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  • Country ranking ?

    3 427
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  • Decanting time

    2h
  • When to drink

    now to 2040
  • Food Pairing

    Blanquette de veau

Each year, Wine Spectator editors survey the wines reviewed over the previous 12 months and select our Top 100, based on quality, value, availability and excitement. This annual list honors successful wineries, regions and vintages around the world.

Château Mouton-Rortschild 1988  was on the second place in the Wine of the Year list in 1991

A magnificent wine that's ripe, powerful, seductive and amazingly deep. Massively concentrated and bursting with currant, plum, berry, cedar, chocolate and all sorts of exotic spice flavors, yet it keeps its balance, never going to excess. Lingers on the finish for minutes. A classic. Best from 2000 through 2010. 20,000 cases made.  100 points

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The Story

Château Mouton Rothschild A Premier Cru Classé in 1973, Château Mouton Rothschild, owned by Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, consists of 205 acres of vines near Pauillac, in the Médoc, North West of the city of Bordeaux. This Premier Cru benefits from exceptionally good natural conditions, both in the quality of the soil, the position of its vines and their exposure to the sun. It is regarded today as one of the world's greatest wine. 


The name Mouton is said to be derived from the word „Motte“ meaning mound or elevation of the ground. It was bought in 1853 by Philippe de Rothschilds great-grand father it was in a fairly bad shape and when the classification of 1855 was set up it was not deemed to be good enough to be qualified as a first growth but put in first place amongst the second growths. An injustice it took Philippe de Rothschild until 1973 to rectify. 1920s Philippe de Rothschild called together the owners of Haut Brion, Latour, Lafite, Margaux and Yquem to talk about the idea of bottling and marketing their wines on their own.

The first vintage to be bottled exclusivly at the château was the 1924 vintage. To commemorate this, the cubistic painter Carlu was asked to design the label, yet another revolutionary idea in this most conservative of surroundings. The idea of an artist designing the labels was dropped until 1945 when Philippe Jullian was asked to design a label commemorating the victory over nazi Germany. Since then works of such famous artists as Picasso, Miró, Dali, Chagall and personalities like John Huston and Prince Charles have been used for the labels.
In 1988, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, who had already been associated with her father's work for some time, succeeded her father. She has in turn become the guarantor of the quality of an illustrious wine whose motto proudly proclaims : "Premier je suis, second je fus, Mouton ne change". First I am, second I was, I Mouton do not change

Vineyard soil: very deep gravel on a limestone base Production area: 82.5 ha Grape varieties: 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot Average age of vines: 48 years Harvest method: hand picked. The grapes from the younger vines are harvested first and vinified separately.

Winemaking: Before destemming, the grapes are hand-sorted then selected one by one. Vinification depends on each vintage and the characteristics of each vat. All the relevant parameters, such as temperature, pumping over, aeration, vatting time and running off, are monitored by the technical manager, the cellar-master and the laboratory.
Ageing: 19 to 22 months in oak barrels (almost all new, the percentage varying according to the vintage)
 

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Vintage 1988

Château Mouton Rothschild 1988 / Climatic conditions
The winter was particularly mild, free of frost but very wet, and there were many more rainy days than the average during the first quarter of the year. The heavy rainfall continued during the spring, with higher than average temperatures.

Under these conditions the vines started budding relatively early, on 4 April for the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and 7 April for the Cabernet Franc. Mild, rather wet weather prevailed through May and June, and as much rain fell during the first six months of 1988 as in an average year.

Mid-flowering was observed between 26 and 29 May depending on the variety. The vines flowered evenly over a short period, enabling the fruit to set more or less normally, and there was little coulure or millerandage despite the climatic conditions. A hot, dry summer caused veraison to occur slightly earlier than the average, though it was less even than the flowering.

Mid-veraison was noted on 12 August for the Merlot, 15 August for the Cabernet Sauvignon and 16 August for the Cabernet Franc. Too much rainfall in spring and too little in summer disrupted the vegetation cycle and the vines suffered from an unbalanced water supply. However, showers in early September followed by very hot weather allowed the crop to mature normally. In weather conditions that favoured the spread of disease, effective treatment ensured that the vines and grapes were properly protected and the harvest produced a healthy and abundant crop.

