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Wine Advocate 90 points
Considering the vintages and the estate, Mouton's performances in 1989 and 1990 are puzzling. I have tasted these wines multiple times since my last reviews appeared in print. The 1989 Mouton-Rothschild is the superior wine, but in no sense is this a compelling wine if compared to the Moutons produced in 1995, 1986, and 1982. The 1989 displays a dark ruby color that is already beginning to reveal significant lightening at the edge. The bouquet is surprisingly evolved, offering up scents of cedar, sweet black fruits, lead pencil, and toasty oak. This elegant, medium-bodied restrained wine is beautifully made, stylish, and not dissimilar to the 1985. It is an excellent to outstanding Mouton that should be close to full maturity in 4-5 years; it will drink well for 15-20.- Robert parker Jr. (02/1997)
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 1989
Weather conditions in 1989 were exceptional, almost ideal. The winter, sunny and dry, but cold, enabled the vines to rest.
Spring was warm and humid, and the vegetation cycle began around 8 April, eight days earlier than the average. Flowering took place evenly from 20 May to 7 June, the earliest for 45 years.
A warm and dry June was followed by equally warm but more humid weather in July. August continued hot and sunny, but a few welcome stormy showers ensured that the vines were well watered.
Veraison took place evenly across each variety and each parcel. Under these conditions, the 1989 harvest was the century’s earliest: from 6 to 25 September.
Harvest 6 September to 25 September
Cabernet Sauvignon 78%
Cabernet Franc 14%
The wine has a deep colour with an attractive ruby and garnet hue.
The pleasantly smoky and toasty nose also reveals some notes of liquorice, spice and cedarwood.
The attack is round, with plenty of fruity freshness over sustained, silky tannins and subtle touches of caramel, wild berry fruit, vanilla, coffee and white pepper. The long finish is generous, harmonious and well-balanced. A very fine vintage indeed.
1989 GEORG BASELITZ
Born in Deutschbaselitz in Saxony as Hans Georg Kern, Baselitz (1938-) took his name from his native town. He knew nothing about contemporary art until he left East Germany at the age of twenty. Initially his painting was marked by an iconoclastic licence and a preoccupation with certain powerfully provocative images - mutilated feet, distorted penises, despairing masks - and by a subversive violence allied to a spiritual quest reminiscent of Antonin Artaud or Baudelaire. In 1969 he painted his first "upside-down" painting. All his work since has employed this conceit, allowing the painter to find a "new distance" from the subject he is painting and to impose, without being any less figurative, a literal revolution on the way the public looks at the world.
His upside-down rams for the Mouton Rothschild 1989 label bring together the traditional Mouton emblem with the great historical shock of that year: the demolition of the Berlin Wall. He has added the words "Drüben sein jetzt hier" - "Over there is now over here".