Vertical Tasting of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild (Aug 2011)

(a blend of 78% cabernet sauvignon, 14% cabernet franc and 8% merlot; ph 3.8; IPT 60; 12.7% alcohol; 96% new oak; 91% selection for the grand vin): Bright red with a pale rim. Floral, aromatic nose offers scents of lavender, sour red cherry, strawberry jelly, vanilla, cinnamon and minerals. Sweet, suave and fresh, with lively if delicate flavors of ripe red berries and plum nicely lifted by aromatic spices and cedar. Finishes bright and pure, with an enticing sense of refinement, but a tad short and diffuse. A very attractive wine but I would have liked a little more concentration. Tourbier feels that the ultra-hot year caused a super-ripening of the grapes, which led to softer tannins, less color and a slight compression of aromas and flavors. Ready to drink now. The average yield here of 65 hectoliters per hectare was higher than that of 1990 but lower than 1986. The summer was the second hottest recorded at the time since the war, and the vintage also recorded the lowest rainfall since 1949. Incidentally, this was Eric Tourbier’s first vintage. The high new oak percentage, he told me, is a reflection of the fact that the vintage was considered a great one and Mouton bought a lot of new barrels that year. The very early harvest took place from September 6 through 25.