1988 KEITH HARING
Born in Pennsylvania, the American sculptor and painter Keith Haring (1958-1990) became during the Eighties one of the best-known creators of New York's "East Village". He avoided the elitism of the galleries by his public works in the inner city: graffiti in the subways and his "Radiant Child" in lights in Times Square which was to become his trade-mark, a simple line-drawing that could have been made with a magic marker, surrounded by the halo of lines always used in comic strips to indicate surprise or amazement. Haring described himself modestly as a "twentieth-century image-maker". He is also, with his blend of comedy and tragedy, a poet of our time.

His design for the 1988 Mouton Rothschild vintage is a satirical version of the Dancing Rams theme, perhaps also making an ironic reference to Mouton Rothschild's official coat of arms.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

14 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Deep, Purple and Bright

ending

Long, Smooth and Round

flavors

Meaty, Blackberry, Blackcurrant and Vanilla

nose

Complex, Fresh, Generous and Open

recommend

Yes

taste

Average in Acidity, Medium tannin, Balanced, Well-structured, Complex, Developing, One-dimensional, Round, Harmonious, Rich, Dry and Drying tannins

Verdict

Oxidised

Written Notes

1988 had a better nose than I expected, classic in style with its cedar, walnut, cassis, minerals and earth. Frank said that it was still 'austere. So dry, it gives me goose bumps.' He was a little ahead of me already! The nose was stereotypically perfect, almost, and slate and plum rounded it out but cedar was the dominating factor, a profile which Elaine could not get past. Unfortunately, the palate lived up to my expectations of 'Mouton-lite.' It just lacked the weight and texture in the mouth. There was cedar, pencil shavings, earth and not much more. Who gave this 100 points again?

  • 88p
Good dark and deep colour. Appealing, fruity and ripe open nose. Very rich and complex – very ripe. Fantastically round, full, meaty, intense and good structure – a dazzling bottle! No rush – will last many more years. For me much better than the 1989, which I tasted together with this one – this feels much younger and has better balance and harmony. Perhaps the wine of the vintage
  • 94p

Deep and intense on the nose, refined with finesse. Well-balanced, well-constructed and complex with very long finish. Impresive stuff with many years to improve even further.

  • 94p

Information

Origin

Pauillac, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Above Average

Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential

No Potential

Fake factory

None

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.

88p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Château Mouton-Rothschild 1988  ( Château Mouton-Rothschild )

1988 had a better nose than I expected, classic in style with its cedar, walnut, cassis, minerals and earth. Frank said that it was still 'austere. So dry, it gives me goose bumps.' He was a little ahead of me already! The nose was stereotypically perfect, almost, and slate and plum rounded it out but cedar was the dominating factor, a profile which Elaine could not get past. Unfortunately, the palate lived up to my expectations of 'Mouton-lite.' It just lacked the weight and texture in the mouth. There was cedar, pencil shavings, earth and not much more. Who gave this 100 points again?

6d 11h ago

94p
 Izak Litwar / The most important Scandinavian Bordeaux Critic, Pro (Denmark)  tasted  Château Mouton-Rothschild 1988  ( Château Mouton-Rothschild )

Deep and intense on the nose, refined with finesse. Well-balanced, well-constructed and complex with very long finish. Impresive stuff with many years to improve even further.

2m 4d ago

94p
 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  Château Mouton-Rothschild 1988  ( Château Mouton-Rothschild )

"Good dark and deep colour. Appealing, fruity and ripe open nose. Very rich and complex – very ripe. Fantastically round, full, meaty, intense and good structure – a dazzling bottle! No rush – will last many more years. For me much better than the 1989, which I tasted together with this one – this feels much younger and has better balance and harmony. Perhaps the wine of the vintage"

1y 6m ago

92p
 Georg Linde, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  Château Mouton-Rothschild 1988  ( Château Mouton-Rothschild )

","Typical soapy palate, admittedly slightly harsh and green but with a nice sweetness underneath. I really like this.""

1y 9m ago

93p
 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  Château Mouton-Rothschild 1988  ( Château Mouton-Rothschild )

"Good dark and deep colour. Appealing, fruity and ripe open nose. Very rich and complex – very ripe. Fantastically round, full, meaty, intense and good structure – a dazzling bottle! No rush – will last many more years. For me much better than the 1989, which I tasted together with this one – this feels much younger and has better balance and harmony. Perhaps the wine of the vintage. "

2y 2m ago

89p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Château Mouton-Rothschild 1988  ( Château Mouton-Rothschild )

"The 1988 Mouton Rothschild had nice t ‘n a and felt tight. It was white smoky with a dry, wheaty finish (89)."

3y 6d ago

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