A bottle of 1996 Château Mouton Rothschild from Bordeaux's Pauillac appellation, featuring a label by Chinese artist Gu Gan (born 1942).
'Tasted several times in recent months, this is a great Mouton, perhaps the finest of the decade. It has a straight down the line, classic graphite tinged nose with plenty of black fruit to go round, the sous-bois and cedar element unfurling with each swirl of the glass. The palate is still youthful after 16 years with firm, slightly rigid tannins that require another couple of years to soften. It is an upright, rather aristocratic Mouton with a reserved, aloof and yet compelling finish. Quintessential Pauillac, one that deserves a little more time in the cellar. Tasted November 2012. 95/100' Neal Martin, 2013
Despite its market prices equalling that of Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Mouton Rothschild was excluded from the First Growth status under the 1855 Bordeaux Classification. Baron Philippe de Rothschild called this a 'monstrous injustice', and some believe the Château was excluded as it had recently been purchased by an Englishman, so was no longer under French ownership.
After intense lobbying, Château Mouton Rothschild was elevated to First Growth status in 1973, leading to a change in motto, from 'Premier ne puis, second ne daigne, Mouton suis' ('First I cannot be, Second I do not deign to be, Mouton I am'), to 'Premier je suis, Second je fus, Mouton ne change' ('First I am, Second I used to be, Mouton does not change').
This Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1996 sold at our online auction for £380