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Mouton Rothschild

2007 Château Mouton Rothschild Aile d’Argent. A blend of sauvignon blanc, muscadelle and semillon, accounting for its light golden color with aromas of fig, white flowers and traces of honey supported by clear crystalline minerality. Yet to shed its vanilla coat. Not quite as full on palate although it became weightier over time, taking on a mild austerity. Tasted July 2012.

2009 Château Mouton Rothschild Aile d’Argent. Very lovely on the nose, an effusive abundance of apricot, melons, white flowers and nugmet all combining very well to produce an air of great complexity and expectation, but falling short on the palate where it was noticeably steely, lacking in vibrancy and fullness. A pity, but I’m still grateful for the opportunity to sample this uncommon white from Mouton. Tasted February 2015.

PHOTO: ERIC SANDER (www.ericsander.com)

1967 Château Mouton Rothschild. This wine belies its age and supposed poor reputation of this vintage, still showing great colour. Utterly seamless throughout its length though obviously having shed some cabernet weight over the passage of time, exuding gentle earthy tones with lovely feminine fragrance amidst characters of red fruits and plums without any sign of drying out, coming across as being seemingly younger than its fifty years. Poised with lovely elegance, this is a wine that has aged most gracefully. Tasted December 2017.

1983 Château Mouton Rothschild. Rather dark in color. Very muted on the nose, highly reticent, and whatever that came through had a suggestion of dryness although some sweetness was detectable.  The wine was similarly unsmiling on the palate, medium-bodied and rather stern, almost austere. The fruit was definitely drying out, leaving behind mainly a framework of alcohol and tannin. It managed to put on some weight but was still lacking in density, eventually beginning to fade as dinner ended. Tasted January 2011.

1983 Château Mouton Rothschild. Deep garnet core with a vermillion rim, proffering a lifted complex of dark plums, ripe tangerines, shrubs, red fruits and violets that delivered a wonderful fleshy presence on the palate, layered with dense tertiary nuances and dried mushrooms on a mild cedary floor laced with silky smooth tannins, finishing with gentle lasting intensity. Quite the epitome of mellowed elegance. Very lovely. Tasted January 2019.

1985 Château Mouton Rothschild. A prime example of Mouton at its best, beautifully balanced with notes of old Chinese tea leaves, dried tobacco and cigar underscored by lovely sweetness and a dash of prunes. Much livelier than I remembered it to be when I last had a 1985 Mouton about 8-9 years ago. A tour de force. Tasted April 2013. 

1986 Château Mouton Rothschild. Very deep unfathomable red. Unassuming at first, like a nondescript bystander, but it went quietly from strength to strength, taking its time to develop such that it was some time before we realised we were drinking something great. This had power, great stuffing and superb integration in spite of it being seemingly very youthful and backward. It became massive by the end of dinner but one senses there’s still plenty of unrealised potential. Tightly coiled, yet to unfurl its full colors. Tasted January 2011.

1986 Château Mouton Rothschild. In spite of its age, the 1986 Mouton tastes only like all of 10 years. Big, complex and open, superbly balanced, yielding  gorgeous definition with a wonderful depth of redcurrants, dark berries and a touch of tar, remarkably smooth and effortless in expression, its Pauillac signature remaining understated. The perfect wine? Tasted February 2014. 

1987 Château Mouton-Rothschild. Dusty dark red with some browning towards the rim. There was a prominent barnyard aroma that blew off to reveal a most lovely bouquet of cassis and dried herbs, rather deep. On the palate, the wine was medium-bodied, very homogenous and seamless with lots of finesse and elegance, finishing with sweet meats. Clearly a well-aged wine but the fruit is still holding on. Far from being on its last legs. One is struck by its impeccable balance. Tasted January 2011.

1987 Château Mouton-Rothschild. Compared with a previous tasting during a Mouton vertical earlier in the year, the present bottle is even more impressive from this unlikely vintage, exuding a lovely deep rose-scented bouquet of red fruits underpinned by a slightly prominent minerality. Fully mature, of course, yet still holding on very well with very good density in the mid-body, totally seamless throughout, only lacking in real opulence and complexity but it never faded. Tasted September 2011.

1994 Château Mouton Rothschild. The wine was opaque but surprisingly aromatic for this vintage, its classic Pauillac signature of tobacco, wood shavings, dry mushrooms and a dash of forest floor instantly recognisable, complemented by lovely dark currants, sweet prunes and a mild salty minerality that proved to be highly supple, yielding very good mouthfeel. To be honest, it was unlikely one could have identified this as a premier cru if blinded though it certainly surpasses all expectations for a 1994. Tasted June 2013.

1994 Château Mouton Rothschild. Lifted notes of earth and dark plums fill the nose with enticing aromas. Medium-bodied, its lively acidity imparting a high aquiline tone that combined well with the generous spread of dark fruits, blueberries and saline minerals amidst the classic dryish textures of Pauillac. Like Haut-Brion of the same vintage, this wine is severely under-rated. Excellent. Tasted February 2017.

1995 Château Mouton Rothschild. Very impressive crimson though, surprisingly, not quite open on the nose. Fairly big on the palate, hitting the right cabernet tones of tobacco, smoke, herbs and mushrooms with a touch of spice. Moderately lengthy, yet to develop secondary nuances, clearly missing in opulence and charm. Ultimately underwhelming. Tasted January 2011.

