“First, I am. Second, I was. I Mouton do not change,” as of 1973, the motto of Château Mouton Rothschild.
The estate comprises 83 hectares of vines in Pauillac, planted with Cabernet Sauvignon (81%), Merlot (15%), Cabernet Franc (3%) and Petit Verdot (1%), and boasts an exceptional terroir, both for the quality of its soil and its exposure to sunlight. Combining respect for tradition with the latest technology, meticulous care and attention are given from grape to bottle: hand picking, manual and optical sorting, fermentation vats with transparent staves, maturing in new oak barrels, the Château Mouton Rothschild estate is one of the most well-known vineyard in the world. The average age of Mouton Rothschild’s vines is an impressive 58 years. One of the Premier Grand Cru Classe, it is famous for its bold, high-quality red wine, being highest-rated of all the French wines in the famous 1976 “Judgment of Paris” blind tasting. In 1924 Baron Philippe was the first to introduce full chateau bottling, a practice then unheard of, which demonstrated the owner’s acceptance of greater responsibility for his wines. It’s been at the center of the wine business and technical innovations since the early 20th century, and continues to be an influence on wine making around the world. The château is managed by Baron Philippe de Rothschild S.A., the family firm responsible for the viticulture activities.
Mouton bottles three types of wine on the estate. The highest-end wine is, of course, the eponymous Château Mouton Rothschild itself. Only an average of 40% of the wine produced on the estate is declared good enough to be blended into a bottle of Mouton Rothschild. All of it is harvested from the older First Growth vines and then selected for quality by Philippe Dhalluin, the General Manager.
Like Baron Philippe Rothschild himself, these wines are not shy and retiring, but flamboyant, full of extravagant spices, personality and decadence. It’s a wine for hedonists and sensualists. Ian D’Agata described the 2009 vintage in Decanter as, “Opulent, luscious and rich: Mouton at it’s exotic, showy best. Multi-layered and complex, with wave after wave of ripe red and dark berry aromas and flavors, complicated by sweet spices, violet and cigar box. Rich and ripe but marvelously precise and light on its feet.”