Château Clerc-Milon: Rothschild Reinvigoration

As the decades came and went the estate passed through a succession of owners and, as always seems to happen in these circumstances, it gradually fell into disrepair. By the 1960s it had been passed from Jacques Mondon to a local lawyer named Jean-Jacques Vialard, by which time the estate had contracted to just 15 hectares. Little wonder, considering its condition, that Marie Vialard and Madame Heron, who inherited the property upon Vialard’s death in 1970, were only too pleased to sell on what they no doubt saw as a money pit. The new owner was Baron Philippe de Rothschild, who secured the estate for the paltry sum of one million francs, which secured him a 16.5-hectare vineyard, as well as a diminutive chai and residential property which Philippe Dhalluin tells me was actually on the same side of the road as Château Mouton-Rothschild, and was in fact nowhere near Mousset, scene of my unsurprisingly doomed search. In modern times vineyard in Pauillac will change hands for more than a million francs per hectare and thus, even though there was no grand château included in the sale, this was a real bargain for the Rothschilds.

Château Clerc-Milon

Over the next decade Clerc-Milon saw extensive investment, and radical change. Baron Philippe saw that many parts of the original estate were now under new ownership, the estate having been broken up and divided over the years, and he set about buying these up in order to reconstitute the vineyard. The Mondon suffix was dropped, and the estate was simply Clerc-Milon again.

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