I remember a friend of mine decanting a magnum of the 1953 and sticking it under my nose to share with me the incredible bouquet. In addition to the exotic aromas of soy sauce, new saddle leather, cassis, herbs, and spices, the 1953 offers a deep ruby color with some amber at the edge. Sweet and fat, with voluptuously-textured fruit, this low acid wine has no noticeable tannin. While it may be living dangerously, it is a decadent treat if it is drunk immediately after decanting.
The 1953 Mouton-Rothschild is a wine that I have only tasted once before, when it utterly transfixed its audience with transcendental beauty. This magnum was quite different and initially I wondered whether it was correct. Then later, perusing Robert Parker's own tasting note, I found many similarities between our observations. Deep in color, it showed little sign of ageing on the rim. It has a rich and exotic bouquet with mint, juniper berries, leather and roasted herbs, quite atypical for 1953 Left Banks that are usually more elegant and less rich. The palate is structured and dense, the acidity lower than expected, unashamed "old-school" claret with what felt like a lot of volatility on the finish like a 1947 Claret. It actually improved in the glass, achieving more harmony and tempering its fieriness on the finish. It left me intrigued as to how this shows between bottle and larger formats.
This looked the oldest of the three 1953s tasted together (with Lafite and Latour). Tingly fine concentration initially although the acidity made its presence increasingly felt as the wine developed in the glass. Quite rich and throat-warming. This wine is waning but initially it did taste very, very sweet. Pretty complete. 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.