Did I mention the Mouton?

Inevitably when you taste a series of wines, you judge them against each other, as well as on an absolute scale. Thus it is that I have arrived at a new concept: quaffing Mouton. Oh yes. Ridiculous though it may seem, when measured against its older siblings, the '99 (scored at a solid 16/20), cried out from the depths of its concentrated juicy goodness to be glugged, gulped, necked, walloped (whoah, there's a radical notion: wassailing Mouton; mulled Mouton I didn't say that!. Don't tell anyone I said that!). But enough of such nonsense.

The Big Egg had six fairly recent Mouton-Rothschild for our delectation. Starting with the quaffer and working back to the '88. Equal top were the 96 and 95, the rest crowding in behind, and the 98 really rather disappointing.

What all six wines share is a concentrated character, a very strong bouquet and palate with every element of the wine balanced against the others. The flavours are complex: it takes time to tease out the strands of mocha coffee, green peppers, candy floss, paprika, the little hints of violets, occasional savoury bursts of aubergine and mushroom. But I can't think of a better way to pass two hours.

The scores: '95 = a solid 18; '96 = 18?; '88 = 17-18; 97 = 17+(18?); '99 = 16; '98 = 14.

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