Château Mouton Rothschild A Premier Cru Classé in 1973, Château Mouton Rothschild, owned by Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, consists of 205 acres of vines near Pauillac, in the Médoc, North West of the city of Bordeaux. This Premier Cru benefits from exceptionally good natural conditions, both in the quality of the soil, the position of its vines and their exposure to the sun. It is regarded today as one of the world's greatest wine.
The name Mouton is said to be derived from the word „Motte“ meaning mound or elevation of the ground. It was bought in 1853 by Philippe de Rothschilds great-grand father it was in a fairly bad shape and when the classification of 1855 was set up it was not deemed to be good enough to be qualified as a first growth but put in first place amongst the second growths. An injustice it took Philippe de Rothschild until 1973 to rectify. 1920s Philippe de Rothschild called together the owners of Haut Brion, Latour, Lafite, Margaux and Yquem to talk about the idea of bottling and marketing their wines on their own.
The first vintage to be bottled exclusivly at the château was the 1924 vintage. To commemorate this, the cubistic painter Carlu was asked to design the label, yet another revolutionary idea in this most conservative of surroundings. The idea of an artist designing the labels was dropped until 1945 when Philippe Jullian was asked to design a label commemorating the victory over nazi Germany. Since then works of such famous artists as Picasso, Miró, Dali, Chagall and personalities like John Huston and Prince Charles have been used for the labels.
In 1988, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, who had already been associated with her father's work for some time, succeeded her father. She has in turn become the guarantor of the quality of an illustrious wine whose motto proudly proclaims : "Premier je suis, second je fus, Mouton ne change". First I am, second I was, I Mouton do not change
Vineyard soil: very deep gravel on a limestone base Production area: 82.5 ha Grape varieties: 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot Average age of vines: 48 years Harvest method: hand picked. The grapes from the younger vines are harvested first and vinified separately.
Winemaking: Before destemming, the grapes are hand-sorted then selected one by one. Vinification depends on each vintage and the characteristics of each vat. All the relevant parameters, such as temperature, pumping over, aeration, vatting time and running off, are monitored by the technical manager, the cellar-master and the laboratory.
Ageing: 19 to 22 months in oak barrels (almost all new, the percentage varying according to the vintage)
Château Mouton Rothschild 1985
January was very cold, with 16 days of subzero temperatures, falling as low as –20°C. There was also a week of heavy snow, but despite the poor weather the vines suffered relatively little damage.
The winter continued with temperatures closer to the seasonal average, though there was another very cold week during February. The vegetation cycle began with milder weather in March, and after mild and wet weather in April and May, flowering took place in June.
Fine weather arrived in July, despite some storms, followed by drought in August (there were only two days of rain during the month). With an exceptional amount of sunshine, 1985 was the driest year on record.
Mid-veraison occurred on 16 August for the three red grape varieties, with the prospect of a high-quality crop: the vines did not seem to have suffered too much from the drought and the grapes were of normal size, though a little sunburn was noted in certain parcels. The fine weather continued, ensuring easy conditions for picking and very high-quality grapes.
1985 PAUL DELVAUX
Paul Delvaux (1897-1994), born in Belgium, was influenced by the Flemish Expressionists before becoming one of the leading figures in Surrealism. In fact this master of modern art was probably closer to what we would now call "Magic Realism". He offers us a series of obsessional scenes of brooding mystery: remote, erotic female nudes with pale milky skin and enigmatic eyes; dream-landscapes, often moonlit, where rampant vegetation appears against bare cityscapes painted with an almost photographic precision.
The two demure little girls in his drawing for the label of Mouton Rothschild 1985, separate and apart, are drawn together by the lure of a bunch of grapes, gazed on, touched, soon to be tasted.