Blend: 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot
From: Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
Taste & Critical Acclaim: The wine is dark and deep with purple tints. The intense and complex nose begins with perfectly ripe fruit aromas followed by roast coffee and blackberry notes. From a full and dense attack, the mid-palate reveals elegant and well-rounded tannins which underpin liquorice flavors with hints of refined and elegant oak. The long and flavourful finish lingers on red fruit flavors and chocolate notes. This can be enjoyed now if you give it a good amount of air, but it will be even better in 5-15 years.
“This is a really driven d’Armailhac showing blackcurrants and fruit tea with hints of bark on the nose and palate. Full-bodied, very firm and structured with a long and powerful finish. Direct and linear. Try after 2023.” (2/2019) — 95 points, James Suckling
“A thrilling bottle of wine that readers should snatch up is the 2016 Château d’Armailhac. This deeply colored, medium to full-bodied, powerful Armailhac gives up a lovely perfume of blackberry and plum fruits, violets, graphite, cedar pencil, and earthy, herbal nuances. Classic, ripe, layered, and just a beautiful Pauillac any way you look at it, it has plenty of upfront sex appeal but is going to keep for 20-25 years as well. Bravo! The 2016 is a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.” (2/2019) — 94 points, Jeb Dunnuck
“There's fairly high acidity on the attack here, and yet it's well balanced by a body that's richer and deeper than in many years of Armailhac. You can definitely feel the texture and the powerful depth of brambly fruit, and there are also some of the signature lilting floral notes, given extra charge through graphite, liquorice, cassis, and that pulsating acidity. Great quality. 2% Petit Verdot completes the blend. (JA)” (10/2018) — 93 points, Decanter
“Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 D'Armailhac opens with gregarious crème de cassis, blackberry pie and mulberries scents with hints of chocolate box, roses and charcoal with a waft of dried sage. Medium-bodied, the palate has a rock-solid frame of firm, grainy tannins and wonderful freshness, finishing long and earthy. (LPB)” (11/2018) — 93 points, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
“The 2016 d’Armailhac, which was bottled in May 2018, has an elegant bouquet that unfolds in the glass, offering blackberries, briar and a touch of cedar and mint. The palate is medium-bodied with dense tannin, grippy in the mouth, and quite voluminous, with perhaps more density on the solid, almost broad-shouldered finish compared to the Clerc-Milon. This fulfills all my expectations from my barrel tasting and is quite simply one of the best d’Armailhac wines ever made.” (1/2019) — 93 points, Vinous
“This juicy red sports dark plum, fig and boysenberry fruit backed by an equally strong wave of bramble and sweet tobacco notes. The cast-iron spine pins down the finish, so give this a little time to integrate fully. (JM)” (3/2019) —93 points, Wine Spectator
“This is a ripe wine, full of black fruits with attractive tannins. It has depth but the wine is more about fruitiness and relatively quick development. Drink this already delicious, lightly spicy wine from 2022. (RV)” (5/2019) —90 points, Wine Enthusiast
“Bright mid crimson. Some real interest and depth on the nose of this wine. Still quite a way to go with tannins still quite separate from the (interesting) fruit. Bone dry finish but there is energy and persistence and character here. 17/20 points. (JR)” (10/2018) Jancis Robinson
Pairing: this is a wine you should absolutely splurge on the food pairing for. Sous vide Wagyu filets with sauteed mushrooms and Joël Robuchon’s pommes purée is ideal. Entrecôte à la Bordelaise would be great as well. If you’re going vegetarian, make sure to punch up the umami flavors, with something like a mushroom risotto.
The history of Château d’Armailhac has been traced back to 1680 when a local register noted the existence of two brothers, Dominique et Guilhem Armailhacq, who owned parcels of land in Pauillac. Another register, in 1750 mentioned a certain Dominique Armailhac, who had “planted with vines” the family estate, taking advantage of the “planting frenzy” then sweeping through the Médoc. The vines covered 15 to 16 hectares (37-39 acres). In the late 18th century, the vineyard, generally called Mouton d’Armailhacq, spans some 52 hectares (128 acres) between Brane-Mouton in the north and Pibran in the south.
Then, in 1855 Château Mouton d’Armailhacq was classified as a Fifth Growth in the famous classification drawn up by Bordeaux wine brokers. In Bordeaux in the same year, Armand d’Armailhac published a learned treatise on vinegrowing and winemaking in the Médoc. In 1878 Comte Adrien de Ferrand (Armailhacq’s son in law) acquired the estate and vineyard and in 1931, he created the Société Anonyme du Domaine de Mouton d’Armailhacq. The young Baron Philippe de Rothschild became a minority shareholder, and then in 1933, acquired all the shares in return for a life annuity for the Comte de Ferrand. A year later, on the latter’s death, Baron Philippe became the effective owner of the estate.
The Mouton d’Armailhacq portfolio now includes the Société Vinicole de Pauillac, forerunner of what is now Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA. Inseparable from Château Mouton Rothschild, Château Mouton d’Armailhacq houses all the technical and agricultural equipment for the two estates in its extensive outbuildings. From 1956 to 1988, the wine was called Mouton Baron Philippe, then Mouton Baronne Philippe. A Fifth Growth of acknowledged quality, its original identity as Château d’Armailhac was restored in 1989.
The vineyard of Château d’Armailhac, an 1855 Classified Growth under the name Mouton d’Armailhacq, covers 70 hectares (172 acres) in the northern part of Pauillac. An extension of the Carruades de Mouton plateau, the Plateau des Levantines et de l’Obélisque, made up of light and very deep gravelly soil, is the preferred terroir of Cabernet grapes. The deep gravelly soil of the Plateau de Pibran rests on a clay-limestone base, giving the Château d’Armailhac wines their characteristic refinement and elegance. The light gravelly soil of the Croupe de Béhéré is up to three metres deep.
The vineyard is planted with traditional Médoc grape varieties (52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot) on rootstocks best suited to the soil (mostly Riparia-Gloire). The average age of the vineyard is 46 years, but nearly 20% of the total surface area dates back to 1890. Plantation density is high at 10,000 vines per hectare: Château d’Armailhac preserves the old methods of ensuring quality.
Château d’Armailhac climatic conditions report for 2016. In 2016, there were two main trends in the weather as we experienced it in Pauillac:
– a very wet winter and spring: more than half of the annual rainfall came in the first four months of the year, including a record 240 mm in January;
– an extremely dry summer and autumn without any significant rainfall, resulting in a water deficit at the end of the year.
As a consequence of the summer drought, the grapes were numerous but remained rather small, making for density and concentration. High temperatures in August and September allowed for slow ripening and excellent maturity, so that the harvest started with the Merlot on 26 September and continued in perfect conditions until 14 October. In the vat house, each grape variety and each plot were, as usual, vinified separately in order to let their intrinsic character shine through. The wines offer remarkable colour, intense fruit and spice aromas and a dense texture of very rich and well-rounded tannins.
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