Le Petit Mouton de Mouton Rothschild 2020
• 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 2020 Le Petit Mouton is a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc, weighing in with 13.1% alcohol. Deep garnet-purple colored, it comes galloping out of the glass with exuberant notes of ripe blackcurrants, fresh blackberries and kirsch, plus suggestions of Indian spices, clove oil and chocolate box, plus a fragrant suggestion of lilacs. The medium-bodied palate has a rock-solid structure of firm, grainy tannins and bold freshness supporting the tight-knit red and black berry layers, finishing long with a peppery kick." Lisa Perotti-Brown, May 2021 Week 3: The Wine Advocate (05/20/2021) Rating 91-93
"The 2020 Le Petit-Mouton is a gorgeous wine, but it’s quite different in style from many previous editions because of a high proportion (72%) of Cabernet Sauvignon. Silky and aromatic, but also quite reticent, the 2020 is going to need time to give its best. Bright red berry fruit, blood orange and striking lift from the Cabernet Franc offer tons of appeal. I especially like the aromatics here." Antonio Galloni, Vinous (June,2021) Rating: 92-94
"The 2020 Le Petit Mouton De Mouton Rothschild is another powerful, concentrated wine, especially in the vintage, and it has a pure, incredibly Cabernet Sauvignon-driven style. Lots of blackcurrants, liquid violets, graphite, and rocky mineral notes emerge on the nose, and this medium to full-bodied, tightly knit, concentrated, structured second wine is going to need a good 4-5 years of bottle age, yet should have two decades of longevity." Jeb Dunnuck, Bordeaux 2020: En Primeur - Part 1 (05/23/2021) Rating: 93-95
"A serious Petit Mouton, with inky depths to the colour, and plenty of tannic hold and bite, with a lovely bitter chocolate brownie feel that steals up on you through the palate. less sexy and exuberant than in some years perhaps, but this is extremely rewarding, with waves of grilled cocoa beans and intense black fruits." Jane Anson, Decanter, Best Bordeaux 2020 Second Wines, (04/30/2021) Rating: 93
|Brand||Château Mouton Rothschild|