Whilst this does have a rather regal bouquet with exotically spiced notes of wood and perfumed fruit, it lacks the precision and stature of Lafite. It is a large scale wine with an impressive attack, but not the clearest expression of fruit. It is certainly not one of the great vintages from this wonderful Chateau, but we will give it the benefit of the doubt - Mouton is always one of the most introspective and challenging wines to read when young. The core and guts of the wine seem to be hiding. There is however lots of length although the flavours rather bleed into one another; there is certainly more than enough flesh to cover the tannins, so there is no danger of this drying out or being overworked. Our guess is that we caught this juvenile Mouton in a fractious mood and after elevage it will be rather more harmonious. 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc.
Viticulture at the Mouton estate dates back to the early 18th century when Joseph de Brane purchased the estate from the Segur family. The wines’ reputation grew, but following the sale to a Parisian banker, Isaac Thuret, the estate’s fortunes took a turn for the worse. The estate gradually fell into a state of disrepair. Although Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild purchased the estate in 1853, it was too late to turn the estate around in time for the 1855 classification. Originally entered as a 2nd growth, years of investment by the Rothschild family saw the property elevated to 1st growth status in 1973.
There are 75 hectares rising to an altitude of 40 metres just to the north of Pauillac. Plantings are dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon (80%), with 10% Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot and just 2% Petit Verdot. The estate also produces a white wine, Aile d’Argent from their plantings of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle. Herve Berland, responsible for much of the estate’s progress over the past decade has recently moved to Chateau Montrose, but Philippe Dhalluin remains in charge of the cellar and will no doubt continue to push the qualitative bar ever higher.
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.