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Vines first appeared on what is now known as the Mouton-Rothschild estate in the early 18th century. Throughout the 18th century and first half of the 19th the quality of the wines increased steadily, often equalling those of the other top wines of Bordeaux, save for a short period of decline in the 1840s. This temporary fall from grace was to cost Mouton its likely status as a First Growth wine when the 1855 Classification was published, since the rankings were decided upon by the prices the wines had been fetching in the market place. The Rothschild family had bought the property in 1853, and its reputation was rapidly restored. The driving force, however, proved to be a later arrival, Baron Philippe de Rothschild, who assumed control in 1922. He was a dynamic figure who revolutionised much of the running of the estate. He was the first to introduce château-bottling, as early as 1924, and instigated the practice, after the Second World War, of employing a different artist each year to design the label. His greatest achievement was to have Mouton upgraded to 1st Growth Status in 1973, the only change ever to be made to the 1855 Classification. For decades the price of Mouton had matched, and frequently surpassed, that of the other First Growths, so the logic for the promotion was undeniable. Picasso was engaged to design that vintage’s label. Philippe died in 1988 and the estate passed into the hands of his daughter, Philippine. The vineyard, comprising 75 hectares of mainly gravel-based soils, is planted to 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. Grapes are hand-picked, and the juice is fermented in barrel, not in vat. After fermentation the wine is aged in new oak for 22 months before bottling. Total production is 25-30,000 cases, split between Mouton itself and the second wine, Le Petit Mouton, established in 1993. Critics who found the wines of the 1990s to be less than profound point to too high a percentage of the crop being used in the Grand Vin, compared to the other First Growths. However, in recent years, the Estate Director, Hervé Berland, has presided over a gradual tightening up of all the viticultural and wine-making practices, with the result that Mouton is once again restored to a position alongside the very best wines of Bordeaux. In style the wines have immense appeal, with exotic, powerful aromas of cassis, minerals, tobacco leaf and graphite, backed by an opulence on the palate and impressive length on the finish. “Flamboyant” is a word sometimes used in tasting notes, and in comparative blind tastings this attribute is frequently what sets Mouton apart. What is sure is that Mouton has often produced the “wine of the vintage”, and under Hervé Berlaud’s direction the property looks sure to consolidate its status as one of the world’s greatest.
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Case price (6)
Case saving £138.84
Bottle 6 x 75cl
Perhaps unfairly for the more elegant d’Armailhac, this was the first wine tasted in the Mouton flight. Given the strength of the Grand Vin it is no surprise that this is a deeply intense second wine with great power, concentration and focus. The palate drives a core of bright blackcurrant and darker cassis flavours which are picked up gracefully on the long finish. This is one to buy and enjoy whilst waiting for the Grand Vin. (Jake Dean, Berrys’ Fine Wine Sales Director)
2001 Petit Moutonhas has lovely fine, polished tannins, an attractive core of bright red fruit with a touch of bacon and a smokey coffee note on the finish.
Case price (6)
Case saving £310.08
Magnum 6 x 150cl
Bottle 12 x 75cl
In 2006 Mouton has justified its First Growth status with a vengeance. Since Mouton began to select their wines parcel by parcel in 2004, quality has soared. And with only 44% of the wine making it into the Grand Vin (normally it is 50-60%) this is about as good as it could possibly be. It has all the exotic richness you would expect, with a minty cassis nose, a lovely silky palate and opulent, expressive smoky black fruit. Made from 87% Cabernet Sauvignon (plus 13% Merlot) it has great structure with melted tannins and a gorgeously rich complexity. A truly majestic Mouton. Simon Staples, Berrys' Fine Wine Director - Feb 2010
Imperial 1 x 600cl
This is truly a masterpiece.A majestic, complex, rich, intoxicating nose with exciting, racy,pure cassis notes leads on to a sublime, multi, multi-layered palate with a precise, cool, silky core of the ripest blackcurrants with a generous dollop of double cream.This really is a spectacular, flawless wine that not only rivals the other 2005 First Growths but surpasses 2 or 3 of them. Whether this is as great as the 1928 or 1945 is just too soon to call, but this will definitely be one of the greatest cases you might ever have in your cellar. Awe-inspiring!
D. Magnum 1 x 300cl
Jeroboam 1 x 500cl
D. Magnum 3 x 300cl
Often criticised for being somewhat exotic and 'new world' in style, the 2004 Mouton shows pure 'old world' charm. This is possibly because a new winemaker, from Ch. Branaire, has taken over this year. The nose is rich and spicy with lovely ripe Cabernet fruit - the blend comprises 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 15% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot - which is a bit more subtle on the palate. Round and velvety with plenty of ripe tannins and great balance, this is more approachable than the other First Growths and is easily as good as Mouton's 2000 and 2002.
Sumptuous, decadent blackcurrants with warm spicy oak on the nose. Explosive and exotic on the palate with a generous and creamy weight to it. This fantastic wine is even more seductive than Mouton's legendary 1982 and 1986. I get the feeling that more modern vintages may be even greater still. (Simon Staples - Berrys' Fine Wine Director - Feb 2010)
"An enormously concentrated, massive Mouton-Rothschild, comparable in quality, but not style, to the 1982, 1959, and 1945...it has the potential to last for 50-100 years!...The wine possesses incredible concentration, full body, fabulous length, and is - well - perfect." Robert Parker Wine Advocate-Aug 96
A deep opaque colour, heavy tannic black fruit flavours and striking vanilla overtones make this quite a cumbersome wine to taste in its youth. More importantly, the wine has depth and a very good intewnse structure, guranteeing it to be a classic for long-term ageing.
