97-100/100 Robert Parker Jr. The 2010 Mouton possesses the highest level of Cabernet Sauvignon (94%) of any wine this estate has produced. Combined with 6% Merlot, the wine achieved 13.9% natural alcohol. Under director Philippe Dalhuin, the harvest was accomplished between September 28 and October 13, and only 49% of the crop made it into this powerful effort. Reminiscent of the 1986, it is a 50-60 year wine that is not meant for consumers looking for near-term gratification. This backward, tannic, full-bodied, exceptionally promising 2010 reveals enormous weight along with extravagant levels of precise, fresh boysenberry and creme de cassis fruit. The abundant minerality is due no doubt to the fresh acidity. In need of at least 15 years of cellaring, it will undoubtedly remain an infant at age 25 (as does the 1986).
Pauillac is Bordeaux’s most acclaimed appellation, the only one with three Premier Cru properties: Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Mouton-Rothschild and Château Latour. These and other Pauillac chateaux produce robust, full-flavored and long-lived red wines made from Cabernet-based blends. Though winemaking techniques and microclimates vary throughout Pauillac, producing some variations in style, classic Pauillac wines have juicy flavors of blackcurrant and cedar, often with coffee, chocolate and graphite notes. Pauillac, part of the Médoc region on Bordeaux’s Left Bank, has gravelly and well-drained soils that force vines to grow long and strong roots. Struggling a bit for water, the vines produce grapes with high tannins and concentrated juices. Nearby rivers and the Atlantic Ocean modulate temperatures, preventing the grapes from ripening too quickly. Such grapes make powerful wines that may age and improve for decades. However, in Pauillac, as in other old-world wine regions, some winemakers are working to develop softer red wines that maintain the local wines’ traditional substance and flavors, but are more approachable immediately upon release.