The Famous Château Mouton Rothschild

Mouton Rothschild is a prestigious name in the wine business. This 207 acres estate is located in Pauillac, a well known appellation in the Médoc region, near Bordeaux.

A combination of factors made this vineyard very famous but the main one is its previous owner Philippe de Rothschild and his strong personality. Acquired in 1853 by the family, Mouton Rothschild would become a “second growth” in the 1855 official classification (still in use today) that ranks left bank wines from fifth to first growth. To this day, the only major change to this classification is when “Mouton” was elevated from second to first growth in 1973, after decades of lobbying by the powerful Baron Philippe de Rothschild.

The unique labels of this Château also contribute to its reputation. After the second world war, Rothschild came up with the idea of having each year’s label designed by a famous artist. It became a permanent and significant aspect of the “Mouton” image with labels created by some of the world’s great painters and sculptors (Salvador Dali, Picasso and Miro to name a few…).

I visited this place for the first time in 2013: overall their wine storehouse, facilities and cellars, are all impressive and extremely modern compared to some other big names in the area.

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The vineyard is planted on deep gravelly soils which stand themselves on a limestone base. Cabernet-Sauvignon represents 80% of their vines, Merlot 16%, Cabernet Franc 3% and Petit Verdot 1%. The vines are 44 years old on average.

Mouton Rothschild is also pretty unique in Bordeaux because of the personality of its wine. Its style mixing spicy and smoked aromas remind sometimes more of southern and warmer regions than Bordeaux. In the past decades, this wine wasn’t, in my opinion, as refined and classy in its tannic structure as some of the other 1st growths. However, those days are gone and Mouton Rothschild is now one of the best brands in Bordeaux when it comes to quality.

Tasting :

After trying in April the 2013 samples (see my previous articles) during the “primeurs” week, it was time to taste again the 3 Pauillac wines made by the Rothschild team : Château Clerc Milon, Château d’Armailhac and of course Mouton Rothschild.

What a difference 2 months make to these young wines! This tasting proved again that the primeurs week occurring in early April (especially for the complicated 2013 vintage) doesn’t really make sense. They should really consider, in their own interest, holding it later.

– Château d’Armailhac : I maintain, unlike pretty much every journalist, wine critic, and magazine, that this bottle is better than Clerc Milon. I am not sure if they’re influenced somehow or if they just consider that the most expensive is always better, but this lovely, fresh and fruity wine is extremely pleasant. Price : 26,80€ = $36,09

– Château Clerc Milon : Vanilla notes on the nose. Pleasant in the mouth. Medium body and medium finish. Price : 35,30€ = $47,54

– Château Mouton Rothschild : More potential than I thought it would have back in April. One of the top 3 wines in Bordeaux in this 2013 vintage! Complexity, refinement, fine tannins, good body and a pretty long finish. Very good. Blend : Cabernet Sauvignon 89%, Merlot 7%, Cabernet Franc 4%. Price : 250€ = $336,73

Unfortunately, the prices remained too high in all of Bordeaux this year, compared to the general quality. However, Armailhac is definitely one of the best value for money products available out there. As for enthusiasts or people willing to invest in a 2013 first growth, Mouton Rothschild is a smart choice.

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