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Chateau Mouton Rothschild (Balthus label) 1993

Bordeaux Red Blends from Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
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Winemaker Notes

Readers should note that this wine comes with two labels. The original label, with its delicate yet unprovocative portrait nude of a pre-teenager by Balthus, was banned as a result of protests from America's neo-puritans. What has resulted is considerable speculation in the original label, which is selling at $50 more than the blank creamy white-colored label that is "officially" sported by those bottles of Mouton-Rothschild imported to America. Although Mouton-Rothschild can be among the most inconsistent first-growths, when this estate gets everything right, the wine can be as compelling as any produced in Bordeaux.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 90
Wine Spectator
Mouton comes through again. Impressive '93, deep in color and full-bodied, boasting plenty of currant, black cherry, mint and toast character. Well crafted, showing depth for this vintage.
RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
After less than persuasive performances in two potentially great years, 1989 and 1990, Mouton-Rothschild appears to have settled down, producing fine efforts in recent vintages, culminating with the enormously promising, unquestionably profound 1995. The 1993 is a beautifully made wine which could be considered a sleeper of the vintage. The wine boasts a dark purple color, followed by a sweet, pain grillee, roasted nut, and cassis-scented bouquet that is just beginning to open. In the mouth, the wine may not possess the body and volume of a vintage such as 1990 or 1989, but there is more richness of fruit, a sweet, ripe, pureness to the wine, as well as medium body and outstanding balance.
JS 90
James Suckling
Mouton's great winemaking comes to the fore in this wine in the face of the difficult year of 1993. It's a surprisingly substantial Bordeaux for such a wet growing season, even now displaying strong blackberries and mint flavors. Full-bodied with tannins that are just coming around.
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Chateau Mouton Rothschild

Chateau Mouton Rothschild

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Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
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Château Mouton Rothschild, a Premier Cru Classé from the Bordeaux region and one of the world's greatest wines, is owned by Baroness Philippine de Rothschild. The estate includes 205 acres of vines at Pauillac planted with Cabernet Sauvignon (77%), Merlot (11%), Cabernet Franc (10%) and Petit Verdot (2%).

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."

Pauillac

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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.

Bordeaux Blends

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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.

In the Glass

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. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

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 Secret

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.

WSS7360_1993 Item# 7360