There was standing-room only at the Great Bordeaux Decanter Fine Wine Encounter as a packed masterclass sampled seven vintages of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild.
The venerable Bordeaux first growth’s general director Herve Berland (pictured) presented the masterclass at Saturday’s event, alongside Decanter’s publishing director Sarah Kemp (also pictured, right).
A rapt audience sampled some of the greatest vintages Mouton has produced: the 1986, the 1989, 1996 in magnum, 1998, 2000, 2003 (pictured below) and 2005.
‘It was an extaordinary opportunity to taste such stellar vintages,’ Kemp said. ‘The star wine for me was the 1989 – I thought it was outstanding.
‘It had all the classic Mouton structure and complexity – but for me it literally danced across the palate.’
Taking the audience through 11 wines altogether (the masterclass included two vintages of Mouton’s dry white Aile d’Argent and second wine Petit Mouton), Berland’s remarks were wide-ranging.
Describing how the artwork is chosen for the famous labels, he said Baron Philippe de Rothschild always tried to associate the year’s main event with the illustration. Thus 1945 was the ‘’V” for Victory.
‘Unfortunately, the biggest event of 1946 was the death of Mahatma Ghandi, and he didn’t drink wine. It became clear that the association wouldn’t work so it was dropped very quickly.’
The two other masterclasses on Saturday were the Cru Classes de Graves, and Pomerol Seduction
The former consisted of a dozen wines presented by eminent producers such as Veronique Sanders of Chateau Haut-Bailly, Antony Perrin of Chateau Carbonnieux and Laurent Lebrun of Chateau Olivier.
Kemp introduced the session by saying, ‘If you happened to be in Bordeaux today, there would be no point in visiting the Graves as all the best producers are here.’
Lastly, Pomerol Seduction, a grouping of nine chateaux from the right bank appellation, including Clinet, Vieux Maillet, La Conseillante, Beauregard and Petit Village, presented a wine range of vintages – the youngest being Clinet’s 2005 and the oldest Petit Village’s 1981.
‘I thought it would be interesting for people to see a much older vintage,’ general manager Marie-Louis Schyler said of the wine, which the panel considered still vibrant and elegant. The vintage ‘was particularly successful in Pomerol – it is sought in the UK for drinking, not investment or display,’ Schyler said.
The Great Bordeaux Decanter Fine Wine Encounter took place at the Landmark Hotel, Marylebone, London on Saturday 23 February.
Written by decanter.com staff