A sensational effort, the 2006 Mouton Rothschild exhibits an opaque purple color as well as a classic Mouton perfume of creme de cassis, flowers, blueberries, and only a hint of oak. Dalhuin told me that in whisky barrel-tasting vintages such as 1989 and 1990, Mouton was aged in heavily-toasted barrels, and they have backed off to a much lighter toast for the barrels' interior. I think this has worked fabulously well with the cassis quality fruit they get from their Cabernet Sauvignon. The full-bodied, powerful 2006 possesses extraordinary purity and clarity.
A large-scaled, massive Mouton Rothschild that ranks as one of the top four or five wines of the vintage, it may turn out to be the longest-lived wine of the vintage by a landslide. The label will undoubtedly be controversial as a relative of Sigmund Freud, Lucian Freud, has painted a rather comical Zebra staring aimlessly at what appears to be a palm tree in the middle of a stark courtyard. I suppose a psychiatrist could figure out the relationship between that artwork and wine, but I couldn't see one. This utterly profound Mouton will need to sleep for 15+ years before it will reveal any secondary nuances, but it is a packed and stacked first-growth Pauillac of enormous potential. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2060+. Ever since owner Philippine de Rothschild put Philippe Dalhuin in charge at Mouton in 2004 there has been a dramatic reduction in the amount of wine produced under the Mouton Rothschild label.
The selection process has been ratcheted up to the level of other first-growths, and that is reflected in what is clearly the greatest Mouton produced since 1982 and 1986. As I indicated in my barrel tasting notes, only 44% of the crop made it into the 2006 grand vin, which is the lowest percentage in more than fifty years. The final blend includes a high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon (87%) and the rest Merlot (13%). No Cabernet Franc was utilized in 2006, and purchasers will have a long wait until this wine reaches full maturity. Keep in mind that, where well-stored, the 1986 currently tastes like a 4-5 year old wine, and the 1982 is just beginning to enter early adolescence. If you extrapolate from that, the 2006 will need at least twenty years to reach a teen-age status, and probably will not hit its plateau of maturity for three decades.