The 2005 Chteau Mouton-Rothschild is a deeply impressive First Growth. It has been blessed with a sensational nose that comes racing out of the blocks with audacious scents of black fruit, cedar, smoke and pencil box (Philippe Dhalluin mentioned that the signature smokiness/fireside hearth was tangible in around 80% of the vats during levage).
There is a sense of bravura here, of aristocracy. The palate is medium-bodied with sumptuous black fruit, perhaps beginning to soften in texture, one or two years off its plateau. There are layers and layers of black fruit intermingling with graphite and black pepper, and it wisely reins everything in on the finish that is more classic in style and in keeping with the vintage.
If you are fortunate enough to have this wine in your cellar, even though those tannins are starting to be abraded by time, afford it another five or six years.
Tasted August 2016
Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (January 2017)
Dark purple black in color. Complex aromas of mineral, licorice, lead pencil and blackberry follow through to a full body, with ultrafine tannins and a caressing, pretty finish. Has a lovely texture. Shows elegance and refinement.
James Suckling, Wine Spectator (March 2008)
The 2005 Mouton Rothschild (85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc) has a sensational nose of crème de cassis and incense as well as a touch of lead pencil shavings and forest floor. Dense purple, this is one of the biggest, richest wines I tasted from the Médoc.
It is full-bodied, pure, and impressively endowed. Certainly the selection process and the vineyard have come through in admirable form. This wine has a certain accessibility due to the sweetness of the tannin, but it is multidimensional, with a majestic mouthfeel and length.
Drink it over the next 30+ years
Robert Parker, eRobertParker.com (June 2015)
Deep bright ruby, superconcentrated and extremely vertical, this Mouton is only starting to open up after which it will plateau for another fifty years or so of outstanding drinking. Cassis, cedar, graphite aromas and flavours of noteworthy complexity are lifted by harmonious acidity. An extremely refined and less exotic Mouton Rothschild.
Tasted at the Decanter Fine Wine Encounter Shanghai.
Ian D’Agata, Decanter.com (November 2015)
About this WINE
Château Mouton Rothschild
Classified as a First Growth, Château Mouton Rothschild has a long and storied history; wine has been made here since Roman times. The property spans 82 hectares of vines in Pauillac, planted with the classic varieties of the region, Cabernet Sauvignon being predominant.
The estate has been in the Baron Philippe de Rothschild family since 1853, but it wasn’t until the arrival of Baron Philippe de Rothschild in 1922 that its fortunes were transformed. Baron Philippe was a dynamic figure who revolutionised the estate and was the first to introduce château-bottling in 1924. He also introduced the concept of commissioning an artist to design each new vintage’s label. Some of the most notable contributors include Salvador Dalí, Henry Moore, Marc Chagall, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Anish Kapoor and Peter Doig.
His daughter Baroness Philippine continued to help raise the estate to new heights with numerous endeavours, including the inauguration of a new vat house in 2013. Today, her three children, Camille and Philippe Sereys de Rothschild and Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild, continue the efforts of their predecessors.
Following the retirement in 2020 of Philippe Dhalluin, the winemaking team is now headed up by Jean-Emmanuel Danjoy. With his team, he oversees over 83 hectares of vines, planted with Cabernet Sauvignon (78%), Merlot (18%), Cabernet Franc (3%), and Petit Verdot (1%). The average age of the vines is around 50 years.
Pauillac is the aristocrat of the Médoc boasting boasting 75 percent of the region’s First Growths and with Grand Cru Classés representing 84 percent of Pauillac's production.
For a small town, surrounded by so many familiar and regal names, Pauillac imparts a slightly seedy impression. There are no grand hotels or restaurants – with the honourable exception of the establishments owned by Jean-Michel Cazes – rather a small port and yacht harbour, and a dominant petrochemical plant.
Yet outside the town, , there is arguably the greatest concentration of fabulous vineyards throughout all Bordeaux, including three of the five First Growths. Bordering St Estèphe to the north and St Julien to the south, Pauillac has fine, deep gravel soils with important iron and marl deposits, and a subtle, softly-rolling landscape, cut by a series of small streams running into the Gironde. The vineyards are located on two gravel-rich plateaux, one to the northwest of the town of Pauillac and the other to the south, with the vines reaching a greater depth than anywhere else in the Médoc.
Pauillac's first growths each have their own unique characteristics; Lafite Rothschild, tucked in the northern part of Pauillac on the St Estèphe border, produces Pauillac's most aromatically complex and subtly-flavoured wine. Mouton Rothschild's vineyards lie on a well-drained gravel ridge and - with its high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon - can produce (in its best years) Pauillac's most decadently rich, fleshy and exotic wine.
Latour, arguably Bordeaux's most consistent First Growth, is located in southern Pauillac next to St Julien. Its soil is gravel-rich with superb drainage, and Latour's vines penetrate as far as five metres into the soil. It produces perhaps the most long-lived wines of the Médoc.
Ch. Lafite-Rothschild, Ch. Latour, Ch. Mouton-Rothschild, Ch. Pichon-Longueville Baron, Ch. Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Ch. Lynch-Bages, Ch. Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Ch, Pontet-Canet, Les Forts de Latour, Ch. Haut-Batailley, Ch. Batailley, Ch. Haut-Bages Libéral.
Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.
In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and Australia.