Le Petit Mouton de Mouton Rothschild 2018
• Domaine: Château Mouton Rothschild
• Appellation: Pauillac
• Classification: Second Wine, First Growth, 1èr Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
Le Petit Mouton de Mouton Rothschild is one of the best value Second Wines on the market. It provides oenophiles the opportunity of experiencing the sensuous winemaking style of the famed First Growth, Château Mouton Rothschild. Château Mouton was initially ranked as a Second Growth during the original Official 1855 Classification. In 1922, the estate was acquired by the legendary Baron Phillippe de Rothschild - a true renaissance 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.
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. The Second Wine, Le Petit Mouton, is handled with the exact care and devotion that is used when creating the grand vin. The younger vines are used in creating Le Petit Mouton, and there is an exuberant quality to this wine. There is a similar opulence and hedonism that is associated with the grand vin and aromas of coffee, mocha, and blackberries are often found in this sumptuous wine. Like the grand vin the label is inspired by fine art, with the drawing of a famous poster artist, Jean Carlu. The label was initially designed in 1927 and captures the theme of the vine, with sensual shapes and Art Deco elements.
For the Rothschilds, being “second best,” is not an option, and this ethos applies to their Second Wine as well. 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 Le Petit Mouton is an atypical vintage insofar as it contains a higher percentage of Merlot this year. It presents a very pure, almost Right Bank bouquet of wild strawberry, raspberry and crushed stone aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with a fresh, lively entry, firm grip and good volume. A subtle finishing note of cracked black pepper note lingers in the mouth. Excellent." - Neal Martin, vinous.com, (November, 2019), Ratings: 91-93, Drink: 2023-2040
"The 2018 Le Petit Mouton is blended of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc, harvested September 10 to October 3. It represents about 26% of the total crop and has 14% alcohol—the alcohol has never been this high! Deep garnet-purple, it comes bounding out of the glass with sit-up-and-beg notes of crème de cassis, plum preserves and mulberries plus nuances of chocolate box, Chinese five spice, licorice and candied violets. Full-bodied, rich and oh-so-hedonic, the palate is packed with juicy black fruit layers wrapped in a firm, velvety structure, with loads of fragrant spice layers on the very long finish." - Lisa Perotti-Brown, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, Ratings: (92-94)+
"A brilliant effort that matches most estates' Grand Vins, the 2018 Le Petit Mouton De Mouton Rothschild (56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc) reveals a deep purple hue as well as a ripe yet fresh bouquet of crème de cassis, candied violets, graphite, lead pencil shavings, and background oak, with a touch of rocky, crushed stone-like minerality showing with time in the glass. Beautifully concentrated and full-bodied, with a solid spine of acidity and ripe polished tannins, give bottles 5-7 years, and it's going to evolve for 20-30 years or more. This is a serious, elegant yet powerful second wine." - Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com, Rating: 94+, Drink: 2026-2056
|Château Mouton Rothschild