Aile d'Argent 2020
• Domaine: Château Mouton Rothschild
• Appellation: Pauillac
• Classification: Bordeaux Blanc
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Varietal: 66% Sauvignon Blanc, 34% Semillon
“When I was a little girl, my father made up a fairy tale for me, the hero of which was a magic teapot. Its incredible adventures enchanted me and beguiled my childhood. The teapot was called Aile d’Argent – Silver Wing.” Philippine de Rothschild of the legendary First Growth property Château Mouton Rothschild recalls her inspiration for the leading white wine of this estate. Aile d’Argent is considered one of the gold standard expressions of white Bordeaux, and this limited production, ethereal white wine is as enchanting as the story behind it.
For those unfamiliar with the history of Château Mouton Rothschild, this legendary First Growth estate did not receive its accolades without decades of tireless struggle. The property was initially snubbed during the 1855 Classification, and when Baron Philippe de Rothschild acquired the property in 1922, he decried the decision as, “A monstruous injustice.” The Baron was a grand prix racecar driver, a screenwriter, a playwright, a theatrical producer, a poet and one of the most successful winegrowers in Bordeaux. His belief in the Château Mouton Rothschild was so strong that he lobbied relentlessly for the French Government to reclassify Château Mouton Rothschild as a First Growth estate. Eventually, his wish was granted, and the property now has the title of a First Growth estate.
Philippine de Rothschild, his daughter, carried on the tradition of expecting nothing short of excellence while managing the property. In addition to improving the grand vin and second wines, Philippine planted a small parcel of the vineyard with white grape varieties. It seems like a strange choice for a Pauillac producer to plant white varietals in a region so often associated with varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot, but Philippine believed in the potential and versatility of this terroir. Sure enough, her plantings of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Sauvignon Gris, and Muscadelle thrived and ultimately produced a stunning, crystalline expression of White Bordeaux.
Aile d’Argent was introduced in the early 1980s, and the idea of planting white varietals at Château Mouton Rothschild was birthed from Philippine’s desire to reconnect with an old Medocain tradition. The wine is very much an homage to her father, the Baron, as he would tell her the tail of Aile d’Argent to comfort her during the frightening and tumultuous time of World War II. During the war, the Baron was imprisoned, and he wrote the story of the magical flying teapot that captivated Philippine’s childhood. The creation of this wine immortalizes both the story and Philippine’s memory of her father. The vines thrive in the sandy, graveled terroir and after harvest are aged in 50% new oak French barriques. The younger generations of Rothschilds – Camille, Philippe, and Julien – tend tirelessly to the vines and ensure the highest level of quality for this wine. The wine has beautiful tropical flavors, and a perfect mixture of precision and tension. Aile d’Argent is considered one of the top tier white Bordeaux wines from the region, and a cult wine beloved by many.
"The wine is apple yellow with a slightly greenish tinge. The subtly complex nose offers aromas of ripe fruit such as apricot, tropical fruit and white peach, complemented by a floral touch and sustained by an intense minerality. On the palate, harmony holds sway over texture and tension, set off by elegant white fruit and pineapple flavours. Overall, this is an assertive wine of magnificent length." - The winemaker at Mouton Rothschild
"The 2020 Aile d'Argent has no Muscadelle this year, no skin contact and no malolactic. It sails out of the glass with fabulously flamboyant notes of fresh pineapple, nectarines and jasmine, plus suggestions of key lime pie, passion fruit and orange zest. The medium to full-bodied palate delivers opulent tropical and citrus fruit layers, supported by plenty of freshness and a decadent touch of oiliness to the texture, finishing long and impactful. So hard to resist even at this nascent stage, I can't wait to see how this is going to age!" - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (6/8/2020, Bordeaxu 2019 Issue), Rating: (93-95)+, Drink: 2023-2035
|Brand||Château Mouton Rothschild|