Just the mention of Domaines Baron Philippe de Rothschild transports the wine-lover into another dimension. The prestige of this name is a tribute to an exceptional terroir: to hear the words 'Mouton Rothschild' is to conjure up those fabulous outcrops of nearly eight metres of Garonne gravel, sitting atop a limestone-marl soil with traces of iron oxide. In old French, an earthen hillock was known as a "mothon", from which we derive the word "Mouton".
To ensure the family's various wines achieve their full majestic potential, Philippe Dhalluin pursues a demanding combination of viticultural techniques: agriculture is sustainable, organic or biodynamic, according to each property's individual requirements.
The weather this summer and autumn allowed the tannins to ripen slowly and gently, which made for a very calm harvest. The grapes picked were very small with exceptionally concentrated tannins and sugars, which gave rise to a preference for long, delicate macerations, in order to extract juice that was as pure as possible. Unfortunately, the dry weather had a negative impact on the vineyards. The south-facing terroir of Mouton and Château d'Armailhac, on a gravel hilltop, produced grapes that suffered from evaporation due to the heat; the two properties lost 30% of their collective harvest. Clerc Milon was less affected, with a loss of just 10%, thanks to a different exposure and the clay-limestone makeup of the soils.
The unique aromatic concentration and velvety feel of the Mouton Rothschild 2018 makes it one of the property's most glowing success stories. The tannins are abundant, creamy, and rounded; the heady aromas as sweet as candy. "2018 is a successful three-way blend of lushness, freshness and structure,' says Philippe. The tiny quantities produced make this vintage a rare find - one to be scooped up swiftly for one's personal cellar before there is none left!