Originally classified as a Second Growth, Mouton made some of the greatest red Bordeaux wines ever in the period after the end of the Second World war and was finally upgraded to First Growth in 1973. Every year since the 1940's a different artist has decorated the label. Since the arrival of Philippe Dallhuin in 2003, Mouton has been on fine form. Grapes are now selected only from the core original vineyard site and the wine is always a classic example of both Cabernet Sauvignon and Pauillac. This great First Growth combines the strength and power of Latour with the polish and charm of Lafite and the unmistakable Mouton notes of cigar box, spice and cassis.
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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. Drink 2025-2055.
The 2017 Mouton-Rothschild was picked from 7 to 29 September and matured in 100% new oak. This First Growth is driven by the Cabernet Sauvignon, as you would expect given the high percentage, expressive pencil lead and cedar that infuse the slightly introspective black fruit. Dare I say that it actually reminds me of Latour in style? The palate is medium-bodied, finely tuned and precise, a more masculine Mouton-Rothschild compared to the last three vintages, fresh with a sustained, lightly spiced finish that lingers in the mouth. That backbone is accentuated more during my second visit in mid-April. It is a cliché but this Mouton-Rothschild is unashamedly “classic” in style, perchance “le petit frère” of the 2010 Mouton-Rothschild that also contained a lot of Cabernet Sauvignon (though before you search the archives, yes, the 2011 and 2012 contained the same proportion!) Tasted twice with consistent notes. 2022 - 2050
The 2017 Mouton Rothschild is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc. Deep garnet-purple in color, it slowly unfurls to reveal notes of warm black plums, baked black cherries, kirsch and freshly crushed blackcurrants with hints of candied violets, cinnamon toast, Ceylon tea and pencil shavings. Medium-bodied, the palate is charged with amazing energy, featuring dynamic black and red fruits and loads of baking spice and mineral sparks, framed by ripe, fine-grained tannins and finishing long and fragrant. Given the intensity of fruit and structure, while this is a relatively elegant Mouton that will be approachable early on, I don’t see it as being short lived. It should give pleasure for a good 40+ years. Drink: 2022-2067
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!
Extremely perfumed Mouton with currants and crushed berries. Hints of roses and other flowers. Tight and extremely refined with ultra-fine tannins and cool yet rich currant character. The center palate offers sweet cherries and hints of oak. Lightly sweet and sour. Fresh, balsamic note. It firms up at the end. Solid. A blend of 90% cabernet sauvignon, 9% merlot and 1% petit verdot. Try after 2025.
This is a very shy and tight Mouton with blackberries, blackcurrants and hints of terracotta. Full body and very integrated tannins that are extremely polished and beautiful. Spicy and white-pepper finish. Sexy and exciting. So long and refined.
The 2017 Mouton Rothschild is a powerful, brooding wine that very much reflects the high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. Not in the mood to show much, the 2017 is also very much closed in on itself. Time in the glass brings out hints of black cherry jam, wild flowers and spice, but that's about it. Readers will have to be patient with the 2017, but I am not sure Mouton will ever be an elegant wine in this vintage. Time will tell. Drink 2025 - 2057
The 2017 Mouton Rothschild is a powerful wine for the year, probably because of the high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. Dense and closed in on itself, the 2017 is likely going to require quite a bit of time to soften. Raspberry jam, pomegranate and blood orange add lift and perfume with time in the glass. There is quite a bit of energy and brightness in the 2017, but not as much immediacy as is common for the vintage. That may ultimately turn out to be a positive for the wine's long term prospects. The blend is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot. "After the frost, which did not really affect us, the major challenge in 2017 was heat stress," Mouton Technical Director Philippe Dhalluin told me. "We had no rain until the end of June. Then, in September, when we needed a bit of rain again, we got more than double what would have been optimal. The September rain affected the Merlot and Cabernet Franc, while the Cabernet Sauvignon was able to take advantage of the last 15 days of the growing season, which were much more favorable. In the cellar, we opted for longer macerations at lower temperatures, as we wanted to avoid extracting the type of hard tannins that mark other vintages with very dry summers, such as 2011.
Healthy, glowing deep crimson with soft cherry rim. Rocky/smoky cassis lift to the aroma. Fragrant with sober and non-exotic fruit. Serious. Super-fine texture, appears gentle but is very persistent, so fresh and effortless and yet intense and long. Refined and accessible but long term too.
90% Cabernet Sauvignon with 9% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot. Philippe Dallhuin believes the 2017 to be between the 2014 and 2015 vintages in quality. This year a typically expressive and expansive aroma profile of coffee bean, roasted fruits, dark chocolate and barbecue leaps out of the glass. The palate is creamy with vanilla and cocoa notes, as well as more exotic star anise and clove. The fruit is juicy and ripe, but compact and folded in on itself on entry. This grows and fleshes out through the mid palate, gaining in intensity and weight, and taming the ripe, chewy tannins that offer ample structure for ageing. The fruit softens and integrates these tannins, giving a very polished mouthfeel despite their plentiful, mouthcoating nature. This is very refined, but the longevity and purity of fruit is the drive that gives the finish length and harmony. A very impressive effort this year.
The nose has a mix of fragrant fruits the start of the palate light minty more bramble and bilberry. It fills out on the mid palate with sweet ripe cassis and black cherry the richness balanced at the back by underlying freshness. 2027-45
Vibrancy is one of the key themes of the year in the most successful properties, and this has bright, plump fruit and good depth of colour, even if it's less concentrated than the past few vintages. The Pauillac first growths have done a great job in 2017, and it's hard to question the depth of fruit and richness here - there's no doubting that this is a great Mouton. Cassis and blackberry notes are delivered with precision, but there is a clear restraint that is another signature of 2017, and perhaps doesn't reflect Mouton's personality as much as some of its neighbours. There's not the same weight of tannins as 2016 (around 70 IPT this year, still a high amount), but it's a beautiful, persistent, gorgeous wine that will age gracefully. 100% new oak. (Image is the 2015 bottle; the design for the 2017 label will be revealed later).
Drinking Window 2027 - 2042
Considering the dominance of Cabernet in this wine the nose is surprisingly fruit driven with both red and black fruit tones. There is some superb tannin here and it is sprinkled throughout the palate from the very first moment until the very last. This is a calm and centred wine with little fuss or fanfare and yet it has a lot of concentration and style about it. Perhaps not the DNA for superstardom, this is still a very harmonious and exciting Mouton.