The 2006 Château Mouton-Rothschild has a brilliant bouquet that is extremely well defined: blackberry, minerals and graphite aromas that you could pluck from the ether. That sets you up nicely for what follows. The palate is very harmonious with supple tannin. The silver bead of acidity is beautifully judged and interwoven through this linear and classic Mouton that is reminiscent of those ethereal wines Baron Philippe oversaw during the 1950s. It is all about the precision and classicism without denuding the fruit intensity, to wit, a complete Mouton-Rothschild that is a strong candidate for wine of the vintage. This is the wine that really put winemaker Philippe Dhalluin on the map and rightly so.
A major sleeper of the vintage and a great effort, the 2006 Mouton-Rothschild boasts abundant notes of crème de cassis, licorice, truffles, forest floor and cedarwood. The stunning aromatics are still somewhat primary, but the wine is full-bodied with sweet, abundant tannin. Built like a skyscraper with multiple dimensions, this super-concentrated, beautiful blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon and 13% Merlot should drink well for 30+ years.
Gorgeous aromas of currant, raspberry and mineral. Full-bodied, with ultrafine tannins. Long and caressing, building on the palate. Very pretty, very elegant. Subtle and seductive. This could be better than 2005. Wait and see.
87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, harvested 20 September - 5 October. Very dark purple but with quite a pale rim. Not very expressive on the nose at the moment - seems if anything a bit weedy. Very strict, bone dry, treading a very fine line between elegance and meagreness. They’re obviously playing the finesse card but the finish is very dry and drying indeed. This is very Cabernet, but has remarkably little weight. I think for a great wine to be this light it also has to have a bit more aromatic expression and allure but this may well develop.
Good bright, deep ruby. Great class to the aromas of blackcurrant, graphite, spices, cedar and flowers. The cabernet-dominated flavors are at once sweet and penetrating, with harmonious acidity and firm underlying minerality giving the wine a sappy, vibrant character. Extremely fine-grained wine finishing with very broad, suave tannins that saturate the front teeth. An outstanding 2006 with great potential.
Very much back on form. The black fruits have a touch of spice and white pepper. The tannins are ripe and rounded bringing out the sweetness of the fruit and giving richness on the finish.
A sensational effort, the 2006 Mouton Rothschild exhibits an opaque purple color as well as a classic Mouton perfume of creme de cassis, flowers, blueberries, and only a hint of oak. Dalhuin told me that in whisky barrel-tasting vintages such as 1989 and 1990, Mouton was aged in heavily-toasted barrels, and they have backed off to a much lighter toast for the barrels' interior. I think this has worked fabulously well with the cassis quality fruit they get from their Cabernet Sauvignon. The full-bodied, powerful 2006 possesses extraordinary purity and clarity. A large-scaled, massive Mouton Rothschild that ranks as one of the top four or five wines of the vintage, it may turn out to be the longest-lived wine of the vintage by a landslide. The label will undoubtedly be controversial as a relative of Sigmund Freud, Lucian Freud, has painted a rather comical Zebra staring aimlessly at what appears to be a palm tree in the middle of a stark courtyard. I suppose a psychiatrist could figure out the relationship between that artwork and wine, but I couldn't see one. This utterly profound Mouton will need to sleep for 15+ years before it will reveal any secondary nuances, but it is a packed and stacked first-growth Pauillac of enormous potential. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2060+.
Ever since owner Philippine de Rothschild put Philippe Dalhuin in charge at Mouton in 2004 there has been a dramatic reduction in the amount of wine produced under the Mouton Rothschild label. The selection process has been ratcheted up to the level of other first-growths, and that is reflected in what is clearly the greatest Mouton produced since 1982 and 1986. As I indicated in my barrel tasting notes, only 44% of the crop made it into the 2006 grand vin, which is the lowest percentage in more than fifty years. The final blend includes a high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon (87%) and the rest Merlot (13%). No Cabernet Franc was utilized in 2006, and purchasers will have a long wait until this wine reaches full maturity. Keep in mind that, where well-stored, the 1986 currently tastes like a 4-5 year old wine, and the 1982 is just beginning to enter early adolescence. If you extrapolate from that, the 2006 will need at least twenty years to reach a teen-age status, and probably will not hit its plateau of maturity for three decades.
This extraordinary Mouton should turn out to be the finest they have made since the monumental 1982 and 1986. In early tastings, Mouton often seems to tag along behind the other first-growths. Yet in 2006, there is no question that the Baronne Philippine de Rothschild gave carte blanche authority to her talented administrator, Philippe Dalhuin, to turn up the heat in 2006. Yields were a tiny 32 hectoliters per hectare, the harvest took place between September 20 and October 15, and a minuscule 44% of the crop made it into the grand vin (the lowest percentage in more than half a century). The final blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon and 13% Merlot is unusually high in Cabernet Sauvignon, but it possesses Mouton’s hallmarks of pure creme de cassis and flowers in addition to a toasty oak character. Profoundly concentrated, super-textured, and rich, Mouton’s powerful, full-bodied 2006 is unquestionably a strong candidate for the “wine of the vintage.” Kudos to Mouton’s winemaking team for fashioning this brilliant wine. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2050.
Tasted at Mouton Rothschild. Deep black/purple colour. The nose seems a little over-extracted and lacking some delineation as a consequence. Scents of black cherries, cassis, iodine. Opulent as one comes to expect from Mouton. The palate is attractive, full-bodied, decadent and showy with ripe blackberries, cedar and cassis. The one problem I find is that it is dominated by too much new oak and it is difficult to discern the character of the wine underneath. It needs more poise and delineation although Mouton always improves significantly between now and the summer. Touch of black coffee on the finish. Certainly a commendable Mouton, but I need that oak to become more enmeshed within the fabric of the wine. Tasted April 2007.
Bright ruby-red. Vibrant aromas of cassis, blueberry, cedar and graphite. Wonderfully pure and silky in the mouth, with great subtle, slow-building intensity and superb energy and thrust. A real essence of cabernet sauvignon and Mouton terroir This one really rattled my brain-in the gentlest way. As silky as it is, it possesses bottomless depths. Finishes with big but noble tannins and outstanding length. I loved this wine the spring after the harvest, and it's even more impressive today. This should go on for decades, but today it's hard to imagine this wine going through an extended sullen stage. By the way, I'm a great fan of Lucien Freud's work, but his label for this wine does not do justice to the juice inside the bottle.