Chateau Mouton Rothschild 6-Pack OWC (Futures Pre-Sale) 2018
The wine has an intense, deep black color. The nose reveals intense ripe fruit aromas and nutmeg notes, set off by touches of mint. The ample, full and refined attack opens on blackberry and cherry flavors lifted by a hint of spice. Generous, creamy and well-rounded tannins underpin candied flavors, giving an overall impression of succulence. Great balance between the fruit and the tannins paves the way for a highly refined and exceptionally long finish.
Blend: 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc
Final label art has not yet been revealed by the Chateau.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
I always love that this property shares the same gravel-filled plateau as Lafite and yet the two have such different personalities and interpretations of vintages – with Mouton here absorbing the richness of the year and adding a touch of glamour into the wine as always.
The alcohol, while still very balanced compared to most in the vintage, is unusually high at Mouton because, as managing director Philippe Dhalluin says; ‘usually the poor soils at Mouton mean the grapes make tannins but not sugar, but in 2018 they made both’.
Barrel Sample: 98-100
Representing 76% of the total production, the 2018 Mouton-Rothschild checks in as 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Franc brought up in new oak. The most backward and reserved of the First Growths, this deeply colored beauty boasts a rich, layered bouquet of blackcurrants, graphite, scorched earth, and liquid violets. Deep, full-bodied, and seamless on the palate, it's more elegant than the opulently styled 2016, but it’s still an incredibly powerful and promising Mouton that’s going to live for half a century or more. Barrel Sample: 96-98+
In 1853, Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild bought Chateau 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 chateau 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."
The leader on the Left Bank in number of first growth classified producers within its boundaries, Pauillac has more than any of the other appellations, at three of the five. Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Mouton Rothschild border St. Estephe on its northern end and Chateau Latour is at Pauillac’s southern end, bordering St. Julien.
While the first growths are certainly some of the better producers of the Left Bank, today they often compete with some of the “lower ranked” producers (second, third, fourth, fifth growth) in quality and value. The Left Bank of Bordeaux subscribes to an arguably outdated method of classification that goes back to 1855. The finest chateaux in that year were judged on the basis of reputation and trading price; changes in rank since then have been miniscule at best. Today producers such as Chateau Pontet-Canet, Chateau Grand Puy-Lacoste, Chateau Lynch-Bages, among others (all fifth growth) offer some of the most outstanding wines in all of Bordeaux.
Defining characteristics of fine wines from Pauillac (i.e. Cabernet-based Bordeaux Blends) include inky and juicy blackcurrant, cedar or cigar box and plush or chalky tannins.
Layers of gravel in the Pauillac region are key to its wines’ character and quality. The layers offer excellent drainage in the relatively flat topography of the region allowing water to run off into “jalles” or streams, which subsequently flow off into the Gironde.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.
Tasting Notes for Bordeaux Blends
Bordeaux Blends are dry, red wines and generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, black cherry plum, graphite, cedar and violet. Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines, modeled after the Right Bank, are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure.
Perfect Food Pairings for Bordeaux Blends
Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.
Sommelier Secrets for Bordeaux Blends
While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.