The Mouton range was an absolute delight to taste this year. Philippe Dhalluin and his team have produced some sumptuous, lavishly fruited wines that are texturally very alluring. D'Armailhac is always an attractive and well-priced Pauillac, but the 2015 is perhaps a little more voluptuous and polished than normal. Produced from 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, there is an impressive bouquet of wild strawberries, violets and hedgerow fruit. The fruit is bright and clear, filling the mid palate admirably before a mineral infused finish. Very good.
Owned by the Baron Philippe de Rothschild empire, d’Armailhac has benefited from financial investment of its parent and the technological know-how of First Growth partner Mouton Rothschild. Situated to the north east of Pauillac on three plots: Plateau des Levantines et de L’Obelisque (near the Carruades croupe), Plateau de Petit Pibran and Le Croupe de Behere. There are currently 50 hectares of vines planted with 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Since 2005 the wines have been of excellent quality and the bar is continually being raised. For those who want First Growth wine-making at a fraction of the cost, you’d do well to look at Clerc Milon and d’Armailhac.
The Cabernet Sauvignon domanates the appellation, in fact some might justifiably call Pauillac the most classical expression there is of Cabernet based Claret. It is sandwiched between St-Julien to the south and St-Estèphe to the north, a stone’s throw from the Gironde Estuary. The excellent drainage of the intensely gravely soils are the key to quality, producing some of the world’s most long-lived wines. The First Growths of Latour, Lafite and Mouton-Rothschild are found here, while other great Châteaux include Pichon Baron, Pichon Lalande, Pontet Canet, Lynch-Bages and Grand-Puy-Lacoste.