Back to Bordeaux, and straight to the top. Château Mouton Rothschild, alongside Latour, led Pauillac this year for me. Mouton 2015 has power and depth but also harmony. It goes down in my book as the most impressive wine here since 2010 [though as at many Médoc properties the 2014 may yet give it a run for its money]. Le Petit Mouton also impressed and both Château d’Armailhac and Château Clerc-Milon look good this year. The bad news is that prices are up substantially on 2014, by 60% in the case of Mouton itself. Further exchange rate instability in the UK at least may also influence the price at which Mouton is offered.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Mouton-Rothschild’
So what are the principal characteristics of the Bordeaux 2015 vintage? Firstly there is a real beauty to the fruit tones in the red wines this year. Time after time, especially on the Right Bank but also on the Left I kept writing ‘beautiful,’ ‘pretty,’ and ‘delicious.’ There is freshness, despite pretty high alcohols in the main. The vintage is almost a hypothetical blend of 2009 and 2010, but with less evident structure and weight than those vintages. For me it recalls 1985 in terms of that vintage’s early beauty and freshness – and ‘85 remains in great shape today. But the 2015 vintage is by no means homogeneous. In fact there is considerable variability. What is in no doubt is that ‘15 is terrific in St Emilion. There is concentration and delight in so many wines there this year. It has also been strong vintage in the surrounding Côtes de Bordeaux appellation, especially Castillon and Francs.
Day two on the primeurs trail covered the top properties in St Julien, St Estèphe and Pauillac. The brief but significant September rain on the eve of harvest here affected estates differently and there is variation in the wines. Amongst the top growths on the finest terroirs beautiful wines have been produced. Perhaps these are not quite at the very top like 2009 or 2010, or perhaps even 2005, [though in certain cases they are close] but nevertheless there is real magic and beauty in the best wines. There is an accessibility too that almost hides their power. Château Mouton-Rothschild in Pauillac stood out as exceptional, along with Château Montrose and Château Cos d’Estournel in St Estèphe. Château Ducru Beaucaillou, Château Léoville-Las-Cases and Château Léoville Poyferré were all very impressive in St Julien. Ducru has made exceptionally attractive wine this year. It is a beauty – a term that is constantly turning up in my tasting notes in 2015.
2014 looks to be a strong vintage in Pauillac. I’ve already reported on the outstanding wines from Château Latour, Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Mouton-Rothschild, Château Pichon-Lalande, Château Duhart-Milon, Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste and Château Pontet-Canet. At the Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux event held at Château Lynch-Moussas [pictured], Château Lynch-Bages and Château Pichon Longueville were equally impressive, while Château Batailley was extremely fine. Good wines have been made at Château d’Armailhac, Château Clerc Milon and Château Grand-Puy Ducasse.
After the last few vintages here the 2014 harvest was clearly something of a relief for Philippe Dhalluin and his team at Château Mouton-Rothschild. After scrambles to pick in 2012 and especially 2013 in the face of impending doom, 2014 proved the polar opposite. After a cool, though relatively dry August here in Pauillac, a decent vintage depended on miraculous conditions, and that is precisely what they got. The sunny, dry weather of September and October meant that after a string of vintages marred by tricky harvest weather, they finally had the time to wait and get perfect ripeness. The results speak for themselves. This is probably the strongest vintage at Mouton since 2010, with the exception of 2012 here which is no slouch. The grand vin itself is powerful, if currently backward. Fine, balanced and characterful wines have been made at Château d’Armailhac and Château Clerc Milon. 2014 is another excellent vintage for the tiny quantities of Aile d’Argent that are made on the Mouton property.
If you ignore the question of the price of 2014 Bordeaux – though the subject is the elephant in the room in every salle de degustation you visit – and just look at the wines themselves, yesterday trips to nine properties on the northern left bank shows just how impressive 2014 is at the top level. In St Estèphe Montrose and Calon Ségur have both produced breathtaking wine – both have power, scale density and freshness in their different ways. Junior siblings here – Tronquoy-Lalande and Capbern [the Gasqueton has been dropped from the name] are both irresistible. Cos continues its thoughtful progression and has produced nicely measured and precise wines in the vintage [and Cos Blanc goes from strength to strength]. At Meyney, Montrose’s close neighbour, 2014 has produced a big, strapping wine full of extract and alcohol.