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Château Mouton-Rothschild

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Address: BP 117, 33250 Pauillac

Telephone: +33 (0)5 56 73 20 20

Website: www.bpdr.com

Originally Château Brane-Mouton, the estate was bought in 1853 by Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild, of the English branch of the Rothschild family who renamed it Château Mouton-Rothschild. The wine was not actually classified a first growth in 1855 but as the top second growth. In 1922 Baron Philippe de Rothschild took over at Mouton aged just 21. His extraordinary efforts, determination and innovation over the next six decades created the legend that is Mouton. He had an influence across all Bordeaux and, much later, even across the pond in the United States.

In 1924 the property became one of the first estates to introduce Château bottling. This was a guarantee of quality and provenance at a time when much fine Bordeaux was sold in barrel and bottled abroad. From 1945 Baron Philippe commissioned painters to produce art for Mouton’s labels. Perhaps most remarkably, after a twenty year campaign, Baron Philippe managed to get revision of the original 1855 classification and in 1973 Mouton was promoted to first growth status. ‘Premier Je suis, second je fus, Mouton ne change’ became the motto on the wine’s label – ‘First I am, second I was, I Mouton do not change’. Baron Philippe also established with Robert Mondavi the Opus One venture in the Napa Valley. It heralded an era when great Bordeaux estates began investing in the United States and Latin America. Since the Baron’s death in 1988 the estate has been run with equal vigor and determination by his daughter Philippine. In 1991 she introduced a white wine Aile d’Argent from a 4 hectare patch of vines in the Mouton vineyard planted with Sauvignon Blanc (57%), Sémillon (42%) and Muscadelle (1%). In 1994 Le Petit Mouton de Mouton Rothschild was created as a second wine for the grand vin. In August 2014, Philippine de Rothschild died aged 80.

Château Mouton-Rothschild has the ability to produce the most distinctive and flamboyant of all the wines in the Médoc. The 1986 for me remains one of the finest Moutons I’ve had which was a wonderfully exotic and expressive wine. Generous friends have opened bottles of the great 1982 which I’ve now had twice. The first bottle was a closed, backward wine and a little difficult to fathom. The second was extraordinary. The past decade has seen a return to top form here. The 2006 is ravishing. More recently the 2009 and 2010 are spectacular. Both 2011 and 2012 are great successes for the vintage. Much credit for this goes to Philippe Dhalluin, Mouton’s technical director and his team.

Vineyard/Terroir: 84 hectares planted with 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Average age 45 years planted at 8,500 vines per hectare. Yields 40-50 hectolitres per hectare.

Winemaking/Elévage: Fifteen to twenty-five day fermentation and maceration followed by 18 to 22 months in new oak barrels. Egg white fining, no filtration.

Tasting notes:

