In the case of Le Petit Mouton, the total output is, according to Parker’s Bordeaux: A Comprehensive Guide just 10% of total production at the estate. With so little to go around, it’s actually quite hard to get your hands on and when you do, limited supply and the Mouton name means it’s not really that cheap. We sourced 2004 Le Petit Mouton for around £70 per bottle (so still not everyday drinking wine) though for the grand vin itself, you’d be looking closer to £250. Definitely a saving then but can it compare?
While second wines drink younger than their grand vin brothers, it still seems a little early to drink the 2004 Petit Mouton and the tannins were present though not harsh with two more years of cellaring perhaps needed. The chateau’s own tasting notes describe it as follows:
The wine, a deep and concentrated ruby red, has a nicely open, expansive and varied nose on which jammy cherry fruit, liquorice and spice mingle with the toast and vanilla of elegant oak.
Lush on the palate, it combines a stylish structure of well-rounded tannins with fresh, juicy red fruit, vine peach and caramel and a discreet but refined and agreeable touch of pepper in a rich and harmonious balance.
We’re still a huge fan of second wines but something like Chateau Palmer’s Alter Ego (2001) can be obtained for under £40 a bottle and drinks just as well in our view. However, some of the best value we feel is in the grand vin of the lower rated growths such as second growth Pichon-Longueville Baron. A Pauillac wine like Mouton, situated adjacent to Latour, we recently acquired at auction the 1997 Pichon Baron at just £43 per bottle. Scoring 87-90 Parker points, we loved this wine; the bottle age is now coming through wonderfully on both the colour and the taste and the balance is just lovely. Accordingly, the '97 is an easy drinking medium weight wine with a satisfying finish that we love to revisit again and again. Each and every time, we would choose the Pichon Baron over Le Petit Mouton and for that we get up to a decade or more of bottle age and £30 spare change in our pocket. We love the Mouton Rothschild grand vin (of course) and we’ll certainly be happy to finish up Le Petit Mouton we now have in store but we wont be refreshing our order when we run dry.