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Mouton Rothschild 1945 sets new record at Koch sale

Ten bottles of Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1945, from the collection of Bill Koch, has set a new record as one of the most expensive wine lots ever sold at auction. The lot sold for US$343,000 – well above its highest estimate of $120,000 – attracting bidding from around the world.

The sale was the first of three sessions focusing on the collection of billionaire Bill Koch, and took $4.8m with 900 lots nearly 100% sold. CEO and president of Sotheby’s Wine Americas and Asia, Jamie Ritchie, said: “We have seen an astonishing start to the Koch Cellar sale.

“The offerings on our opening day represent some of the greatest vintages from the world’s best wineries, with the likes of Mouton Rothschild 1945, Haut-Brion 1959, Palmer 1961 making rare appearances at auction. The prices realised are a testament to the reputation of one of the greatest cellars in the world.”



U.S. to auction real wine from fraudster Rudy Kurniawan who sold fake wine - The wines to be sold include several bottles of Romanée-Conti from Burgundy and a 1945 Château Mouton Rothschild​.

The U.S. Marshals Service plans to auction 4,711 bottles of wine that belonged to Rudy Kurniawan, the Indonesian wine dealer serving a 10-year prison term following his 2013 fraud conviction for making and selling counterfeit wine.

The 4,711 bottles have been deemed authentic, and will be sold in two online auctions starting on Nov. 24 and on Dec. 1, the Marshals Service said on Friday.

Kurniawan had kept the wine in storage in California and intended to use much of it to produce fake high-end wine, the Marshals Service added. Prosecutors said the fake wine from Kurniawan included some that he mixed in his kitchen.

Michael Egan, a former Sotheby's director who testified as an expert prosecution witness against Kurniawan, helped authenticate the wine being auctioned and removed bottles he determined were counterfeit, the Marshals Service said.

“It may sound ironic that we are selling wine that belonged to a convicted wine counterfeiter," Jason Martinez, assistant program manager of the Marshals Service'sasset forfeiture unit, said in a statement. "We are duty-bound to recoup as much value from the sale of these authentic wines as possible to compensate those who were victims of his fraud."

The wines to be sold include several bottles of Romanée-Conti from Burgundy and a 1945 Château Mouton Rothschild from Bordeaux with a faded vintage on the cork.

The auctions are being held at (txauction.com). Kurniawan is housed at the Taft Correctional Institute in California; he is not eligible for release until January 2021. Egan, who according to his website lives in France, did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.


We have tasted Mouton 1945 five times during the last twelve months and it was always a very exclusive moment for our friends and us. These two last bottles were in exceptional condition with fine unbroken labels. Levels were by the neck, and both bottles were decanted two hours before tasting. Deep, dark and thick color. Sound and wide-open, huge and incredibly sweet nose of black currant, coffee and eucalyptus. All the pieces came together in perfect balance creating such an extraordinary, highly concentrated, luxurious and prosperous wine with powerful, everlasting aftertaste. This is the Mother of all wines and it deserves my trust and eternal faithfulness. We take a low bow to it!


by Tb


The Story

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)


Wine Information

Although the Mouton-Rothschild wines of 1955, 1959 and 1961 were normally perfect, the 1945 had always something extraordinary, which for me is hard to describe without deep emotion. Maybe that something is the longest and richest aftertaste, which keeps coming back again and again, or perhaps it´s the fact that it is the “Victory Vintage” that symbolizes the victory of good over evil, of freedom. I actually do not know, but I do know that there is nothing quite like a Mouton-Rothschild 1945.
To commemorate the Allied victory, Baron Philippe had the idea of embellishing the Mouton-Rothschild 1945 label with an artwork: On this occasion, a symbolic design intended to celebrate the return of peace. He commissioned this work from a young unknown artist, Philippe Julian. Julian submitted several drafts for the label and the final one is based on the famous “V for Victory”, made famous by Winston Churchill throughout the war, rallying forces of freedom.

