Brief conclusion. I feel the nose is not very dense, but I am not so sure the reason is due to the wind of air conditioner or I am in a bit of flu. However, the wines today have built good noses, but the palate is still not well-developed, need more ageing.
Chateau d’Armailhac 2004
The land of Chateau d’Armailhac was supposedly owned by Armailhacq brothers (Dominique and Guilhem) around 1680. In 1750, a bourgeois register of land, Dominique Armailhac, was in Bordeaux. As the Medoc “wine rush” began, a descendant of Armailhacq brothers started planting vines on the land and named the winery as “Chateau Mouton-d’Armailhacq”. At that time, the land was about 128 acres, and bounded on the north by Brane-Mouton (Chateau Mouton Rothschild) and on the south by Chateau Pibran (Cru Bourgeois). In 1844, this estate was purchased by Mrs. Darmailhacq, the wife of “Mr. Joseph Odet Darmailhacq the elder”.
In 1855, Chateau Mouton-d’Armailhacq was classified as 5th growth. At the same year, Armand d’Armailhacq published a treatise about vine growing and wine making.
Due to the laws of French, Comte Adrien de Ferrand, the husband of a d’Armailhacq’s daughter, purchased this winery and estate in 1878. Chateau Mouton-d’Armailhacq was a 170 acres winery at the time.
In 1931, Comte Adrien de Ferrand decided to cooperate with outside investors, and to create a company to run this chateau. By this chance, young Baron Philippe de Rothschild (aged 29!) became a minor shareholder of Chateau Mouton-d’Armailhacq. The company is Societe Anonyme du Domaine de Mouton-d’Armailhacq. In 1933, Baron Philippe acquired all the shares of this chateau, but still keep Comte Adrien de Ferrand as the owner before his past in 1934. Besides the vine growing and wine making, this chateau also ran a wine trading business, Societe Vinicole de Pauillac, the forerunner of Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA company.
After the M & A, the building of Chateau Mouton-d’Armailhacq became the storage place of technical and agriculture equipments of Mouton-d’Armailhacq and Mouton Rothschild. From 1947 to 1966, the building served as the residence of estate manager. The name of this 5th chateau was changed to Chateau Mouton-Baron Philippe in 1956, and then Mouton Baronne and Chateau Mouton-Baronne-Philippe in 1974 and 1979, respectively. The name changing in 1974 and 1979 might be dedicated to Baron Philippe’s 2nd wife Pauline de Rothschild (Pauline Fairfax Potter), who is a long term mistress. Pauline used her talent to refurnish the old building of Chateau Mouton Rothschild. However, the rumor said that Philippine de Rothschild, the daughter of Baron Philippe, did not like this 2nd mom very much. In 1989, Philippine changed the name of this 5th Chateau back to Chateau d’Amailhac after his farther’s death in 1988. In my personal opinion, Chateau d’Armailhac is better than other Chateau Mouton-something, less confusion for the general public. (Maybe write the other article to describe this gossiping story someday :p )
The current area of Chateau d’Armailhac is 126 arces. The wine label is the artwork of Nevers (18th centry), it is a illustration of Bacchus. 57% C.S., 23% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.
Medium+ nose. Besides black berry, the spices aromas dominate the nose, including black pepper, leather, burning plastic pipe, smoky wood, light BBQ, and truffle hint. After 1 hr breathing, shows light bouquet (increasing and denser) and light brown sugar.
The palate is slightly watery. Medium+ tannin is still young. Black berry, chili pepper, leather and soy sauce. Medium in length, acidity and body. Satisfactory and adequate Pauillac, but not so surprising, may needs more ageing.
Chateau Clerc Milon 2004
Also an asset of Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA. This 5th classification Chateau was bought by Baron Philippe in 1970. The wine label is an art work of a Germany goldsmith, it shows two dancing clowns made of precious stones.
Clerc Milon is located in the Milon village, north-east part of Pauillac commune. There’re lots of vineyards, and one of them belongs to M. Mandavy, which was eventually to become the renowned Duhart-Milon.
