The Le Petit Mouton 2014 is a blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Merlot, a very high percentage of the former, partly due to the higher quality of Merlot that predicated “promotion” into the Grand Vin. It has an intense pencil shaving nose that does not hold back. If you don’t like Cabernet Sauvignon, don’t come near. The palate is medium-bodied with firm, grainy tannin on the entry. There is part of me wishing that there was some fleshy Merlot to alleviate some of the austerity coming through on the salty finish, though that dominance of Cabernet lends it a rather “old school” feel that I appreciate. Drink this not so small deuxième vin with a Cohiba! (N.B. Unlike the Grand Vin, in the second week the wine was showing a little more succulence on the finish and my scores takes account of this.)
93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot. Light crimson. Pretty classy nose. Good intensity of fruit. Very polished and soigné. Really very pretty though without great intensity. Lovely lift and charm. Another very good first-growth second wine (see Pavillon Rouge!). A little underripeness and slight dryness on the finish. Drink 2023-2032
This is so typical of cabernet. Wow. Full body, round and velvety tannins and lots of earthy, spicy and berry character. Juicy and long. Gorgeous. 93% cabernet sauvignon and the rest is merlot. Not really a second wine of Mouton. Excellent.
With 93% Cabernet, this is more briary and powerful than usual, but still finely structured. The Mouton richness is there to come out. Drink: 2019-2028
(93 Cabernet Sauvignon, 7 Merlot) This is a lovely, long, cigar box and cassis style of wine with a good graphite core and a smooth, long finish. It is a little raw and green right on the back palate which distracts somewhat but the overall freshness and depth is admirable. It’s a decent effort, earlier-drinking than expected and definitely related to the Grand Vin.
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.