One of the very greatest estates of Bordeaux, Château Mouton Rothschild is in the commune of Pauillac in the Haut-Medoc, 50km north-west of the city of Bordeaux. Its Château wine or ‘grand vin’ is among the world’s most highly-rated and expensive. Excluded from the highest rank (Premier Cru or First Growth) of the famous Bordeaux Classification of 1855, Mouton was finally promoted in 1973 after decades of lobbying by Baron Philippe de Rothschild, who ran the estate from 1922 until his death in 1988. Mouton was first in the region to bottle at the estate, rather than shipping its wine to merchants for bottling elsewhere.
Since 1924 artists including Braque, Dali, Picasso, Henry Moore, Miro, Chagall, Kandinsky, Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon, David Hockney and Lucian Freud have been commissioned to produce artworks for the Mouton label. Mouton, uniquely among the First Growths, remains in the hands of the same family as it was at the time of the 1855 Classification. The vineyards are on slopes with gravel-based soils leading down to the Gironde estuary and total 75ha – 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. The Château wine is (unusually) fermented in large oak vats and then matured in new oak barrels for between 19 and 22 months. Total production of the ‘grand vin’ is 20,000 dozen or less. There is a ‘second wine’, Le Petit Mouton, established in 1993. The ‘grand vin’ is noted for its flamboyance – exotic, powerful aromas of cassis, minerals, tobacco leaf and graphite, an opulent palate and impressive length of flavour.
Deep colour. Intense blackcurrant, inky, cedar aromas. Classically proportioned, generous and supple with sweet cassis elderberry flavours, toasty vanilla cedar flavours, dense almost velvety cashmere textures. Finishes with a long tannin plume. Organised chaos of aromas and flavours. Soft yet muscular, elegant yet powerful, dramatic yet controlled, elemental yet knitted together.
98 points, Langton's
Incredible iodine, oyster, currants, peat and cedar. Yet subtle. Full body, chewy yet polished tannins and great depth and complexity on the finish. I love the spice and blueberry character on the finish. Vibrant. A sexy style of Mouton.
99 points, JamesSuckling.com
The 2014 Mouton-Rothschild was closed at first when I tasted the wine in bottle with winemaker Philippe Dhalluin. But as it transpires, this First Growth is just toying with you. Initially quite understated, it responds to aeration like a young child peeking from around a corner and then running out, waving its hands. It suddenly hits you with gorgeous black cherries, bilberry, cedar and wilted rose petal. The palate is medium-bodied with a silky smooth entry. This is utterly seductive: a wine without a hair out of place. It is not as powerful or as complex as the 2015 Mouton-Rothschild, yet the precision and focus here is beguiling. It will require five to seven years to absorb the 100% new oak, then it will be an utterly delicious and to use a term employed at en primeur, 'cerebral' First Growth that is destined to give two or three decades of pleasure.
95 points, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
An exciting, beautifully layered wine, the 2014 Mouton Rothschild is one of the clear highlights of the vintage. A stunning interplay of crème de cassis, graphite, menthol, sage, mocha, dark chocolate and leather takes all of the senses. The 2014 is dark, voluptuous racy. Above all else, it speaks to a total sense of balance. The blend is 81 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc.
97 points, Vinous, February 2017
Rich and sweet and very forward and beguiling. Lots of interest and life. Pure and salty and with real density. Drink 2023-2050.
18.5/20 points, JancisRobinson.com, Feb 2018
This delivers a large core of pure, unadorned cassis, accented by notes of anise, plum cake, mint and bitter plum coulis. The core has serious heft, supported easily by a riveting iron spine that shows superb length through the finish. A prodigious display of power and cut. Best from 2022 through 2040.
96 points, Wine Spectator Feb 2017
...a powerful wine in the rich style of Mouton with strong blackcurrant fruits from 81% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is dense and dark, ready to age for many years. Drink this impressive wine from 2026.
96 points, Wine Enthusiast, Jan 2017
Explosively floral nose – the usual exotic Mouton fruit underlined by very ripe 16% Merlot. The classic ‘iron fist in a velvet glove’, with ripe tannins and marvellous structure. Its true qualities will need time to show. Drink: 2022-2045.
95+ points, Steven Spurrier, June 2015
Unquestionably one of the great wines in the vintage, the 2014 Mouton-Rothschild offers more flamboyance, depth, and texture than just about every other release out there. Crème de cassis, violets, lead pencil, and ample creamy oak notes all emerge from this incredibly sexy, concentrated 2014 that has a terrific mid-palate, sweet tannin, and a great, great finish... can be enjoyed anytime over the coming 3-4 decades.
97 points, JebDunnuck.com
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 flavours 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 flavours, but are more approachable immediately upon release.