  • 2015 Deep looking; legs; ripe and attractive Cabernet aromatics; blackcurrants and cassis tones; lots of matter here; glossy quality to the fruit; lots of layers here; real density but the fruit tones are very attractive; grip and texture; wonderful length; cashmere Cabernet. Plenty of matter here; layered and deep. Very, very long finish. [82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2025-2045. Tasted 4/4/16. 96-98+
  • 2014 Deeply coloured; vibrant edge; good depth; perfumed blackcurrants; some violet lift; freshness; cassis; layers but a little closed on the day; blackcurrant fruit on the palate; firm and sturdy; soaking up the oak; chew and extract here; plenty of matter and early days here; quite backward overall; lots of material evident and clearly has length. Needs to unwind somewhat – though clearly has density and extract. [81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 13.1% alc]. Drink 2022-2035. Tasted at Mouton 30 March, 2015. 94-96+
  • 2013 Deep at core; vibrant purple at edge; stalky blackcurrant fruits; some depth; some stones and wet pebble notes; palate has weight and some generosity; quite a serious finish; trifle hard on the end perhaps; this is has weight and solidity but lacks a little charm at this stage. Hopefully will put on more gloss during elévage. [89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2020-2030. 90-92
  • 2012 Deep and very dark in the glass; fresh and vibrant at the edge; little dumb at first; pure Cabernet aromas; blackcurrant, cassis, lots of depth; less showy on the day than Petit-Mouton; little perfume at the edge; palate ripe and with impressive density but tannins very round and a real lightness of touch in the cellar. Fine tannin and very well balanced. Exceptional length. For me Mouton is the most immediately impressive of the Pauillac first growths in 2012. 95-97+ [90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot & 2% Cabernet Franc]
  • 2011 Deep and dense; earthy purple at edge; cool nose; blackcurrants, cassis; real poise; layers; very pretty oak too; nice perfume; very attractive nose; deep palate with grip and extract but very nicely handled; density but with harmony; tannins round and supple; nicely handled. Blackcurrant and cassis tones again on the palate; good length with espresso notes on the finish. Lots of length and genuine elegance here. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc. Tasted at Mouton 3/4/12.  95-96+
  • 2010 Very deep looking; wonderfully exotic and seductive aromatics; spices, blackcurrants, pan grillé notes; opulent; layered and already complex; beautiful blackcurrant fruit on the palate; layered and really deep; extract and density but a supple quality to the [considerable] tannins; very overt and showing well on the day; genuine weight of extract and matter here, but also freshness too. Remarkable combination. Perfection. Drink 2016-2045. 100 MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and dense; oaky and brooding; lots of blackcurrants on aeration; very deep; loaded with pure, fresh blackcurrant fruits; some coffee and coconut at the edge; very polished wine on the palate; blackcurrant purity; depth and concentration here, tannins very nicely done; fantastic depth and length; intense flavours. Real freshness here, and really substantial and yet revealing more than 2009 Mouton did at the same stage. Extremely seductive wine and with fantastic length. Absolutely terrific wine. Incredible freshness and purity. [94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot alcohol 14%] 98-100/100 Tasted 4 April 2011 at the Chateau
  • 2009 Deep, dense looking; opaque at core; saturated blackcurrant aromas, fresh [reminds me of the purity of Clerc Milon]; layers of fruit here; ripe and fresh; real purity; blackcurrants, wine gums, lots and lots of extract and material; fabulous depth of fruit here – surprisingly open on the palate – the most amazing fruit overlaying considerable structure and lots of ripe tannin. Not flashy and exotic as some vintages of Mouton are but this will develop over time, what you have currently is the most extraordinarily pure blackcurrant fruit. Drink 2019-2045. 100 MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Saturated black at edge; lots of blackcurrants here and cassis; a little primary at this stage; very deep; minerals, stone, blackcurrants. Palate layered, quite hard but concentrated. Excellent length; nicely judged extraction and very fine tannins. More tannic than Lafite but this is Mouton. Very good structure. Intense. Very fresh palate with good acid and tannin. [Second tasting note]: Very deep and saturated with purple meniscus; precise blackcurrants; some stones, minerals and graphite; very good palate and entry; fruit and layers; quite good tension in the wine; tannin very well formed and round. Length 30-40 seconds.  Very fresh.  Feel this is 98+/100. Tasted 1st April ‘10 at Mouton.
  • 2008 Mid depth; seductive and forward nose; sexy, smoky and spicy; blackcurrant fruit on the palate with spicy notes, chewy and dense with great length. Attention grabbing effort. [Later: Earthy blackcurrant but very sexy nose; quite opulent; some resin and ink; more supple and easier than earlier but still pretty structured wine with grip] 96+/100 MW Institute Nov ‘12
  • 2007 Deep and dark; wonderfully decadent nose of Asian spices, blackcurrants and espresso notes; real sweetness here; very attractive; leaf and tobacco come later; sweet and ripe blackcurrant fruit on the palate; terrific purity; some earthiness but layers and layers of flavour suggest a much better vintage than ’07. Excellent. Wine of the vintage at this tasting. 96+/100 MW Institute Nov ‘11
  • 2006 Deep and thick in the glass, tight to the rim; wonderfully attractive and flamboyant nose, very flattering, oak, tobacco, spices, lead pencil layer upon layer of blackcurrant fruit; really attractive; palate surprisingly open with lots of fruit but polished and medium weight and surprisingly harmonious; very good palate, structure here too alongside the tannins, but tannins extremely fine grained and not overdone. This is extremely fine. Blackcurrant cassis, some chocolate and espresso on the end of the palate. Doesn’t tire at all, just dances across the palate. Very good extract and excellent length – really extremely long. This is a dazzling wine even now. 97+/100 MW Institute Nov ‘10
  • 1994 Dark black; lots of extract and minerals on nose; palate tannic and dense. 92+/100 Barrel sample tasted at Mouton November ’95. 
  • 1986 Dark black; seductive and exotic nose, deep and extraordinary; leapt head and shoulders above all others at a tasting of ’86 cru classe. Big palate, great fruit and fabulous finish. A terrific wine in the making. 98/100 Tasted Jan ‘90
  • 1984 Mid red; nice elegant tobacco and cedar nose; not intense; palate mid-weight good – in fact good for the vintage – probably the most difficult vintage of the ‘80s. 86/100 Tasted Apr ‘06
  • 1982 Deep and dark; initially extremely backward and brooding; blackcurrants and dark fruits on the nose; great density and concentration on the palate; tannin too; left a few more hours in the decanter and the wine started to open up; layers of flavour on the nose; extremely intense and deep on the palate and great, great length. This is such an experience. This bottle showed much better than one bottle tasted three years back. Such terrific wine – not complex but a wine with unbelievable depth, density and body.. Just starting to emerge from its shell but surely this Mouton will prove immortal? Perfect ? Time will tell. Amazing? Certainly. 98+/100 August 2011 [Earlier note] Dark; palate tough, unyielding and monolithic. Lots of concentration but none of the ravishing quality I remember of the ‘86. Will it ever come out of its shell in my lifetime? 92+?/100 Tasted Apr ‘08
  • 1978 Deep; initially wonderful smoky, tobacco and graphite nose; good structure and depth with plenty of blackcurrant fruit but palate did harden up later. 90/100 Apr ‘96
  • 1975 Deeply coloured for a near forty year old wine; red at edge; leather, spices, tobacco; some fruit; chunky palate with chewy fruit remaining but with also pretty dense tannins at the end. Very much of the vintage and the decade. Tasted at Mouton, June, ’13. 88

