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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 1999
Flowering began on 25 May and took place evenly and quickly across the three varieties; it was complete by the beginning of June, some eight days earlier than the average for the last 30 years. The spring and summer of 1999 were relatively hot, with temperatures consistently higher than the seasonal average.
Mid-veraison was noted three to six days earlier than average, on 4 August for Merlot and 7 August for Cabernet Sauvignon. Temperature records at the end of August showed an increase of more than 1° C in comparison with the aggregate average for the last 30 years. Beneficial for the fruit, these conditions also encouraged constant growth of the vines, which were trimmed eight times rather than the customary five or six.
July and August were wetter than normal: 169 mm of rain fell during the two months, compared with an average of 107 mm. The rainfall, mainly due to storms on 27 July and 2, 6 and 18 August, did not have the same effect as steady rain, since the water ran off relatively quickly. Fine weather returned on 20 August, enabling the crop to ripen in good conditions. The grapes were of good quality, with high degrees of potential alcohol and a perfect balance between sugar and acidity. Anthocyan levels were high or very high, especially in some Merlot parcels, holding out the promise of a great vintage.
Crop thinning and leaf removal were carried out in the entire vineyard. Fine, very sunny days alternated with dull weather during the harvest period, making it possible to harvest a healthy crop of well-coloured and nicely tannic grapes.