”. In general, the grapes are from the younger plots in the vineyard. Moulin de Duhart has several characteristics similar to the grand vin, but with less potential for ageing as its barrel ageing period is shorter. It should be consumed younger than its more robust counterpart. The origin of the name comes from the former presence of a windmill on the Carruades plateau, next to the Duhart-Milon vineyard.” (Moulin is French for “mill” or “windmill.)
When Baron Eric de Rothschild acquired the property in 1962, he noted: “It would have been nonsense not to acquire such a great neighboring vineyard.” Only a foolish person questions the wisdom of the Rothschilds when it comes to assessing vineyards. Same goes for them getting the most out of properties they acquire. A taste of this wine cements that point. Besides, this was no hard acquisition call. The vineyard abuts the classic Château Lafite Rothschild vineyard.
Because of its proximity to Château Lafite Rothschild, the same team manages both properties. By the way, in 2018 Eric handed off the reins at Domaines Barons de Rothschild to his daughter, Saskia de Rothschild, the sixth generation of the storied family. It will be fascinating to how the distaff side of the famed dynasty wows the wine world.
Although classed as a “second bottle,” this is a very substantial wine. Instead of puckering power and Left Bank bravado, however, there is charming lushness on the initial attack. Serious elements arrive with panache on the mid-palate and finish when camphor and spice complement the generous red fruit.
The finish is incredibly long. In my first taste, the very extended finish almost became annoying. “OK, I thought. Fade away and let me taste again.” By the second or third taste, the complex finish had seduced me as one of its best features. You might avoid this first sip issue finish issue by engaging in a more lengthy decant than I administered.
Château Duhart-Milon Moulin de Duhart Pauillac 2016 is complex and layered and serious. But it also is nicely approachable even young—and a wine of this level of sophistication is young at age four. Rich red fruits. Lush attack followed by serious layers and surprises. Capped by an enormously long finish. Welcome to the highly refined world of Bordeaux legends.
Pair with steak frites—rib eye—and other higher end beef cuts. Beef Wellington; prime rib; lamb; venison; wild boar. Avoid dishes with rich sauces. This wine is so sublime you don’t not want to compete with it. Also, don’t squander this wine on burgers and pizza and other simple comfort fare. $60-100