The plot owned by Jean-Baptiste Clerc is the origin of Clerc Milon. He’s the owner while Clerc Milon was classified as 5th growth. Before his death in 1863, he sold a part of Clerc Milon to Lamena, and bequeathed the left to his widow. Lamena then sold his part to Jacques Mondon, a few years later.
Although Jacques Mondon’s land is smaller than what Clerc’s widow owned, Jacques still issued a legal challenge and claimed he had the right using the title “Clerc Milon”. Surprisingly, Jacques won the law case, so Jacques change the title of his estate to Clerc-Milon-Mondon. After that, this estate was owned by succession of owners till 1960’s.
In 1960’s, Jacques Vialard, a lawyer, owned this estate, and give it to his inheritors, Marie Vialard and Madame Heron, in 1970’s. However, Marie Vialard and Madame Heron were not interested in this estate, and just wanted to sell it for cash. This is a great chance for Baron Philippe Rothschild, and he did so.
After the acquisition, Baron renewed the buildings and equipments of Chateau Clerc Milon, but still kept the wine style. Nowadays, Chatheau Clerc Milon may be not the best wine of Pauillac, but it still keeps the tradition style of Pauillac wine. Besides, it is not a underling of R.P., and it also keeps the inexpensive price.
Medium+ garnet with light ruby hue.
Medium+ nose of spices. Leather, cinnamon, light green pepper, chocolate paste, light pickled squash and light truffle. The nose is more concentrated than Chateau d’Armailhac 2004.
The palate includes black pepper, light black berry, light leather, cinnamon, and bitter spices. Similar to d’Amarlhac, this 2004 Clerc Millon is also a typical Pauillac, but not too much surprising, neither.
主要為香料的氣味，皮革、肉桂、些微青椒、巧克力醬，一點點醬瓜和些許松露味道。香氣比起 d’Amarlhac 2004 要來的集中明顯一些。
入口有黑胡椒、一些黑莓與皮革、肉桂、以及帶有苦味的香料味道。和 d’Amarlhac 2004 很類似，都是很典型的 Pauillac 味道，不過也是沒有太多令人驚豔之處。
Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste 2007
For detailing the story of Grand-Puy-Lascote, I have to traverse the history back to 1700’s.
At the early beginning, Grand-Puy-Lascote and Grand-Puy-Ducasse were not separated, and the name of the single estate is Grand-Puy. The owner is Monsieur de Guirau.
Guirau had two daughter, and one was married to Dejean, who is a wealthy landowner buying and selling lands and estates. Dejean passed this Grand-Puy estate to his son Bertrand Dejean, and this estate was divided into two parts.
In 1750, Bertrand Dejean sold a part to Pierre Ducasse, and this is the origination of Chateau Grand-Puy-Ducasse. The other part was inherited by one of Bertrand’s daughters, and it is the origination of Grand-Puy-Lascote (but the name of this estate was not Lascote at that time).
Dejean family passed this estate down the female line through two generations, and the Bertrand’s granddaughter married to a Monsieur de Saint-Guiron. At that time, this estate was known as “Saint-Guiron” till mid 19 century.
One offspring (still the female line) of Saint-Guiron married to François Lacoste, and this is the origination of the estate’s modern name “Lacoste”.
In 1855, this estate, Grand-Puy-Lacoste, was classified as fifth growth (cinquième cru). After that, François passed this chateau to his son, Frédéric, and Frédéric bequeathed it to his daughter, Madame de Saint-Legier. However, it seems Madame de Saint-Legier was not interested in and not good at wine making and running a wine estate. So, the wines of this estate were instable, and this estate was handed-off quickly, from Madame de Saint-Legier to Messieurs Neal and Hériveau, and then these two gentlemen sold it to Raymond Dupin in 1932.
However, Raymond Dupin was also not good at wine industry, so this estate experienced a catastrophe from 1932 — war, phylloxera, oidium, and depression. These shrank the vineyards from 55 hectares to 25 hectares till 1960’s. After this blundering decline, in 1978, Dupin sold half of the share to Jean-Eugène Borie of Ducru-Beaucaillou. Borie family gradually take over responsibility of running viticulture, vinification, storage and marketing, and this chateau eventually got a chance to turn over. After Dupin passed away, all the shares were hold by Borie family.
