2018 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild

Year: 2018
Appellation: Pauillac
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 97-99+
Vinous Media: 94-97
James Suckling: 100-100
Jeb Dunnuck: 96-98+--Wine Enthusiast: 97-99--Jeff Leve: 98-100
Red Wine


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"The 2018 Mouton Rothschild is composed of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc—there is also a splash of all the Petit Verdot they had, but it doesn’t even register in the percentage. Grapes were harvested September 10 to October 3, and the wine was blended at the beginning of December; it has 13.8% alcohol, and the tannins were slightly higher this year. Deep purple-black in color, it is a little closed to begin compared to some 2018s, slowly unfurling to reveal a profound nose of warm black plums, blackcurrant cordial, star anise, blueberry pie and mocha with suggestions of candied violets, oolong tea, camphor and unsmoked cigars plus a touch of crushed rocks. Medium to full-bodied, the palate delivers waves of opulent, spiced black and blue fruits with seamless acid lifting this gorgeous mouthfeel that is at once plush from the ripe fruit and firm and grainy from the super ripe tannins, finishing very long and wonderfully creamy.

“We only suffered 2% loss due to mildew in 2018,” Managing Director Philippe Dhalluin informed me. “But we had low yields on all the deep gravelly soils because of the dry period, more so at Mouton than at Clerc Milon. Clerc Milon has three meters of gravel before you get to the clay and limestone that holds the water. At Mouton there are six meters of gravel before you get to the clay and limestone.”

This made for yields of 28 hectoliters per hectare at Mouton Rothschild, while Clerc Milon came in at 32 hectoliters per hectare, and the average for Pauillac was around 38 hectoliters per hectare.

“In late September, it was still hot during the days, around 32 degrees Celsius, but the night temperatures dropped down to around seven degrees to allow the ripening to slow down,” Dhalluin said, explaining how the berries made it over that magic finish line to full phenolic (tannin) ripeness.

All the Baron Philippe de Rothschild 2018 wines were blended early, from the end of November through early December, because the ferments went quite quickly. A lot of Merlot went into the second wines this year. Dhalluin commented that the Merlots were amazing this year, but Cabernet was even better." (WA)

"The 2018 Mouton Rothschild is dense and unctuous in the glass, with striking textural depth and plenty of overall intensity. Super-ripe dark cherry, plum, spice, leather and sweet spice infuse a Mouton that stands out for its unctuousness and fruit intensity. There is plenty of tannin, but it is nearly buried by the sheer voluptuousness of the fruit. In 2018, Mouton is radiant, sensual and impeccable in its balance, even if it doesn't possess the sheer visceral thrill, energy or pedigree of truly great vintages. The blend is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc." (VM)

"I am a little bit speechless about this one. I have not seen such earthy and totally deep character of the soil in a young Mouton in my career. Of course, I didn’t taste 1945 or 1959 when they were young, but I have been lucky enough to have a few bottles in my life. There is really terroir-driven character to this. Layered and so intense with polished and incredible tannins." (JS)

"Representing 76% of the total production, the 2018 Mouton-Rothschild checks in as 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Franc brought up in new oak. The most backward and reserved of the First Growths, this deeply colored beauty boasts a rich, layered bouquet of blackcurrants, graphite, scorched earth, and liquid violets. Deep, full-bodied, and seamless on the palate, it's more elegant than the opulently styled 2016, but it’s still an incredibly powerful and promising Mouton that’s going to live for half a century or more." (JD)

"97–99. Barrel Sample. This wine is ripe and juicy, packed with black fruits and generous tannins that sit on a velvety texture. It is dense, concentrated and intensely structured in bold tannins, but still the purity of the dark shines through." (WE)

"Opaque in color, the purple black hue is gorgeous. The perfume with its sea salt, lead pencil, blackberry liqueur, black currants, tobacco, spice and smoke is a knockout! That will keep you busy enough but it is on the palate where you'll really experience the wine as it hits and coats every nook and cranny in your mouth. The wine is lavish, dense, concentrated and showy. The naturally flamboyant nature of Mouton Rothschild comes though loud and clear. Even with all this voluptuousness, the wine is energetic and intense. The finish remains with you for well over 60 seconds. Clearly, the 2018 is going to be one of the great vintages of Mouton ever produced. The blend comes from 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc and reached 13.8% alcohol. The harvest took place from September 10 to October 3, the Grand Vin represents 66% of the harvest with very low yields of only 28 hectoliters per hectare." (JL)