The big question for many has been which is the better wine, the 95 or 96. For us the comparison is unfair, but the 1996 is a classic in the making, a big powerful wine which is likely to be aclaimed for many years to come.
Tasting at Mouton is an entertaining affair, with top-of-the-range golf buggies driven by chic ladies clad all in black brought in to ferry the trade from Check In to the hallowed halls of the Departure Lounge. The château seems to feel the need to impress but there really is no need – the wine does this all on its own in 2008. With a dense, dark nose and juicy, brooding fruit, the 2008 Grand Vin is a wine of which the Baroness can be proud. Quite clearly one of our favourite of the First Growths this year, it has a lovely, savoury minerality that gives it elegance, despite its power. This is a wine of gravitas with layers upon layers of dark fruit coating fine tannins with an almost glycerol-like texture. It is encouraging to see that Mouton has once again performed superbly in 2008; this is one of the top wines of the vintage. Simon Staples, Berrys' Fine Wine Director
(38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc) Max Lalondrelle, Bordeaux Wine Buyer
The whole Mouton stable of wines this year was quite simply spectacular, but the Grand Vin itself was otherworldly. With such a majestic nose of deeply concentrated blackberries and cream, it was very hard to drag the glass away to actually taste it. It is exceptionally unctuous, silky, almost with the consistency of single cream. Incredible, ripe, but not overly so, with red and black fruits, and a really dense compote of woodland lushness. The tannins are gloriously wrapped up within the satin creaminess of its dense but elegant body and it has an extraordinary finish of minutes not seconds. Tasting and writing about the First Growths has now become something of an elite treat as we know that there is no chance we shall be able to afford to drink these incredible wines, but if I could afford to drink the best of the best, I’d find it hugely encouraging that they really are the Top Guns of the wine world and really deserve their status. An incredible Mouton: bravo! (94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot) Simon Staples, Fine Wine Director
2011 Ch. Mouton-Rothschild is outstanding and the second best red wine of the vintage for me, just behind Ch. Latour, and I do mean just! A superb blast of cool and racy Cabernet blackcurrant fruit is at the centre of this divine beast. This does not taste like a 2011 at all, as it has meat on its bones and ripeness, flair and gravitas. There is a super succulent finish that lasts minutes and I really see this as a legend in the making. It reminds me of the brilliant 2006 and it might lead the way of pricing too this year. Come on Mouton, you can do it! Simon Staples, Berrys’ Fine Wine Director
2012 is a rubicon year for Ch. Mouton-Rothschild, being the inaugural vintage for its new vat room. Not that we can tell you much about it; its form and structure is being kept secret for a grand launch on 16th June this year during Vinexpo. However, it doesn’t take much to presume that the wines are now being handled on a parcel-by-parcel basis. If so, the benefits are clear and the wine shows rather more precision that it did when being made in exile in the cellars of sister property Ch. Clerc-Milon in the 2010 and 2011 vintages. This year Le Petit Mouton uses 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. It is loaded with black cherry fruits and, while the trademark linear impression of 2012 is initially present, the palate fills positively, even to the extent of notes of vanilla and prune. The extra detail this year makes this an ideal character reference for the Grand Vin, now back home after its peregrinational elevages. This looks to be an important step forward. Mark Pardoe MW, Wine Buying Director The second wine of Ch. Mouton-Rothschild, Le Petit Mouton continues to go from strength to strength in 2012. Expressive and complex on the nose, cherry and blackcurrants come to the fore, evidence indeed of the large dose of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. 19% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc complete the make-up and contribute to the expressively ripe and fruity aromas. A long, minerally finish with notes of spice, vanilla and prunes suggest that this will be wonderful to drink in a few year’s time, whilst waiting for the Grand Vin to mature.
With a huge dark and dense nose, this wine is very big and exceedingly powerful. Blackcurrant fruit predominates on the palate with high levels of acidity and very firm tannins that fill the mouth. Mocha and coffee notes follow, leading to a very long and persistent finish. A big behemoth style of Ch. Mouton-Rothschild, this is in the mould of the 2006, which is even more impressive bearing in mind the growing season. Bravo indeed.
Magnum 3 x 150cl
Following the remarkable success of the 2006, Mouton's 2007 continues its dramatic, and very welcome, renaissance. As good as any of the First Growths, and as seductive and beguiling as Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the wine's majestic black fruit nose is followed by a powerful, beautifully poised palate with a generosity and concentration rarely seen in 2007. Rich plums, cassis and a panoply of spices are supported by ripe tannins, good structure and excellent minerality. With all the charm and personality of Baroness Philippine herself (which is a lot), this is a fantastic Mouton.
This has totally amazing concentration on the nose. Spicy, warm and decadent blackcurrant aromas award this the "green jacket" for most seductive nose of the week. It has a beguiling richness and weight in the mouth which is almost viscous but not even vaguely cloying. Sensational in everyway this château is just going from strength to strength, and this fabulous wine could easily surpass their recent triumphs (2008/2006/2005) and even the legends of the past (1945/1959/1961). Multilayered, magnificent, Mouton! Simon Staples, BBR Sales & Marketing Director
Warm, ripe and seductive on the nose, this glorious Mouton is rich and plump on the palate, with dense, sweet concentrated fruit. I'd be happy to drink this gorgeous wine now but I'd imagine as 1947 and 1949 were also very hot years, this will be rewarding for a number of years to come. Simon Staples - Berrys' Fine Wine Director - Feb 2010