Another vertical wine tasting dinner #116 by the Group of Eight Vancouver was held at CinCin restaurant on December 7, 2023 featuring nine older vintages of Chateau Mouton Rothschild. What a fortunate spectacular way to celebrate the festive season! All the wines were in the older classic style ranging between 1969 (the mystery wine) and 1996.
Also enjoyed outstanding bookends starting with 2004 DOM PERIGNON CHAMPAGNE so structured showing young fresh briskness from the 53% Pinot Noir & 47% Chardonnay blend from a large crop but a leaner excellent vintage that with patience will develop further mature complexity. The final wine was the amazingly precise 1970 CHATEAU D’YQUEM SAUTERNES perfectly decanted and served leaving the tartaric crystals and sediment in the bottom of the bottle as shown in the photo. Not as rich and full bodied as some vintages but distinctively different showing remarkable fresh delicate dry-sweet styling developing great quality complexity from selectively using only 75% of the crop!
Some brief comments on the nine Moutons in two flights served youngest to oldest:
1996 CHATEAU MOUTON ROTHSCHILD: Dark and young. Lovely classic cedar bouquet but a little reluctant at first gradually developing in the glass. Deep powerful cassis big statement but is slightly austere. Not yet beautifully singing but showing potential.
1995 CHATEAU MOUTON ROTHSCHILD: A tad lighter on the rim but more open and approachable than 1996. More mint spicy eucalyptus notes than cedar from a large crop of 72/19/9 Cab Sauv/Merlot/Cab Franc. Too much fine sediment in your scribe’s glass interfering with the wine’s texture. Mixed feelings but enjoyable with the tasty Bolognese pasta.
1989 CHATEAU MOUTON ROTHSCHILD: Lighter red colour. Always find it much better than their 1990. Attractive components but the heavy toasted new oak used plus a touch of brettanomyces detract. Have tasted much better bottles of 1989 Mouton.
1969 CHATEAU MOUTON ROTHSCHILD: Mystery wine was slightly cloudy from cork problems even though using a dependable Durand. Purchased by your scribe at Christie’s London in 1977. Overrated early on release because of the terrible decade of 63, 65, 68 vintsges. Now with fading herbal fruit and prominent acidity is still interesting in that unique Mouton style and well guessed blind as an older Mouton from the sixties by a knowledgeable Group of Eight member.
1988 CHATEAU MOUTON ROTHSCHILD: Initial nose reminded me of a petrol Riesling from Alsace but cleared to a mineral tobacco oaky satiny simpler vintage.
1986 CHATEAU MOUTON ROTHSCHILD: Clearly darkest of second flight. Buckets of fruit on the nose and palate with structured tannins from 80/10/8 usual blend plus 2 Petit Verdot. Somewhat like the 1996 but prefer this 1986 for concentration, balance, and layers which also still needs more cellar time. Amazing long flavours are impressive. Majestic and should turn out to be one of the best Moutons ever made with more time than the already 37 years. Shows better presently with the juicy protein in the Tomahawk steak.
1985 CHATEAU MOUTON ROTHSCHILD: Lighter look with an elegant nose. Ready and much more enjoyable presently with lovely sweet nuanced fruit that is slightly drying though lacks stuffing.
1983 MOUTON ROTHSCHILD: Second darkest of this flight. Deep impressive fruit and underrated coming after the sensational 1982. This is 75/15/8/2 grape mix with 90% new oak. Refined, creamy and delicious!
1975 CHATEAU MOUTON ROTHSCHILD: Deep but paler edge. Much more improved mellower tannins now as it has come together with licorice notes approaching 50 years of age. Surprise of the night. Valuable Andy Warhol label but the contents are much better than you might expect from this controversial vintage Drinking beautifully paired with the extraordinary beef course served.
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