Le Petit Mouton de Mouton Rothschild

  • 2014 Mid depth; colour quite tight to the rim; purple edge; stalky blackcurrant aromatics; little backward; palate fresh in acidity and fruit; Cabernet dominant; spicy blackcurrant tones and freshness; chew in the middle and has depth; bit backward at present – and certainly so for the usually more coquettish Petit Mouton. 2012 was much more flattering at the same stage. [93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot]. Drunk 2022-2028. Tasted at Mouton 30 March, 2015. 88-90
  • 2013 Mid depth; glossy; some toast and blackcurrant notes; cool fruit tones; solid palate; compact and sturdy if slightly clipped. Plenty of chew; sturdy if a little four square. Not drop-dead gorgeous as it was in 2012. 2013 looks fairly plain Jane by comparison. [93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot]. Drink 2018-2025. 87-88+
  • 2012 Deep and concentrated look; very seductive nose; smoked meats, spices, some fruitcake, oak and loads of blackcurrant cassis notes beneath; wonderful stuff; lots of blackcurrant fruit on the palate, which is extremely polished and caressing. Actually feels very supple and extremely flattering. Best Petit Mouton I’ve yet had. Gives you a certain measure of the Grand Vin well in advance. 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. 92-94+
  • 2011 Deep and dense; some mineral tones; rose petal perfume – quite pretty and open; also open accessible palate; finesse and real polish; creamy blackcurrant tones, little Turkish Delight note; tannins very round and well handled. Forward and open. Could be interesting if priced correctly. 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot. Tasted at Mouton 3/4/12. 90-91+
  • 2010 Deep, arterial, tight to the core; very opaque at centre; legs; very blackcurrant; fresh with some cream; almost summer fruit compote; feels very open on the nose; but nicely pure; quite forward and sexy palate [very saturated with flavour] yet with density and concentration too; blackcurrants and cream in a glass. Density and chew on the finish; very attractive and a great effort. Quite excellent. [68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, alcohol 14] 92-94+/100 Tasted at the chateau
  • 2009 Deep concentrated colour; dense at centre; very ripe and pure nose; layers; cassis; minerals and lots of blackcurrants; some savoury elements at the edge; very layered and concentrated; ripe focused palate; round qualities to the tannin. Good flesh. Quite fresh. Excellent. 90-92+/100 Tasted 1st April ‘10

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Aile d’Argent, Bordeaux Blanc
  • 2014 Pale green/gold; grapefruit; some wax; wax and lanolin tones on the palate; grapefruit zest but little subdued on the day; fresh finish. Bit closed currently – 2013 more knockout at the same stage. [65% Sauvignon Blanc, 35% Semillion]. Drink 2019-2025. Tasted April, ’15. 90-91+
  • 2013 Pale golden with a hint of green; lively grapefruit, melon and some cream; lees contact notes; very vivacious; very attractive and best Aile d’Argent I’ve had by a mile; passion fruit and grapefruit tones on the palate alongside hints of cashew; real weight but also zap. Really terrific effort. [67% Sauvignon Blanc, 33% Sémillon]. Drink 2016-2022. Tasted April, ’14. 92-94+
  • 2012 Pale silver/green; legs; lots of grapefruit and citrus aromas; real spice and wax; very ripe on the palate; full bodied with a certain weight and sweetness. Very good length. Maybe lacks a little zip, but that’s the vintage speaking as much as anything. Very attractive and full bodied white. [63 Sauvignon Blanc, 27% Semillon]. Tasted April, ’13. 92-94+ 
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