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Wine Advocate 95 points
Backward, powerful, and extremely tannic, the dense purple-colored 2003 Mouton-Rothschild, a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot, fashioned from yields of 28 hectoliters per hectare, with a finished alcohol of 12.9%, improves dramatically with aeration. With full-bodied, meaty, powerful, dry flavors as well as a huge finish, this high class wine should be at its finest between 2012-2040+. During its sojourn in barrel, it reminded me of a hypothetical blend of the 1982 and 1986 Moutons, but since bottling, it appears different, and even more tannic than those two vintages. I still believe the finest recent Mouton-Rothschild is the 2000. RP
Vinous (Stephen Tanzer) 93 points
A heady, exotic wine, the 23 Mouton Rothschild takes hold of all the senses. The ripeness and exuberance of the year comes through in spades as this dramatic, opulent wine shows off its radiant personality. The 23 can be enjoyed now, but it could also use another few years for the tannins to soften. Still, the 23 is pretty hard to resist today. This is an exceptional, deeply satisfying Mouton endowed with notable richness but also exceptional balance. Hints of toffee, torrefaction and dark spices are laced into the finish. In 23 the blend is 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, all brought in between a fairly narrow window of ten days between September 15 and 25.- Antonio Galloni (5/216
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)
2003 will remain in the memory as the year of a heatwave summer and an early vintage. After a cold and dry winter, 37% less rain fell in the spring than the average for the last 40 years. August was exceptionally hot, with temperatures frequently rising above 40° C and less rainfall than normal for the season.
However the vines, being deeply-rooted, never really suffered from a lack of water and produced a crop of healthy, richly coloured and tannic grapes.