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1988 Mouton-Rothchild - Which rating is correct?!

For my best buddy's upcoming birthday, I am planning to bring along a really special wine from my cellar for his birthday dinner. I set my eyes on the 1988 Mouton since my notes told me it has a 'Wine Spectator rating of 100/100!' However, recently, I came across a copy of Robert Parker's Wine Buyer's Guide which only rated the wine a non-spectacular 88/100!! A whopping 12 points difference!! Now, who do I believe?! Any fellow chowhound tasted the wine before and can provide me with some non-bias input?! I just wanted to make sure my wine will not be the culprit of an anti-climatic experience for that special evening! Thanks!

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  1. Ahhh, very interesting.

    First, are you sure that both of those disparate ratings refer to the exact same wine? I know that sounds dumb, but you must check to ensure that, for example, one of the ratings does not apply to the Chateau's second wine, or something like that.

    Second, assuming that both ratings apply to the same wine, I prefer WS ratings, especially with respect to Old World wines. I think that WS seems to favour California, while it is tougher on European wine.

    Third, let's face it: I don't really know the answer, and neither does anyone. Parker liked it, and WS loved it. Try for yourself and remember which critic you agree with. I keep notes and "rate the critics" in an attempt to figure out who really recommends well.

    Fourth, enjoy that incredible and rare wine. Forget what they say, and just enjoy it. Then compare. And, let us know too!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Fwagra

      just checked out the wine spectator rating and with two listings, no differentiation except for the taste description it received a 94, and a 100. the 94 must be the second wine and thats probably the one parker gave an 88...

      1. re: Lord Griffin

        The difference is the issue date. Rating from 1991 was 100; rating from 1998 was 94.

    2. Trust your own tasting skills! Don't worry about what the WS and Parker say, they exist to offer you opinions. Dont allow them to be your opressive overlords of wine-dom. 1988 was a very good vintage which is often overlooked due to the two monster vintages of 1989 and 1990. It should be in (or entering)its peak right about now and should be an excellent "special occasion" choice. So decide for yourself who was better at rating the wine, Parker or WS after all, you have the final say. If you are still worried bring an alternative. It can't hurt to have another great bottle ready, just in case.

      1. I can't help but point out that the advice to "Trust your own tasting skills!" doesn't really help in this situation. If he tastes the wine, then he can't bring it to the party. :)

        5 Replies
        1. re: Darren72

          Sorry Ill try to be more specific. It should be a great bottle of wine, don't worry about the ratings. Also dont open it before the party to taste it, then drive to the party with an open bottle in your car. It will probably spill thus wasting a super bottle of juice and potentially filling up your car with millions of fruit flys.

          1. re: Cladmadder

            Driving an unopened bottle of old wine to a dinner can mess up the flavor.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I presume you are referring to the idea that vibrations can ruin a wine's flavor. People were very worried about vibrations coming from cellar cooling units. This worry turns out to be unfounded. Vibrations do not affect a wine's taste (Emile Peynaud's book 'The Taste of Wine' goes through this and perhaps has some references).

              Vibrations do, however, stir up the sediment. So you might want to let the bottle stand upright for 30 minutes or so once you get to your friends house, if you are worried about this. The taste won't be affected one way or the other. Decanting would also relieve this issue.

              1. re: Darren72

                If you drive gently and keep the wine upright, a short car trip might not matter, but after a long drive with lots of stops and starts, it may take days for the wine to recover. Even wines with no sediment sometimes need to rest for a few weeks after shipping before they taste right.

              2. re: Robert Lauriston

                So you recommend driving only with an opened bottle of wine?

          2. its a 1988 mouton-rothschild, one of the most legendary wines there is (not the vintage). which means one of two things: first, its definitely a damn good wine, and second, if its not ridiculously amazing you will at least have something to talk about. if someone let me open a bottle of mouton-rothschild that was filled with mud for my birthday i would be happy.

            1. The original comment has been removed
              1. I haven't seen the print edition in years but winespectator.com's user notes are often useful for confirming or adjusting the magazine's published ratings.