Mouton Cadet Blanc 2020, France
Mouton Cadet Rosé 2020, France

Cost: $13-15

What: Most wine drinkers will say they want to drink the best wine. But we don’t always have the money to buy the very best wine.

For instance, if you wanted to buy what experts consider the best Bordeaux wine you might pay hundreds or thousands of dollars. I have found great Bordeaux for $100, and I have found some I enjoy just as much in the $30-50 range.

But for a good, everyday pour, it’s hard to beat the Mouton Cadet wines. The brand grew out of the famous Mouton Rothschild estate, known throughout the world for great first growth Bordeaux wines.

Baron Philippe de Rothschild wanted to deliver a wine that brought the richness of a great Bordeaux to a mass audience so he created Mouton Cadet in 1930. Obviously the grapes for these wines don’t come from the legendary Rothschild estate, but they come from nearby: the north of the Blaye region and the Entre-Deux-Mers.

And at about $14 apiece you can enjoy them any time you want. The Rosé is a beautiful peach color in the glass, with aromas of red fruit. The first sip opens with red fruit flavors such as raspberry, strawberry and cherry. The finish is round and pleasant.

The Rosé tasted like a Bordeaux, not a generic wine you sometimes get in this price range. It was fresh and uncomplicated, yet true to the region. The vines grow in diverse soils, which include clay, limestone and gravel, revealing different aspects of the grape varieties used to compose the Mouton Cadet Rosé.

The blend is 77 percent Merlot, 16 percent Cabernet Franc and 7 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a wine you can share with friends on a warm fall evening or take in a picnic basket on family outings, or even a tailgate party. It should be served chilled.

The Bordeaux Blanc is equally refreshing, full of fruity aromas and flavors. It is a pretty pale yellow in the glass with citrus fruit aromas with hints of peach. On the palate you get lime and peach flavors with notes of apricot. The finish is pleasant and lingering. It is a balanced and rounded wine.

The blend is 76 percent Sauvignon Blanc, 22 percent Semillon and 2 percent Muscadelle. This wine should be served well chilled.

My wife Teri usually doesn’t like Sauvignon Blanc, but she loved this wine. So it should be suitable for a wide variety of palates.

Winery: Mouton Cadet traces its roots back to 1853 when Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild, wishing to serve his own wine to his prestigious guests, bought Château Brane-Mouton at auction. The estate, at Pauillac in the heart of the Médoc, would bear his name: Château Mouton Rothschild.

Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Baron Nathaniel’s great-grandson, took over the estate in 1922. Two years later he insisted that all the wine, previously delivered to Bordeaux wine merchants in barrels, should be bottled at the château.

Baron Philippe created Mouton Cadet in 1930 to make Bordeaux wine available at affordable prices. It is now the world’s leading Bordeaux AOC brand.

Mouton Rothschild is one of the world’s most expensive wines. In 2006 at an auction organized by Christie’s in Beverly Hills, a lot of 12 bottles of Mouton Rothschild 1945 sold for $290,000, and a lot of six magnums of the same vintage for $345,000. 

Besides being a First Growth Bordeaux, Mouton-Rothschild is known for its labels. Each year since 1945, the label for each vintage has been illustrated with the reproduction of an original artwork specially created for Mouton by a contemporary artist.

Mouton Cadet offers a wide variety of wines, including Cuvee Heritage, a Medoc Reserve, a Saint-Emilion Reserve, a Graves Reserve, a Rouge, a Graves Blanc Reserve, a Sauternes Reserve and a Sauvignon Blanc.

Goes with: We had the Rosé with chicken breasts on the grill, one of my favorite summer meals. It’s easy to prepare and is delicious.

The Rosé was perfect with the chicken. The berry and grapefruit notes in the wine were a great match for the spice rub I used on the chicken.

I added hash brown potatoes, a tossed salad and corn on the cob for a tasty meal.

This wine also would pair well with with Bellota ham tostada, sushi and maki or raspberry tart. You also could drink it as an aperitif, sitting on the deck while the day’s tensions slip away.

We had the Bordeaux Blanc with a rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes and fresh tomato slices. It’s a wonderful, easy meal that paired perfectly with the wine.

The fresh fruit flavors were a nice balance to the savory chicken.

The wine also would pair well with scallops with citrus fruit, oysters and seafood linguine.

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