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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)
Château Mouton Rothschild 1983
After a very dry and relatively mild January, colder weather arrived in February, with frost and a period of snow. Despite some rain at the end of March, the winter as a whole was rather dry.
Budbreak started on 25 March for the Merlot and Cabernet Franc and on 7 April for the Cabernet Sauvignon. Heavy rain fell during April, more than double the average, and continued throughout the following month, giving the wettest May since 1962, with 122 mm of rain in 22 days.
Dry weather returned in June, when there was only one day of rain, and flowering took place evenly. Mid-flowering for all three varieties was recorded around 16 June. July and August were very hot, with storms that brought heavy rain. The grapes matured normally, and mid-veraison for the three varieties was noted around 20 August. Some rain fell in early September but was soon replaced by an anticyclone which heralded an Indian summer, enabling the crop to reach excellent maturity. Although the weather was favourable to the spread of disease, appropriate treatment ensured that the grapes remained in perfect condition.
Bordeaux / If 1981 was forgotten after 1982, the 1983 was completely overshadowed by 1982, although the harvest was large and of high quality everywhere in Bordeaux. Too much humidity brought about by heavy rains impeded production in many places. In Margaux, some of the wines were even better than in 1982. For example, Château Margaux announced that their 1983 surpassed the 1982. One of the best-ever Palmers was Palmer 1983.
The best wine of the vintage was however Le Pin – no doubt. It is a real bargain, not only for quality, but also for price at 950 euro a bottle, compared with Le Pin 1982 at 4,500 euro in 2015. Cheval Blanc also succeeded fabulously. Yquem started a new ascent this year. Graves got hit by hail storm yielding a small crop and basically non-existent anymore.