Château Mouton Rothschild 2017 (Pre-Arrival)
• Domaine: Château Mouton Rothschild
• Appellation: Pauillac
• Classification: First Growth, 1èr Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
The story of Château Mouton Rothschild is proof that sometimes greatness is earned after a tireless struggle to achieve excellence and recognition. Château Mouton was initially ranked as a Second Growth during the original Official 1855 Classification. In 1922, the estate was aquired by Baron Phillippe de Rothschild - a true rennaissance man, who added his name to the label. 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. He also happened to be an enormous personality, and would later refer to Château Mouton Rothschild's Second Growth Classification as a, “monstrous injustice.”
It was the Baron's lifelong crusade to prove that Mouton Rothschild deserved the First Growth designation and as a form of protest, he added the statement to the wine label: Premier ne puis, second ne daigne, Mouton suis (“First I cannot be. Second I do not deign to be. Mouton, I am.”).
After decades of relentless lobbying (for the Official 1855 Classification not only required peer ackowledgement, but also demanded a French government agency's sign-off), Château Mouton Rothschild earned its proper designation as a Premier Cru Classé – or a First Growth - in 1973.
The grounds of Mouton Rothschild consist of 90 hectares of vines, sandwiched by the Gironde estuary and the Atlantic Ocean. Plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and even some white varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle can be found here. The 42-year-old vines are planted close to the Gironde which irrigates them and moderates the surrounding temperature. The vineyards are heavily graveled and gently sloped, filled with vines that produce flamboyant yet powerful wines.
The case of Château Mouton Rothschild is a unique one. These wines are estate grown, picked by hand, produced at the chateau and known for their exotically opulent style. The Baron was also one of the early property owners to insist on estate bottling, a practice that has become the standard since 1920s. Many a member of the Rothschild family delegates their free time to creative pursuits like writing, directing, and acting when not managing the vineyards. This creativity that flows abundantly within the family veins lends an understanding that winemaking is an artform, and since 1945 each bottle of Mouton Rothschild has a special label created by a famous artist under the commission of the chateau. The labels themselves are worthy of a collector, featuring - but not limited to – the works of Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, and Andy Warhol. When purchasing a bottle of Mouton Rothschild, one purchases a work of art.
The spirit of Mouton Rothschild is one of relentless determination and creativity. It is no wonder that their best wines possess a brawny decadence that borders upon ostentatiousness. For the Rothschilds, being “second best,” is not an option. It is no wonder the phrase on each bottle now is: Premier je suis, Second je fus, Mouton ne change ("I am first. I used to be second. Mouton does not change.").
"The 2017 Mouton Rothschild is lucid in colour, quite deep like the Le Petit Mouton. It has a pixelated bouquet with precise blackberry, raspberry and crushed stone aromas, the oak seamlessly integrated so that the aromatics have unerring focus. The palate is medium-bodied with a graphite-tinged entry that is actually reminiscent of Latour in many ways. This Mouton Rothschild is all about finesse and poise, the acidity beautifully judged and with superb tension on the finish. One of the finest Left Bank wines of the vintage, there are few 2017s superior to this." - Neal Martin, vinous.com (February 2020), Rating: 96, Drink: 2025-2055
"The 2017 Mouton Rothschild has one of the highest percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon ever at 90%, with 9% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot. Very deep purple-black in color, the nose is already singing of crushed black currants, warm blackberries and chocolate-covered cherries with hints of violets, star anise, cinnamon stick and cloves plus wafts of pencil lead and unsmoked cigars. Medium-bodied, wonderfully delicate yet intense in the mouth (gaining some richness in the mid-palate on my second taste two and a half weeks later), it has super fine-grained, smooth tannins and incredible freshness, finishing very long with tons of tightly wound layers. Wow. This vintage is going to be very long-lived in the cellar!" - Lisa Perotti-Brown, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (4/27/2018, Issue 236), Ratings: 97-99
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