It is well-known that each year since 1945 a great painter has illustrated the Château Mouton Rothschild label. The 2003 vintage is an exception, however, marking the 150th anniversary of Mouton's entry into the family to which it has since belonged without interruption for five generations.
Baroness Philippine de Rothschild has therefore decided to depart from tradition by devoting the entire label to Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild (1812-1870), her direct ancestor from the English branch of the family who acquired the Mouton estate on 11 May 1853.
Baron Nathaniel is depicted on the label in a period photograph. The background shows part of the deed of sale. This document, carefully preserved in the Mouton archives, marks the beginning of a long love story between the Rothschilds and the great wines of Bordeaux.
The wine has an intense, vivid color with a lovely violet tint.
The nose opens rapidly on very rich aromas, combining juicy ripe fruit, blackberry and crushed blackcurrant with more complex notes of fine oak that usher in aromas of vanilla, mocha and cedarwood.
Full on the palate, showing roundness and refinement on nicely present, stylish and well-rounded tannins, it mingles very ripe, almost jammy fruit with touches of toast, caramel and spice, building to a highly expressive finish that has charm, power and length. The style of this Mouton strikes a fine balance between fruit, freshness and elegance.
"Backward, powerful, and extremely tannic, the dense purple-colored 2003 Mouton-Rothschild, a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot, fashioned from yields of 28 hectoliters per hectare, with a finished alcohol of 12.9%, improves dramatically with aeration. With full-bodied, meaty, powerful, dry flavors as well as a huge finish, this high class wine should be at its finest between 2012-2040+. During its sojourn in barrel, it reminded me of a hypothetical blend of the 1982 and 1986 Moutons, but since bottling, it appears different, and even more tannic than those two vintages. I still believe the finest recent Mouton-Rothschild is the 2000."
The Wine Advocate
"Blackberry, cherry and currant with just a hint of toasted oak. Full-bodied, with silky tannins and a lovely combination of ripe fruit and vanilla character. Goes on and on. Long and very stylish. Balanced and refined. Best after 2011. 23,330 cases made."