This marked the beginning of a series of specially designed labels for each vintage, and for each year a different artist was commissioned and the payment was in wine. Nuikki

What more can be said about this wine other than it is extraordinary and not very much was made! Incredibly haunting bouquet of flavoured coffee, cloves and cinnamon. Raspberries (utterly surprising), gingerbread, blackcurrants and mint all battle on the palate with coffee and chocolate lining up to get in on the act. It finishes in such elegant fashion - so silky and so seamless. This is not a banal, huge wine, it is just a totally complete Claret, perhaps the greatest ever. Serena Sutcliffe, MW



Vintage 1945

The world’s best wine vintage – 1947 or 1945? Tastingbook tasted all the best wines from these two great vintages.

If the wine producers from different regions were asked to name the best vintages from their winemaking history, the most would name 1947 or 1945 as one of the great ones. If we then compared them together there would be most likely only one vintage that the most if not every producer had named on list – 1947.

We wanted to test that theory and we tasted them agains each other and the winner was 1947 – by far.

The vintage 1947 was a magical vintage. It remains in the history as one of the only vintages that all well-established quality wine regions in the world were blessed with superb weather conditions. The heat waves  were experienced all around the world and for instance the whole Europe was bating under scorching sun and experiencing a heat wave  during the summer. This resulted very concentrated and highly ripe grapes. The producers had challenges to handle the very ripe grapes with high sugar levels as there was a constant risk of bacterial contamination in less hygenic cellars that had no artifical cooling systems. As there was no technology to use, many invoked on huge blocks of ice to cool the room temperautre down and even putting ice in their fermentation tanks.

This vintage has proven to yield very long lasting wines from all around the world. The wines are marked with sweet and ripe fruit character and warming alcohol. Due to the poorly hygenic winemaking facilities, many of the wines show volatile characters. Some might find this as a fault, but for many mature wine lovers this feature is even a preferred character. However, when buying the wines from this vintage, one should be aware that there is high level of bottle variations and the risk of having highly volatile wines is remarkably high.

1945 was an exceptional year throughout the whole France, from Côte-Rôtie to Bordeaux. Due to the warm and dry conditions, the grapes were very concentrated and produced an extraordinary, but unfortunately small yield. The harvest in 1945 was an early harvest, which started on the same date as 1982, September 13. The wines began life with massive levels of tannin and took quite a few decades to develop. Due to the high tannin levels, many of the wines still show well today.


Average Bottle Price

2020 2019 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2005 2000 1995
17 900€ +12.6% 15 899€ -3.2% 16 430€ +18.0% 13 922€ +16.6% 11 945€ +21.7% 9 812€ +4.6% 9 377€ -8.2% 10 211€ +8.0% 9 455€ +19.8% 7 890€ +119.8% 3 590€ +101.1% 1 785€ +80.9% 987€

This data comes from the FINE Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions in 20 countries. The average prices from each year have been collected since 1990. This chart plots the index value of the average price of the wines.

Latest Pro-tasting notes

77 tasting notes

Tasting note


Deep, Ruby red and Dark


Endless, Flavorful and Extensive


Blackcurrant, Coffee, Port-like, Vanilla, Toasty and Mint


Open, Refined, Seductive and Opulent




Average in Acidity, Warming, High tannin, Concentrated, Perfectly balanced, Complex, Full-bodied, Harmonious, Elegant, Full and Sweet


Well-rounded and Masterpiece

Written Notes

You didn’t think we could complete this night without a bottle of 1945 Mouton Rothschild, did you?  The wine that I once ranked as my #3 bottle of all-time delivered yet again, and it confirmed its previously ordained position (1945 RC is #1, and 1945 Petrus is #2, although a 1947 Petrus late last year has a legitimate claim to a top three slot.  Need to think about it 😊) Back to the 1945 Mouton, half my notes I can’t even read today, but I could read ‘so deep and so insane.’  I could also read my infatuation about its eucalyptus, pine, sage and herbal greatness.  This was a caramel sex machine and the greatest bottle on this greatest day (99+).

