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Chateau Mouton Rothschild Premier Cru Classe, Pauillac 2003
Cabernet Sauvignon 76%, Merlto 14%, Cabernet Franc 8%, Petit Verdot 2%
The wine has a beautifully intense, garnet hue and a highly refined nose, rather typical of Cabernet, on aromas of blackcurrant and cedarwood along with caramel and stewed fruit. The attack is lush, the palate rich, on stylish, well-rounded tannins; fruit flavours rub shoulders with spice, Havana cigar and eucalyptus. The finish is very expressive, long and powerful, harmonious and silky. Mouton Rothschild 2003 is one of the great successes of recent years.
Mouton.s legendary status was secure by the 1945 vintage (RPJ 100). It was only a lowly Second Growth then, however, today it has been widely recognised as one of the world.s greatest wines. .Robert Parker called it one of the immortal wines of the century, with decades to go. The 1986 Mouton Rothschild also received 100 points from Robert Parker and the 2009 vintage received 99+ points. In Neal Martin's personal opinion, .the quality of Mouton-Rothschild is a notch below Chateau Latour and Chateau Lafite-Rothschild. It lacks the weight and structure of the former, the elegance of the latter. Like Chateau Margaux there are patches of inconsistency, particularly the 1970's that tarnished their reputation. It sometimes lacks breed, ostentatious rather than profound. But a great Mouton-Rothschild, of which there are many, is a sensational wine that can eclipse its contemporaries. Like Marlon Brando, when Mouton puts in a star performance it triumphs like no other: the 1945, 1953, 1982, 1986, 1995, 1989 and most recently 2002 are brilliant wines. The foundations laid by the late Baron Philippe de Rothschild in his 60 year ownership of the estate should not be overlooked. Upon assuming ownership in 1922, he wasted no time in imprinting his passionate and exuberant personality upon production processes at the chateau. Pioneering the then unheard of method of bottling all production at the Chateau, Baron Philippe strived for Mouton Rothschild to fulfil its potential and made it his mission to earn the desirable First Growth status. Chateau Mouton Rothschild was excluded from First Growth in the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855 which was based on market prices for wines, even though Mouton was trading at an equal price to Chateau Lafite Rothschild at that time. It has been argued that the exclusion was due to the fact that the vineyard was owned by an Englishman rather than French. In 1973, Mouton was promoted to First Growth after lobbying by its powerful owner and the motto was then changed to Premier je suis, Second je fus, Mouton ne change. (First, I am. Second, I was. Mouton does not change) Each year's label of Chateau Mouton Rothschild was designed by a famous artist of the time and this is a significant aspect of the brand's image with labels painted by Motherwell, Warhol, Setsuko and Francis Bacon to name but a few. It has been argued that the art of Mouton Rothschild lay on the label of the bottle rather than on the wine in the bottle. In 2008, Chateau Mouton Rothschild chose Chinese artist Xu Lei to design the label of its 2008 vintage in order to capitalise on its popularity with Asian wine lovers since number eight is considered to be an extremely lucky number in Chinese culture. The Rothschild family own two Grands Crus of Chateau Mouton Rothschild and Chateau Lafite Rothschild, the Cru bourgeois vineyard of Chateau Clarke and vineyards in the USA, South America, South Africa and China.
Wine Advocate 91pts (2003) - Tasted Dec 2014 - The 2003 harvest began on September 15 and finished ten days later. The result is an outstanding 2003 Mouton-Rothschild, but it is not one of the superstars of Pauillac or the Northern Médoc. Its nearby neighbors, Lafite-Rothschild, Cos d’Estournel and Montrose, all produced wines that qualitatively dominate this effort from Mouton-Rothschild. Nevertheless, there is a lot to like. The tannins, which were so tough initially, have softened somewhat, and the nose offers up notes of cedarwood, roasted coffee, tobacco leaf and red and blackcurrants. This spicy, earthy, fleshy, medium to full-bodied 2003 is not one of the stars of the vintage. It is close to full maturity, where it should remain for another 10-15 years.