I’m not alone in considering this one of the all-time great Moutons - it was awarded World’s Greatest Wine in a competition last year that saw numerous rounds of blind tasting. It’s worth your while to find out why - this is a powerhouse of beautiful fruits - layer upon concentrated layer of blackberry, cassis, liquorice, baked earth, cigar box, black truffle and Mouton’s signature smoked and grilled spices.
The tannins are velvety but determined, holding on to their fruit with no intention of letting go for another few decades—100% new oak. The tiniest touch of Petit Verdot in the blend is under 1%, so it’s not in the official figures. 62% of production went into the grand vin. 3.78pH. 88IPT. The artist for this vintage is Xu Bing.
Drink 2028 - 2048
Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com (September 2021)
Tasted blind. Another wine that’s also heady and rich but tightens up on the finish. Classy, though it’s a tiny bit drying on the end. But there’s a lot of pleasure there. Refined and very long.
Drink 2028 - 2048
Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com (February 2022)
The 2018 Mouton Rothschild is a blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc—there is also a splash of all the Petit Verdot they had, but it doesn’t even register in the percentage. It has 13.8% alcohol, which is relatively modest for the vintage. Deep garnet-purple coloured, it straight away pops with bright, vivacious notes of crushed blackcurrants, juicy blackberries and redcurrant jelly with slowly emerging nuances of candied violets, stewed plums, liquorice and black tea, plus a waft of dusty red soil.
The medium-bodied palate is built like a brick house with super firm, super ripe, grainy tannins and bold freshness supporting the muscular black fruits, finishing long and savoury with lingering mineral suggestions. This is so, so delicious and, due to the ripeness of tannins, approachable now. It will be difficult to keep your mitts off it for a good 5-7 years when all those tightly tucked away nuances should begin to emerge. After that, it should improve over the course of 25 years or more and drink for 40+.
Drink 2027 - 2067
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate (March 2021)
Exquisite purity of blackcurrants, raspberries and some citrus. The aromas flow from the glass. Full-bodied with seamless tannins that coat the palate and fall into the centre, delivering a refined and harmonious young red. Endless finish.
86% cabernet sauvignon. This is the new 1959, one of the legendary vintages of Mouton.
Try after 2026
James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (February 2022)
Coming from a selection of 76% of the total production, the 2018 Château Mouton Rothschild checks in as 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc that was brought up all in new French oak. This dense purple-hued effort has a backward, primordial bouquet of pure crème de cassis, scorched earth, burning embers, and graphite.
There are hints of classic Pauillac tobacco and lead pencil, but it's locked and loaded at this point. Full-bodied, beautifully concentrated, and flawlessly balanced on the palate, it has lots of tannins, a good spine of acidity, and a great finish. It doesn't have the sexy opulence of the 2015 and 2016, yet it has more minerality, and I suspect it's every bit as concentrated.
A solid decade of bottle age will be warranted, and this powerful, concentrated Mouton will evolve for longer than most of us reading this will be alive.
Drink 2029 - 2079
Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (March 2021)
The 2018 Mouton Rothschild is a rich, shockingly flamboyant wine endowed with tremendous fruit density and a level of unctuousness that could be taken for a wine still in barrel. Marvellously open and fleshy, the 2018 is utterly breathtaking today. I imagine it will shut down at some point, but today it is all seduction here.
Ripe red cherry, plum, mocha, spice and cedar infuse the 2018 with tons of complexity. This is a tremendous showing.
Drink 2028 - 2058
Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (March 2021)
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.