Following Chateau Margaux’s lead from yesterday, Pauillac First Growth Chateau Mouton-Rothschild released its 2010 prices today. The chateau, classified as a Second Growth in the 1855 Classification, is the only estate to have been promoted in the hierarchy. It joined the four other First Growths (Lafite, Latour, Margaux, and Haut Brion) in 1973 after years of lobbying.
Brief History of the Mouton Rothschild Dynasty
The Rothschild dynasty dates back to the late 1700s with Jewish banker, Mayer Amschel Rothschild, who sent his five sons to the five major European cities (Paris, London, Frankfurt, Naples, and Vienna). The five arrows on all Domaines Barons de Rothschild (the group that owns Lafite) wines represent these five family branches.
In 1853, Nathaniel Rothschild (London branch) bought the Mouton estate. Much to his dismay, the vineyard was listed as a Second Growth during the 1855 Classification. Some theories claim that Mouton was downgraded to Second Growth status because an Englishman owned it.
Regardless of why, this led him to coin the phrase “Premier ne puis, second ne daigne, Mouton suis” (“First I cannot be, second I reject, Mouton I am”). Nathaniel’s uncle, James Rothschild, bought Lafite 15 years later for a hefty sum.
Fast forward a few years. Philippe de Rothschild took over at Mouton in 1922 and passionately crusaded to change its second growth status. His cousin, Baron Elie de Rothschild who was now at Lafite, vehemently opposed the status change and fought Philippe bitterly for years.
The family feud died down in 1973 when Baron Elie allowed Mouton to be promoted. Nathaniel’s phrase was also upgraded to “Premier je suis, second je fus, Mouton ne change.” (“First I am, second I was, Mouton doesn’t change.”)
Philippe’s daughter, Philippine de Rothschild, took over operations in the 1980s is now the sole owner of Mouton (and Second Growth Pauillac estates, Clerc-Milon and d’Armailhac, among others).
2010 Mouton Rothschild
The 2010 vintage has received excellent scores from Robert Parker (97-100), Jancis Robinson (18.5), Decanter (19.5), James Suckling (99-100), and Wine Spectator (95-98).[quote]The 2010 Mouton is dense blackish red with a purple rim and is an assemblage dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon (94%) with a minor Merlot component (6%). The nose impresses immediately with its complexity and concentration even though it is quite reserved. It offers enticing red fruit and spice notes together with a whiff of vanilla from quality new barrels. There is an intriguing, faint herbal-olive accent. The palate exhibits great presence, poise and reserve, opening slowly to show multidimensional
though restrained aromatics. The generous center is wrapped up by a well-integrated framework of acidity and fine tannin. The 2010 Mouton, as a barrel sample, is a challenge to taste given its primary state, yet all its attributes indicate that this is will be a great wine with a very long life. – Roger Bohmrich, Master of Wine[/quote]
For a cheaper alternative to this pricy First Growth, check out the estate’s second label, Le Petit Mouton.[quote]Dark reddish mulberry purple, the 2010 Le Petit Mouton, the second wine of Mouton Rothschild, is striking for its lovely fresh, clean, lifted aroma showing a complex of ripe red apple, cherry, plum and high-quality oak. With an assemblage relying on 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Franc, this very fine Pauillac boasts noteworthy class and understatement along with particularly pure fruit qualities. The palate is clean, supple and harmonious with fine, integrated acidity and tannins. A superb Petit Mouton. – Roger Bohmrich, Master of Wine[/quote]
Both 2010 Mouton Rothschild wine futures are now available for purchase at Millesima USA.