AILE D'ARGENT

2020 Château Mouton Rothschild

EN PRIMEUR

The 2020 Aile d'Argent is terrific. Aromatic and vibrant, it possesses terrific energy and a bit more verve than in the past. The blocked malo style works especially well in this vintage. The Sauvignon Blanc is quite expressive, especially in the wine's aromatic profile. Drinking range: 2022 - 2030 Rating: 91-93 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (Jun 2021)

In Bond

75cl bottles (wood case of 6)

* This is a pre-shipment/primeur offer. All orders are accepted under the TERMS of this offer which differ from the terms of the rest of the site.

The 2020 Aile d’Argent was picked early, from August 24, to keep the acidity, with no skin contact and no malolactics in the final blend. The winemaking team used all the Sauvignon Gris to obtain richness, and the wine will be bottled in early June. It has an alluring, perfumed bouquet of honeysuckle, orange pith and lime scents, very well defined and the oak skillfully integrated. The palate is smooth in texture, displaying just the right amount of bitterness to lend edge on the entry, and quite tangy compared to recent vintages, featuring lime, melon and gooseberry notes, touches of lemongrass coming through toward the finish. Delicious. Drinking range: 2023 - 2030 Rating: 91-93 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (May 2021)

I am becoming rather keen on this wine as it gradually tightens up its demeanour as the years pass. While I enjoyed the lush older vintages with their flamboyant oak and hedonistic richness this stylish, cooler, more dynamic model is far more appealing to my palate. While it is barrel fermented, there is no skin contact or malolactic fermentation here, so this is a balletic wine with both power and grace. Only a month off being bottled (in June 2021), this is probably the one wine in this entire Report which is most similar to the finished object and so I can tell you with every confidence that it is a glittering gem of a wine. Cool, refreshing, tangy and super-long, this is an Aile d’Argent which will work well as a young, feisty wine and also as an older beauty. This is superb winemaking and I think that this is the closet that this wine has got to perfect balance in all of the vintages that I have tasted. Rating: 18 Matthew Jukes www.matthewjukes.com (May 2021)

The first year made entirely under the direction of Jean-Emmanuel Danjoy. I was expecting this to be the wine in the Mouton stable with the most evident transition from Philippe Dhalluin, and certainly you see a little less exuberance, a little more sculpting rather than width, with sea breeze and citrus aromatics. Plenty of bright pineapple and apricot flavours, with nuance and balance, and the salty cracker finish that you always want from this wine. Will be bottled in June 2021. Harvest began on August 24 (same as 2011, joint earliest on record) through to 28. No more malolactic during winemaking as you saw (usually just 5-10%) under Dhalluin, and no skin contact, but the rich mouthfeel is instead found through a higher proportion of Sauvignon Gris, and no longer co-fermented with the Sauvignon Blanc. Drinking range: 2022 - 2030 Rating: 93 Jane Anson, Decanter (May 2021)

66% Sauvignon (Blanc and Gris), 34% Sémillon. Cask sample (to be bottled June 2021). Ripe and aromatic with citrus and tropical-fruit notes. Palate mellow and juicy with adequate freshness. Best drunk early and on the fruit. Good but pricey. Drinking range: 2022 - 2025 Rating: 16.5 James Lawther MW, www.JancisRobinson.com (Apr 2021)

1855 classification (revised 1973) - Premier Grand Cru Classé The Ségur family, who owned at one time both Lafite and Latour, and had a hand briefly in Haut Brion, also owned Mouton for two years. They sold it to Joseph de Brane in 1720 and the estate was re-christened Brane-Mouton. Unfortunately, it was an estate without a château, the buildings having been sold seperately to Dominique Armailhacq and forming the nucleus of what is today Château d'Armailhac. Under the de Brane family, Mouton steadily gathered a reputation for its wine, with prices nearly equalling the best estates of the day. The de Branes sold Mouton in 1830 and the new owners failed to keep up the previous high standards. In 1853, Brane-Mouton became Mouton-Rothschild when Nathaniel Rothschild purchased the estate, and Mouton-Rothschild started its steady rise to become one of the world's iconic wines. Not iconic enough in 1855 to be granted Premier Grand Cru Classé - a slight described by Baron Phiippe as "the monstrous injustice". It was said that the recent sale of the estate to an Englishman prevented Mouton's recognition among the elite, the truth is probably more complicated. However, the "monstrous injustice" was corrected in 1973 with a unprecedented revision of the 1855 classification raising Château Mouton Rothschild to First Growth status. The Rothschild era at Mouton has seen continuous improvement. Astoundingly, it took until the latter half of the 19th Century for anyone to build an actual château at Mouton-Rothschild when Baron James built the Petit Mouton. An iconic estate deserves an iconic character, and he arrived in 1922 when Baron Philippe de Rothschild toopk over, assuming full ownership in 1947 when he bought out his brothers. A new chais was built and all of the wines were estate bottled, something not common at the time. Baron Philippe bought the neighbouring Château Mouton-Armailhacq in 1933, renaming it Château Mouton Baron Philippe (now Château d'Armailhac). From younger vines of his two estates, Baron Philippe created the popular Bordeaux brand Mouton Cadet. To celebrate the end of WWII, during which time Baron Philippe had had to escape from Vichy imprisonment to join the Free French forces in England, and the German military had taken over Château Mouton Rothschild, the 1945 vintage was bottled with a "V for Victory" label. Thereafter, a new label was designed every year by a contemporary artist, the labels becoming every bit as collectable as the wine. The vineyards sit on a raised mound known as a "motte", from which it is presumed the name Mouton derives. Mouton-Rothschild sits immediately to the south of Lafite. For red wines the 75ha of vineyards are planted to 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc with a little Petit Verdot. Wines are fermented in barrique and aged for 22 months before bottling. A second wine was introduced in 1993 - Le Petit Mouton with old-fashioned looking label that was designed by Jean Carlu who had designed the Mouton-Rothschild label in use before the War. A small amount of white wine - Aile d'Argent - is produced from mostly Sauvignon Blanc.