From 1978, Jean-Eugène’s eldest son, François-Xavier, took responsibility of running this chateau and expanded the vineyard back to 55 hectares. In 1998, Jean-Eugène Borie died, François-Xavier became the new owner of this chateau.
Medium+ nose. Black berry jam, cranberry jam, creamy, eucalyptus, chocolate. Sufficient breathing brings elegant nose of violet bouquet and light vanilla.
More stronger palate than d’Amarlhec and Clerc Milon. Black berry, wooden spices, green pepper, chocolate and light bouquet. Short but bright black pepper note at the end.
Chateau Pontet-Canet 2007
In the early 18th century, Chateau Pontet-Canet belonged to Jean-François Pontet, a powerful politician. He and his descendants expanded this estate by buying and bringing adjacent plots. The early documents showed the name of this estate is Maison de Canet in 1750.
Although Jean-François Pontet owned this estate, the vineyards were actually nurtured by Pierre-Bernard de Pontet. However, as Pierre-Bernard died in 1836, the reputation of Chateau Pontet-Carnet plunged as the wine quality dropping. This made Chateau Pontet-Canet was just classified as 5th growth in 1855.
In 1865, Pontet-Canet was sold to the Cruse family. Herman Cruse improved the wine quality of this chateau quickly by hiring Charles Skawinski (whose father Pierre worked for Giscours). Although Charles was just 23 years old, he reconstruct the chai (building for barrel aging) and a underground cellar (uncommon at that time). These revolutions brought Chateau Pontet-Canet back to its past good reputation.
However, good things last short, after Herman Cruse and his widow died, the quality dropped spirally again (probably due to the dilapidation of chai and underground cellar). Besides, the Cruse inheritor eschewed chateau-bottling, which is quite common and a standard practice in most of Bordeaux, until 1972. This decision compounded the quality from bad to worse. These sequential wrong decisions dumped down its reputation to an incredibly bad degree. During this terrible period, the quality of Chateau Pontet-Canet might be worse than other un-renowned Medoc chateaus.
However, this is not the worst thing. In 1973, Bordeaux “wine-gate” broke out. A negociant Pierre Bert sold wines with incorrect AOC labeling to other negociants, include Cruse family’s company, Cruse et Fils Freres. Besides, Henri Cruse was convicted guilty of selling Chateau Pontet-Canet wines which were blended with cheap Rioja. Pierre Bert was sent to jail for a year, and Henri suicided. The Cruse wine dynasty collapsed, and Chateau Pontet-Canet was forced to sell.
The next owner of Chateau Pontet-Canet is Guy Tesseron, a Cognac merchant who also owns Chateau Lafon-Rochet. Tesseron cooperates with Robert Parker and hires Michel Rolland as consultant. After 1994, Tesseron eventually put Chateau Pontet-Canet back on the track.
Medium to pronounced nose. More concentrated and complex than previous three. Plum, green pepper, chocolate, leather, and some dust note. Breathing brings sweet soy sauce pickled squash, light sugarcane and osmanthus, impressively elegant.
Palate is quite consistent to the nose. The black berry jam and sugarcane notes are impressive.
Chateau Pichon Baron 2007
Medium+ nose. Fresh black berry, black pepper, green pepper, leather. After breathing, light bouquet, chocolate, light sugarcane, vanilla, and caramel macchiato. The nose changes a lot, and shows complexity.
Palate is not as complex and dense as the nose. Slightly watery. Black pepper, leather, cinnamon, and light sugarcane.
Chateau Pichon Lalande 2006
Pronounced nose. Green pepper, leather, and black currant at the beginning. Then bouquet, vanilla, and hazelnut. Turns into creamy caramel and baked butter toast after 2 hours.
Palate shows the consistency to the nose, and the most impressed is the distinct black berry and pomegranate fruity note. The tannin is young and strong, the roughness hints more ageing.
Personally, the best of the day. My Comtesse!