Château Mouton Rothschild 2018 (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 2018 Mouton Rothschild is blessed with a glorious and extremely pure bouquet of blackberry, wild strawberries, touches of blueberry and pressed violets, almost Margaux-like in style. As usual, the new oak is seamlessly integrated. There is an undercurrent of exoticism here, but it is very discreet and never overshadows the DNA of Mouton. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit, a fine line of acidity and layers of opulent black fruit. This is one of the more extravagant Mouton Rothschilds in recent years, a little sweeter on the finish compared to the previous two vintages, yet maintaining freshness and tension. It will be irresistible in its youth, although it will benefit from a decade in bottle." - Neal Martin, vinous.com (November 2019), Ratings: 95-97, Drink: 2026-2060
"The 2018 Mouton Rothschild is composed of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc—there is also a splash of all the Petit Verdot they had, but it doesn’t even register in the percentage. Grapes were harvested September 10 to October 3, and the wine was blended at the beginning of December; it has 13.8% alcohol, and the tannins were slightly higher this year. Deep purple-black in color, it is a little closed to begin compared to some 2018s, slowly unfurling to reveal a profound nose of warm black plums, blackcurrant cordial, star anise, blueberry pie and mocha with suggestions of candied violets, oolong tea, camphor and unsmoked cigars plus a touch of crushed rocks. Medium to full-bodied, the palate delivers waves of opulent, spiced black and blue fruits with seamless acid lifting this gorgeous mouthfeel that is at once plush from the ripe fruit and firm and grainy from the super ripe tannins, finishing very long and wonderfully creamy." - Lisa Perotti-Brown, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (4/23/2019, Bordeaux 2018 Issue), Ratings: 97-99
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