The 1949 Mouton Rothschild is a wine that I have never tasted but as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait. It is blessed with a bewitching bouquet that is atypically outgoing and sensual for a usually more conservative millésime: copious red berry fruit, blood orange, graphite, Tuscan delicatessen with sawdust sprinkled over the floor, overripe Satsuma and whatever menthol was left over from the ’45. But this is all delivered with the most sensational detail and delineation that you are lost for words. The palate is medium-bodied with succulent, lithe tannin, precocious red fruit that seem confit-like, glimpses of dried blood, cassis, sandalwood and fresh figs that have a crystalline quality that is bewildering. Michael Broadbent once gave the 1949 Mouton-Rothschild six stars. This bottle evinced why he had every right to deceive mathematical logic. Tasted at the International Business Wine First Growth Dinner at the Four Seasons. Drink NOW - 2045
Very, very dark crimson. Rich and round and complete. Full and flattering. Mouton really did seem to be on a roll in the late 1940s... Baron Philippe at his most determined? Mouton was, after all, still a second growth at this stage. Drink NOW
Mouton Rothschild is the only wine to have been elevated to First Growth status since the original classification of the Medoc in 1855. The exceptional success and status of Chateau Mouton Rothschild can largely be attributed to one man: Baron Philippe de Rothschild. He recognised the extraordinary potential of the estate and devoted his life to ensuring that potential was realised. His work is now carried on by his charismatic daughter Baroness Philippine, ably assisted by Herve Berland. This most flamboyant and glamorous estate is famous for its artistic connections, embodied in the grand vins's label, redesigned each year by such legends as Picasso, Miro and Warhol. It is also renowned for its impeccably maintained visitor-friendly estate, but its impressive and well-deserved reputation is based above all on the opulence and excellence of its wines.
Due south of St Estèphe lies the appellation of Pauillac, the king of Left Bank communes. It is home to three first growths as well as a plethora of other classified growths. Pauillac's renowned well-draining, gravelly soils enable its dominant grape Cabernet Sauvignon to reach fantastic heights of complexity and concentration. As a result, Pauilac's wines tend to be full-bodied with compact tannins and good freshness. Its aromatics are often what one associates with classic Bordeaux: pencil shavings, black currant and occasional mint. Some of the most famous châteaux of the commune are Latour, Mouton Rothschild, Lafite Rothschild, Pichon Baron, Pichon Lalande and Lynch Bages.