  • 99p
Tasted six times during the last 24 months and it was always a very exclusive moment for our friends and myself. These two bottles were in exceptional condition with fine unbroken labels. Levels were by the neck, and both bottles were decanted two hours before tasting. Deep, dark and thick color. Sound and wide-open, huge and incredibly sweet nose of black currant, coffee and eucalyptus. All the pieces came together in perfect balance creating such an extraordinary, highly concentrated, luxurious and prosperous wine with powerful, everlasting aftertaste. This is the Mother of all wines and it deserves our trust and eternal faithfulness.
  • 100p

This bottle of 1945 Mouton-Rothschild is my fourth encounter and actually showed better than one poured three months earlier that came directly from the château. Ethereal as always on the nose, that distinctive menthol scent is present and correct, and this bottle is perhaps more elegant and almost Burgundian in style. The palate has heavenly balance, quite opulent and velvety, with morello cherry, raspberry preserve, orange pith and a delicate touch of cedar on the never-ending finish. Monumental. Tasted at Koala's 1945 dinner.

  • 100p

Remarkable vintage, a famous wine by any standard. The nose was very, very slightly tired but on the palate there was all the vigour and spice I remember from the previous tastings I was lucky enough to experience. Great sweetness – typical of the vintage – and intensity. Just the right side of porty. Essence of ripe claret.

  • 96p
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Pauillac, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality


Value For Money

Very good

When bottled


Investment potential


Fake factory


Glass time


Drinking temperature


Inside Information

VICTOIRE’ – THE LARGE ‘V’ Baron Philippe de Rothschild celebrated the victory of the Allies and the end of the Second World War with his highly symbolic choice of illustration for the Mouton label. The young artist Philippe Jullian and the Baron together chose the large ‘V’ (for ‘victoire’ or ‘victory’), the victory sign of the Allies and the symbol which then stood throughout Europe for resistance against the Nazis. Parisians ripped their metro tickets into the form of a ‘V’; and British planes formed the letter in the air with vapour trails. The appropriate sign in morse code was sent out repeatedly from London over the airwaves as an interval signal on Allied radio stations. The ‘V’ on Philippe Jullian’s label for Mouton-Rothschild documents, in a unique, universal way, the outbreak of peace and the return to normal life.

Parker 100 Points / A consistent 100-point wine (only because my point scale stops at that number), the 1945 Mouton-Rothschild is truly one of the immortal wines of the century. This wine is easily identifiable because of its remarkably exotic, over-ripe, sweet nose of black fruits, coffee, tobacco, mocha, and Asian spices. It is an extraordinarily dense, opulent, and rich wine, with layers of creamy fruit, behaveing more like a 1947 Pomerol than a structured, powerful, and tannic 1945. The wine finishes with a 60+ second display of ripe fruit, extract, and sweet tannin. This remarkably youthful wine (only light amber at the edge) is mindboggling! Will it last another 50 years?

100 points Vinous

 My second encounter with the legendary 1945 Mouton Rothschild, like the first, benefits from being meticulously sourced. This is almost a rerun of that first bottle, which is a bit like saying you had to watch Hendrix at the Café Wha again. The bouquet is the most audacious ever conjured on the Left Bank. Period. Layers of red fruit infused with its famous trademark eucalyptus scent – it is the purity and delineation after 72-years that beggars belief. The palate sports a viscous texture, so rich and decadent, a turbo-charged Mouton-Rothschild that effortlessly negotiates unrivalled power with a sense of balance and poise. There is so much energy contained in this Mouton-Rothschild that the mind boggles at the thought of its longevity. One of the standout wines of the 20th century, a sui generis, a wine of hypnotic beauty...this bottle of 1945 Mouton-Rothschild makes a mockery of those that foolishly dish out perfect scores to anything that ticks basic criteria. This wine always goes above and beyond sensory satisfaction to achieve something magisterial, orgiastic and intellectual. Tasted at the International Business & Wine First Growth Dinner at the Four Seasons. 



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