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.
This shows purity of fruit with blackcurrants and cassis and hints of blueberries and fresh flowers. Toasted and roasted. The 90% of cabernet sauvignon really makes this special. Lead-pencil, tar and liquorice notes. Powerful with finesse. Extremely persistent.
99-100 points, James Suckling, June 2020.
A deep intense nose, this is another brilliant Pauillac First Growth in 2019, all different in style and true to themselves. The tannins are ripe and fleshed out, taking a confident hold around well-textured blackberry and cassis fruits that are fluid, supple and frankly delicious. This is pure Mouton, you couldn't mistake it, with its touch of mocha and chocolate, and its core of freshness. Has a feel of the 1996 about it. Harvest September 19 to October 5 (finishing a little earlier that Clerc and Armailhac because Mouton is always an early terroir due to its abundance of pure gravel). Drinking Window 2030 - 2050.
98points, Jane Anson, Decanter, June 2020.
The blend this year is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot, harvested from the 18th of September to the 5th of October. Opaque purple-black coloured, the 2019 Mouton Rothschild simply shines, even at this very nascent stage, beaming from the glass with bright, vibrant scents of crème de cassis, blueberry preserves, boysenberries and black raspberries plus fragrant suggestions of lilacs, dark chocolate, sandalwood, jasmine tea and woodsmoke with a spicy waft of star anise. The medium-bodied palate shimmers with energy, featuring tightly wound layers of black fruits, exotic spices and mineral notions, framed by exquisitely ripe, fine-grained tannins and bags of freshness, finishing with epic length and perfume. This year's profound expression is without doubt a legend in the making. (For number crunchers, the alcohol is 13.5% this year, slightly lower than 2018, which came in at 13.8%.)
98-100 points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, June 2020.
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.