Chateau Mouton Rothschild Le Petit Mouton (Futures Pre-Sale) 2018
Blend: 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2018 Le Petit Mouton De Mouton-Rothschild is a beauty and shows both the richer, sexy style of the vintage as well as notable elegance and purity. Crème de cassis, violets, and lead pencil notes all emerge from this richly textured, full-bodied, yet pure and precise beauty. With building tannins and a great finish, it should be drinkable in just 3-5 years yet keep for three decades. The blend is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Franc brought up in 60% new French oak. Barrel Sample: 93-95
Barrel Sample: 92-94
This is a serious, deep and beautifully enticing wine with plenty of that glossy, glamorous Petit Mouton appeal. Ripe damson in colour, it has more Merlot in the blend than a typical year because only a small amount of the variety made it through to the first wine. The Merlots were however, as you see at many Médoc properties, unusually rich and structured and this feels enveloping and hard to resist. Extraction was slow and careful and the liquorice, chocolate, grilled sarment notes are subtle but pressing.
Yields were 28hl/ha whereas a usual year would be closer to 35hl/ha. 26% of overall production, a little less than usual, and 11% press wine. Drinking Window 2024 - 2036. Barrel Sample: 92
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.
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.
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.
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.