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Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1989
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Freshly picked blackberries turn into minty dark chocolate and oozing caramel with domineering eucalyptus on the nose. It becomes yet more complex on the palate thanks to layers upon layers of spices and sage plus fat and rounded tannins. There's a long finish with a bitter aftertaste, suggesting this could do with another 10 years or more of bottle aging. This is a Mouton I found massive at the time, then elegant and slightly austere years later, but today true to its former glory. Like the amazing 1947, it should not be forgotten.
Shows so much ripe and decadent fruit on the nose, from dried berries and raisin to strawberry and sultana. There is a nutty, cedar undertone as well. Very complex and full-bodied, with lots of vanilla bean and ripe plum flavors. This is almost Burgundian in texture: so soft and so attractive, but then the Bordeaux tannins kick in at the end. What a wine. So much ahead in its life, but just coming around now.
Tasted from magnum and presented by Baron Philippe Sereys de Rothschild, the 1989 Château Mouton-Rothschild might not reach the ethereal heights of the 1982 or 1986, but it is certainly a lovely Claret. It has an attractive, slightly leafy bouquet armed with cedar and pencil lead. There is less fruit concentration than I expected, resolutely classic, slightly austere Bordeaux. The palate follows suit. What it lacks in substance it compensates with in balance and personality. This is an understated Mouton-Rothschild that is probably at its peak, although I envisage this offering another two decades of pleasure. Whilst this showing did not replicate some glorious bottles in the past, it remains a very fine Claret that may not be inclined to improve any further. Tasted February 2016.
In 1853, Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild bought Château Brane-Mouton. In 1922, his great-grandson Baron Philippe de Rothschild (1902-1988) decided to take the future of the estate into his own hands. His 65 years at Mouton bear witness to the strength of his personality, his spirit of enterprise and his sense of innovation.
In 1922, he was the first to introduce château bottling. In 1926, he built the famous Grand Chai, the majestic 100-meter first year cellar, which has become a major attraction for visitors to Mouton. 1945 marked the start of a fascinating collection of works of art, created every year for the Mouton label by famous painters. In 1973, after a twenty-year battle, Baron Philippe obtained a revision of the 1855 classification and Mouton was officially recognized as a First Growth.
In 1988, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild succeeded her father Baron Philippe. She has become the guarantor of the quality of an illustrious wine whose motto proudly proclaims, "First I am, second I was, I Mouton do not change."
With hundreds of white grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to create complex wines with many different layers of flavors and aromas, or to create more balanced wines. For example, a variety that is soft and full-bodied may be combined with one that is lighter with naturally high acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.