Please make sure that you have read the terms of this offer which are different from those on the main website. If you are unclear as to what is involved in primeur purchases please do contact our private client team via email or on 0207 221 1982.

Ordering

Prices are all in bond by the case size stated.

Pre-Orders are a firm commitment to buy wines on release, as long as the release price sits within the upper and lower price bands set by you on the pre-order form. Pre-orders will be fulfilled subject to availability but providing this firm commitment to buy effectively gives you priority and is a good idea for the most desirable wines.

Wines listed on the website can be ordered in the usual way via the website wishlist order form. You can also send orders directly to our private client team via email. Please note that, for the most sought after wines, priority will be given to those who ordered the same wines last year and to those that have pre-ordered.

Confirmation

All orders will be confirmed by email and are binding unless written cancellation is received within seven days of email confirmation. Pre-orders are not binding if the release price is above your upper price band.

Invoices are all raised at the in bond price (excluding any duty and VAT) which will become payable at the prevailing rates when the wines arrive in the UK, should you wish to take duty paid delivery.

Payment is required on sight of invoice, by cash, cheque, debit card or bank transfer. We regret we cannot accept credit cards for en primeur orders. We reserve the right to apply a dunning charge of 2% per month on invoices unpaid after 30 days.

Delivery

  • Shipment to our bond (at LCB Creek Road) and insurance are included in the in bond price.
  • Delivery is free to Lea and Sandeman / Elephant storage accounts, both duty paid and in bond.
  • Other deliveries (In Bond and Duty Paid) are also free subject to a minimum order from the offer of £500. Orders below this total will be charged an administration and handling fee of £16.50+ VAT when invoices are issued. We will group deliveries and this is a charge for your entire purchases, not a per-case charge.
  • Delivery of 2020 Bordeaux bought en primeur is expected during 2023. Delivery dates may vary as wines are shipped from Bordeaux at different times.
  • We do not anticipate any problems but please be aware that delays to delivery may occur should Britain's possible departure from the European Union result in additional border customs checks or other regulatory requirements. Any additional or unforeseen duties, tariffs, charges or other financial liabilities relating to 'Brexit' must be due to the customer and will be invoiced as required.

Practical notes - how it works

We start a sale in each customer's name and add all their primeur orders to one sale which is invoiced at the end of the campaign (or when the customer wishes). Immediate payment of invoices is then required by cash, cheque, debit card or bank transfer. We and our customers find that having a single invoice for the vintage is the simpler option but please note that confirmed orders are still binding even if the final invoice has not yet been issued.

Please specify on your wishlist order form where you would like the wines shipped on arrival in the UK. If this is to a third-party bonded warehouse, please specify the relevant account details. If the wines are required duty-paid we will issue a second invoice for duty and VAT at the prevailing rate when the wines are available for delivery.

Half-bottles, Magnums and larger bottles.

One of the additional advantages of buying en primeur is being able to order the wine in the format you want. While most of our listings are for 75cl bottles, we can source wines in any format if offered by the Château. Please note that format requests cannot be changed once wines have been invoiced. Additional charges for special formats do apply and are as follows:-

  • +£20 per case of 24 half-bottles
  • +£10 per case of 6 Magnums (2 bottles equivalent, 1.5 litres each)
  • +£35 per individually boxed Double Magnum (4 bottles equivalent, 3 litres)
  • +£50 per individually boxed Imperial (8 bottles equivalent, 6 litres) for Salmanazars, Balthazars, Nebuchadnezzars and Melchiors please enquire for availability and price.

Storage Options:

Wines bought en primeur won't arrive in the UK until 2023. If you do not wish to take home delivery at that point, you may wish to consider where you would like the wines shipped. Lea & Sandeman offers duty paid and in bond storage through a dedicated storage company called Elephant Storage. For more details on the terms and fees associated with storage please go to our Storage Homepage or contact our private client team for more information.