Robert M. Parker, Jr.
This estate's staff believes that the 1996 Mouton-Rothschild is very complex. I agree that among the first-growths, this wine is showing surprising forwardness and complexity in its aromatics. It possesses an exuberant, flamboyant bouquet of roasted coffee, cassis, smoky oak, and soy sauce. The impressive 1996 Mouton-Rothschild offers impressive aromas of black currants, framboise, coffee, and new saddle leather. This full-bodied, ripe, rich, concentrated, superbly balanced wine is paradoxical in the sense that the aromatics suggest a far more evolved wine than the flavors reveal. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2030. By the way, the 1996 blend consists of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, and 8% Cabernet Franc.
(77% cabernet sauvignon, 13% merlot and 10% cabernet franc; pH 3.85; IPT 73; 12.7% alcohol; 83% new oak): Bright ruby with a palish rim. Intense, fragrant aromas of strawberry, iris, coffee, white pepper and bay leaf are lifted by an aromatic spice note; one can recognize the cabernet franc here. Rich, dense and suave, with very pure red fruit, cedar and herb flavors that coat the palate and are nicely carried by vibrant, harmonious acidity. Finishes with outstanding length, noble tannins and a late spicy, floral kick. This outstanding Mouton has improved enormously since its release. Tourbier agrees: "We were a little worried initially that this Mouton seemed too rigid, almost austere. Instead, it did a complete turnaround once bottled, surprising us as well."
The last time I tasted the 1996 Mouton Rothschild (maybe a couple of years ago?), I recall it was a bit broody and closed. This showing was anything but! Deep garnet in color, it sashays out of the glass with lavishly dressed, gregarious crème de cassis, baked blackberries and plum pudding scents plus touches of menthol, fenugreek, star anise and sandalwood with fleeting glimpses at dried rose petals and oolong tea. The full-bodied palate is richly fruited, opulent and oh-so seductive, with bags of youthful black fruit and lovely finely grained tannins, finishing with fantastic freshness and length. This was tasted from jeroboam in September 2019. 10/2019