B-21 Top Recommendation
For more than three centuries, the family name of Armailhac has played an important role in the wines of Pauillac. First establishing vineyards in the 17th century, brothers Armailhacq amassed an estate – known as Mouton d'Armailhacq – which spanned 128 acres by the late 18th century. Alas, the family's unrelenting pursuit of perfection, and the debt which followed, forced the sale of a large portion of the estate to Lafite in 1844. Bordeaux's Official Classification of 1855 followed, the merchants honoring Mouton d'Armailhacq with a Cinquième Cru placement. By the late 1800s, Armailhacq's son-in-law, Adrien de Ferrand had acquired Mouton d'Armailhacq, its 173-acres producing wines of world renown, selling for more than many of his neighbors' more highly classified bottlings.
But the 1930s were a tumultuous time for Bordeaux – and the world – leading Ferrand to form the Société du Domaine de Mouton d'Armailhacq, partnering with Baron Philippe de Rothschild as a shareholder. With Ferrand's passing in 1934, ownership of the estate passed to the Baron, and by 1956 the famous 5th Growth was rechristened, becoming Chateau Mouton Baron Philippe – then Chateau Mouton Baronne Philippe, with the arrival of Baroness Philippine – until the 1988 vintage. Finally, with the 1989 vintage, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild elected to restore the estate's original honor, returning Chateau d'Armailhac to its original name, recalling this Pauillac paragon's glorious history. For vintage 2010, this magnificent, 375+ year-old estate has produced its greatest wine on record.
Another sensational effort from Philippe Dhaluin, the administrator of Mouton Rothschild, this blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot shows complex floral notes intermixed with forest floor, camphor, black currants and mulberries that all jump from the glass of this aromatic style of d’Armailhac. This wine possesses very good acidity, a surprisingly higher percentage of Merlot than usual, but the quality is impressive, and the good news is that there are 20,000 cases of this full-bodied beauty, which should age nicely for 15-20+ years.
93 points, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue # 205 - Feb 2013)
Dense, juicy and inviting, with bouncy briar, blackberry, steeped black currant and melted black licorice notes framed by roasted apple wood and graphite notes. The finish courses along with good definition. Energetic and tempting, but the gripping, iron-laden finish will benefit from cellaring. Best from 2017 through 2030.
93 points, Wine Spectator (Mar 2013)
Polished and very fine with pretty fruit and berry structure. Full and silky with a delicious finish. It's so good now to drink but has depth and structure. Drink or hold.
93 points, James Suckling (Feb 2013)