1995 Château Mouton Rothschild. Ample lovely pungency of mushrooms, snuff box and earth that leapt out of the glass along with a powerful glow of tea leaves and dried plums only possible from a Bordeaux breed of distinction.  The palate is saturated with ripe dark berries, black fruits and a dash of red plums, superbly balanced, matched by sophisticated tannins that produced great structure and definition all the way to its lasting finish. A great Mouton. Tasted February 2014.

1996 Château Mouton Rothschild. Still deep, dark and impenetrable. Absolutely reticent on the nose for quite some time before eventually revealing some notes of soy and dark plums though the palate was quite the exact opposite, infused with fabulous concentration of dark currants and dense black fruits, full-bodied with subtle dark intensity that imparted a huge sense of depth and layering, yet to unravel its full potential. Like its 1986 predecessor, this wine will take forever to evolve. Amazing! Tasted January 2018.

1996 Château Mouton Rothschild. Deep dark garnet core. Surprisingly reticent though there is never any doubt about the abundance of dark fruit lurking beneath, proffering dark chocolates, complex smoke and incense as the wine became more mellow and relaxed over time, quite seamlessly integrated with very refined acidity but it could do with more layering. Tasted March 2019.

1996 Château Mouton Rothschild. Deep garnet core with a trace of vermilion at the rim. Highly supple, fleshy and open. Deeply layered with cool ripe fruit and dark currants amid overtones of dried mushrooms and tea leaves that underscores its terroir. Rather understated in complexity, displaying great linearity as it finished with growing power with that unmistakable Pauillac signature. Tasted July 2019.

1997 Château Mouton Rothschild. Still darkly coloured, this wine exudes a captivating glow of wild berries, raspberries and mulberries amid traces of capsicum and ground pepper, rounded with supple freshness and succulence of delicious red fruits tinged with dried mushrooms though without the outright opulence of the best years, developing lovely intensity as it finished with good length. Quite superb. Tasted June 2020.

1998 Château Mouton Rothschild. This wine exudes a lovely earthy pungency from its immensely deep bouquet, boasting freshness, good detail and vibrancy on the palate with lovely acidity. Very subtle and classy in its way, already showing good secondary nuances with succulent tones of cedar, tangerines and plummy characters with a bit of dry tarry quality. Excellent. Tasted June 2017.

1999 Château Mouton Rothschild. Deep luxuriant ruby red. Already quite open from the first pour though still rather primal on the nose, of course, with a high-toned minerality and some early secondary characteristics. Gentle on the entry, revealing excellent depth and concentration, quite opulent and rounded with a lovely fruity glow. Kept developing in character and complexity, taking its time to unfold so much so that by the end of dinner, it seriously rivalled the 1986 Mouton. Highly cerebral. Tasted January 2011.

2001 Château Mouton Rothschild. Hedonistic and full-bodied at this stage, the vanilla note from its new wood still very much in evidence. Still undifferentiated and youthful but saturated with mocha, dark chocolate, toffee and graphite that led to a bittersweet finish, mellowing a little over time but still quite unyielding at this stage. Tasted April 2013.

2001 Château Mouton Rothschild. Poured from magnum. This Mouton lived up to all expectations, producing a wonderful earthy pungency from layers of glorious dark currants and black fruits amidst dry textures immediately classic of the Pauillac character, superbly balanced with great definition and linearity all the way to its minty finish. A classic claret of the top order. A great success. Tasted May 2016 in Hong Kong.

2001 Château Mouton Rothschild. Nose of mild earthy pungency with lovely characters of dark currants, tangerines  and blueberries. Medium-full with racy acidity, showing some early complexity as it sat in the glass but it is still early days for a classically structured claret that should last the full distance. Tasted January 2017.

2001 Château Mouton Rothschild. Deep garnet red. Clearly imbued with excellent depth of red fruits and dark currants though unexpectedly restrained on the nose. Softly rounded, laced with very fine acidity that imparted a sense of distilled essence with a trained focus on the medium-bodied palate, fleshing out with a bolder velvety Pauillac presence though it remained a tad short. Tasted September 2020.

2002 Château Mouton Rothschild. Deep garnet red, still rather youthful with subdued dark berries and plums still shrouded by vanillin. Rounded, medium-full and appropriately dry from the Pauillac terroir, finishing with excellent length but yet to develop layering and complexity. Needs time. Tasted May 2016.

2002 Château Mouton Rothschild. Deeply coloured. Darkly flavoured with a bolder extraction of cool ripe mulberries, raspberries and black currants. Still rather tightly coiled with an acidic spine though never astringent, opening up with greater transparency over time to reveal a hint of vegetal trace but it remained cloaked within dark tones. Tasted March 2019.

2003 Château Mouton Rothschild. We had been promised that this wine, contrary to all expectations, is drinking very well now, and it certainly is. Very open on the nose with some of the classic Pauillac signature of tea leaves and tobacco snuff already apparent. Incredibly, it became even more open over time, the wine soft and fleshy against the recessed wood and tannins, leaving behind just enough of the cabernet structure without any tell-tale sign of burnt, just missing in tertiary characteristics at this stage. Tasted July 2012.

2009 Château Mouton Rothschild. There’s obviously plenty of stuffing beneath but this wine is resolutely shut on the nose, though open enough on the palate with fine transparency. Well-layered with ripe dark fruits and red currants amid overtones of camphor and haw flakes, laced with very fine acidity, finishing quietly. A very well-behaved aristocrat that will need many more years to come around. Tasted June 2019.

Photo: http://www.decanter.com
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