Robert Parker 94
It is four years since I last tasted the 1996 Château Mouton-Rothschild. Approaching 20 years old, the nose is now open for business but remaining classic in style, a mixture of red and black fruit, hickory, cedar and just a hint of lavender. It is very complex and beautifully defined. The palate is medium-bodied with a slightly herbaceous, undergrowth-tinged opening, the tannins just a little abrasive at the moment, exerting a firmness in the mouth. I feel it is almost as if the palate has not kept pace with the aromatics, requiring more substance to fill out the foursquare finish. If you like a slightly more austere Pauillac then you will adore this, though I don’t think it quite reaches the potential that it showed a few years ago. Tasted August 2016.
Anticipated maturity: 2015-2035
This is the wine that Jean-Marc Quarin wrote about at length in relation to decanting it. This bottle was opened an hour before tasting. Very dark crimson with a little more sign of evolution than the 1995. Solid meat extract sort of nose – very much a notch up from the Clerc Milon and Armailhac. Very concentrated. Quite refined tannins and lovely savour. Worth waiting for, I think, and Philippe Dalhuin is convinced that it needs some aeration before serving. It is pretty solid but there is lots there. Funnily enough this seems a little more burnt on the nose than the drought vintage of 1995. And a bit skinnier.
Anticipated maturity: 2015-2030