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.
Philippe Dhalluin, Château Mouton Rothschild’s managing director, reports that 2015 growing season was warmer than average but also dry, especially from budbreak to veraison. This resulted in low yields and concentrated berries at Mouton. Higher rainfall in August and September helped ripening, reducing vineyard stress experienced through the drought and heat of June and July. The occasionally showery conditions during September resulted in the need for a protracted period of picking in order to obtain optimum maturity for each parcel. The property began with Merlot on September 14 and finished with the final Cabernet Sauvignon on October 2. The fruit was healthy and concentrated with excellent phenolic ripeness. There is no doubting the beauty and harmony of Mouton in 2015. Le Petit Mouton also shows something of the qualities of the grand vin. This wine now comes from plots that formerly made it into Mouton itself.
It appears that 2015 is also a very good year for Château d’Armailhac and Château Clerc Milon. The latter feels fatter than usual which reflects the healthy dose of Merlot in the blend, slightly higher than the past few vintages.
The following wines were tasted on Monday, 4th April 2016 at Mouton.
Château d’Armailhac, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac
Deep core; purple edge; healthy looking; vibrant; attractive aromatics; ripe; some beauty; cream; blackcurrants; cassis; nice qualities; purity; caressing entry on the palate; fresh blackcurrants; black cherry; harmonious and round; little sap and freshness on the end which makes for a positive finish. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot]. Drink 2023-2032. 90-92+
Château Clerc Milon, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac
Glossy look; healthy; purple edge; ripe Cabernet aromatics; fuller and fatter than d’Armailhac on the day; singular seam of blackcurrant fruit here; cassis and even some wine gum notes; fresh palate but also full with very good depth of fruit; plenty of flesh here this vintage; creamy fruit tones; again harmonious quality here. Excellent length. [51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot, 1% Carmenere.] Drink 2024-2035. 92-94
Le Petit Mouton de Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac
Depth and legs in the glass; purple at edge; attractive purity; blackcurrants; cassis; more primary than Clerc Milon; glossy blackcurrant characters on the palate; soft entry; full palate; blackcurrant tones; pure; roundness with length. Excellent Petit Mouton. [78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2023-2033. 91-93+
Château Mouton-Rothschild, Premier Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac
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. 96-98+
Aile d’Argent, Bordeaux Blanc
Pale straw/washed gold; passionfruit and grapefruit tones; lees notes; some kiwi and ginger; lots of fruit on the nose but concentrated in profile; some weight on entry; has life and zip too. Saline finish. Brilliant white wine. [55% Sauvignon Blanc, 43% Semillon, 2% Muscadelle]. Drink 2018-2025. 94-95+
Mouton’s vineyards from the tasting room
Tags: Aile d'Argent, bdx15, Bordeaux, Bordeaux 2015, Chateau Clerc-Milon, Chateau d’Armailhac, Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, Grand Cru Classé, Le Petit Mouton de Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac, Philippe Dhalluin, Premier Grand Cru Classé