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CrazyFruits » African/Caribbean/UK/GeneralDiscussions » Once-in-a-lifetime tasting of Mouton Rothschild

Once-in-a-lifetime tasting of Mouton Rothschild

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at the Wine Rack

With Christopher Reckord
Thursday, February 06, 2014

A section of the full house that came to taste some of the world's greatest wines. (PHOTOS: CHRISTOPHER RECKORD)

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When the opportunity presented itself for me to taste some of the world's greatest wines, I did not hesitate. I was travelling for my IT business when I noticed that one of my favourite wine destinations was hosting a once-in-a-lifetime tasting of Château Mouton Rothschild dating back to 1959. I had to sign up, even though I was to run the Miami half-marathon in two days. I decided that I will have to be satisfied with a slower target time.

In the lead-up to the tasting, our host Andrew Lampasone, owner of Fort Lauderdale boutique wine shop Wine Watch, took us through an intriguing history lesson. He reminded us that Mouton is the most interesting and the most controversial of all the châteaux in Bordeaux, and its former owner, the late Baron Philippe de Rothschild, would have it no other way. There have been four generations of Rothschilds since the Baron's great-grandfather, Nathaniel, bought the château in 1853; but the family did not take much interest in Mouton until young Baron Philippe came to live on the property in 1923 — the first Rothschild to be a live-in proprietor. It was to signal a new era for Mouton and a new era for Bordeaux, for not only did the Baron Philippe begin to do much to attract the world's attention to the merits of his own wine, he also generated a great deal of interest in the entire Bordeaux region. After 50 years of hard work, Baron Philippe scored a great personal triumph in 1973. In that year Mouton was reclassified from a second to a first cru in the elite 1855 Grand Cru Classification, a long-overdue recognition and the first time a wine had ever been upgraded in this controversial and ossified classification.
Another twist of events began in 1945 when Mouton began its practice of adorning each new vintage with the work of a famous artist (such publicity gimmicks were considered "bad form" among the staid, aristocratic society of Bordeaux.) However, the "label art" today has become something famous in itself (the labels themselves are now collector's items and one must get his original by purchasing a bottle), and the original objections raised have long been forgotten. Some of the great artists of the 20th century have done work for the labels — Braque, Dali, Chagall, Kandinsky, and Picasso. Andy Warhol did the 1975, and John Huston, the movie director, painted the label for the legendary 1982.
What we tasted (with the critics highest scores):
1959 Château Mouton Rothschild Pauillac (100 Points)
1966 Château Mouton Rothschild Pauillac (90Points)
1970 Château Mouton Rothschild Pauillac (96 Points)
1982 Château Mouton Rothschild Pauillac (100 Points)
1985 Château Mouton Rothschild Pauillac (90 Points)
1986 Château Mouton Rothschild Pauillac (100 Points)
1988 Château Mouton Rothschild Pauillac (92 Points)
1989 Château Mouton Rothschild Pauillac (96 Points)
1996 Château Mouton Rothschild Pauillac (96 Points)
2000 Château Mouton Rothschild Pauillac (97 Points)
My favourite was the 1982. It is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon 85%, Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot 7%. Winemakers' Tasting notes: The colour is dense and deep with a slightly amber tint, while the nose reveals aromas of gingerbread, mint, very ripe fruit, blackcurrant and bilberry, with notes of cinnamon, toast and mocha. From a firm and silky attack with an elegant tannic structure of velvety, patrician tannins, the wine develops a full, round body with suggestions of liquorice and caramel. Fresh, stylish, seductive and charming, with notes of chocolate, this is a powerful wine with attractive length.
If I was forced to make a second choice it would be the 1986, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon 80%, Merlot 10%, Cabernet Franc 8%, Petit Verdot
2%. Winemakers' Tasting notes: A dark, intense colour with a ruby tint, this fine vintage reveals a nose of nuts and prunes made more complex by notes of toffee, rancio, peppery spice and cedarwood. The attack is dense, the tannins forward and tightly knit, the wine powerful, rich and smooth, displaying an array of jammy fruit, wild berry and blackcurrant liqueur flavours, leading into a finish on notes of toast.
Interestingly, both scored 100 points by the world-renowned critics -- perfect wines. An amazing evening with equally amazing wines, and as with any WineWatch tasting, ended with a wonderful surprise, a glass of world-class Château d'Yquem 2000, which some say is indisputably the world's greatest sweet wine.
Christopher Reckord — Businessman, Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to Follow us on twitter: @Reckord

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