The most underrated wine in the Lafite stable these days has put in another strong performance with the 2020 Duhart-Milon, as this somewhat cooler, later-ripening site is well adapted to warmer vintages. Unfurling to reveal aromas of cassis, plums, cigar wrapper, loamy soil and violets, it's medium to full-bodied, broad and layered, with polished tannins, terrific depth at the core and a long, sapid finish.
"For Duhart-Milon, the August rain was absolutely a godsend!," said Technical Director Eric Kohler, referring to the previous impact of the drought on the vines at this site. This vintage is the first vintage vinified in Duhart-Milon's new cellar. "It enables us to divide the plots more," Kohler added. "Instead of 30 glasses, we had 50 glasses this year to blend. It gives us much more precision." I've been very impressed with the upward trajectory of this Château, even given challenging vintages like 2020. A property to watch!
Duhart-Milon's vineyards are later-maturing than Lafite's, and the soils are less inherently balanced: The clay-rich parts of the vineyard are richer in clay than at Lafite, and the gravel-rich parts of the vineyard are richer in gravel, whereas Lafite's predominantly gravel soils sometimes contain more than 10% clay. That explains why Duhart-Milon historically often produced leaner wines than Lafite, with less mid-palate amplitude, but a warming climate and more attention to viticultural detail (sowing cover crops, for example, in clay-rich parts of the vineyard) are mitigating these disadvantages, and recent vintages have seen this estate attain new qualitative heights. As at all the Domaines Barons de Rothschild properties, winemaking and élevage are very classical, with regular rackings, and the majority of the barriques are derived from the in-house cooperage (emphasizing lightly toasted Allier and Nevers oak seasoned for 24 months), and as at Lafite, Cabernet is very much in the ascendant here.
Drink Date:2025 - 2050