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Big bottles of Mouton-Rothschild and Yquem

by Tom Cannavan, 07/02

I recently attended the launch of French internet wine company Wineandco, where amongst the goodies on offer for tasting were double-magnums of 1988 and 1990 Mouton-Rothschild, and 1987 Château d'Yquem; the equivalent of four ordinary bottles. Large bottles are reckoned to age more slowly, but unfortunately I cannot compare as I haven't tasted these particular vintages from 75cl. But what a lovely opportunity to taste these fine wines from such an unusual and grand format!

The tasting was not blind


Château Mouton-Rothschild (Bordeaux) Pauillac 1er Cru 1990
Scintillating nose; absolutely gorgeous aromas of vanilla-smothered berries, violet, and a fine, earthy, truffly quality with hints of cedar, coffee and spice. Deep and deliciously inviting. The palate lets this stunning first impression down slightly, with slightly under-powered cherry and blackcurrant fruit. There's a background of sweet oak, and good freshness with balanced acidity and fine tannins. Very good indeed, but so nearly excellent/oustanding.

Château Mouton-Rothschild (Bordeaux) Pauillac 1er Cru 1988
Lovely quality again, with a slightly more developed briarwood, chestnut and pencil-shaving nose. Not quite so delicious as the 1990, but possibly finer. There are notes of coffee, tobacco and finely-wrought blackcurrant and plum. On the palate very fresh and positive, with sweet berry fruit and a sense of minerality at the core. There's a good framework of toasty oak, balanced acidity and fine, silky tannins. Lovely quality here, and excellent.

Château d'Yquem (Bordeaux) Sauternes 1er Cru Supérieur 1987
Delightful botrytis here on this golden-hued wine. Very fine and surprisingly youthful, with honeyed apricot, tangerine and exotic pineapple notes. There's a nutty, toffeed undertone, and a hint of citrus too - even a minerally component. Beautiful palate, with terrific sweetness that floods over the tongue in honeyed silkiness. Fine nutty quality, again more rich, ripe apricot character and clean, though generous acidity that extends a pure, lingering finish. An excellent and beautiful wine. £457.25 per double-magnum from