Dwayne Perreault - Château Mouton Rothschild is one of the world’s most prized wines and this is reflected in its price which, depending on the vintage, can easily run into hundreds or even thousands of euros per bottle. To put it simply, it’s a bit out of my price range. The best I could hope for would be a sample at an organized tasting, such as the latest Winefield’s auction in Amsterdam, where several vintages of Mouton Rothschild were generously made available. As luck would have it, I was unable to attend that day!
But luck swings like a pendulum, they say. So I was astonished to get a phone call a couple weeks later from someone I had met very briefly at a previous auction. We had spoken for perhaps ten minutes, I mentioned that I write about wines for a blog and gave her my card. It turns out she was leaving Amsterdam and had a present she wanted to give me: a bottle of Mouton Rothschild 1997! At first I was perplexed: what had I done to deserve such a gift? But she simply explained that she was moving, couldn’t take the bottle with her, didn’t want any money for it but wanted to give it to someone who could appreciate it. So I told her, “that I certainly can do.”
So this kind soul met me on a snowy day on the Frederiksplein and handed over a 13 year old bottle of Mouton Rothschild, as if it was the most normal thing in the world to do. I thanked her from the bottom of my heart, we chatted a bit more and then she carried on walking her dogs.
Now it would have been gauche of me to drink this wine alone and it was intended for someone who can appreciate it, so I invited two esteemed wine friends, David Bolomey and Jan van Roekel, to taste it together with a Vosne-Romanée 2001 and Gevrey Chambertin 1997 from Martin Noblet. I have a previous posting on this blog about this small Burgundian producer. Here are my impressions:
Since last tasting it in September, the Vosne-Romanée 2001 from Noblet has developed nicely without losing any of its raw vitality. The oak is fully integrated and there is a hint of fur in the nose, along with the peppery cherry. As the Dutch say, this is a wine with boerse elegantie, a farmer’s elegance.
The Gevrey Chambertin 1997 however, was on the way down. Still rich and ripe, but 13 years was all this particular vintage could take. I had described this wine as “powerful and gripping” only half a year ago.
Mouton Rothschild 1997: a dark cherry and blackberry bouquet with a perceptible iodine tint and toasty oak. Very warm, dark and expressive. Bright notes of forest berries, licorice and coffee with very solid tannins and well integrated new oak. It was a pleasure to have met you, Mouton.