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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)
1957 – André Masson
Blissfully Happy Wine Drinker
The work of the painter André Masson (1896–1987) is hard to categorise. With his first paintings, he was seen as one of the late Cubists, but he was also an early Surrealist. His works show the tendency of “écriture automatique”, a precursor of the American style of Action Painting, a technique that channels the subconscious uncontrolled into artistic activity.
It was very important to Masson not to be pinned down. He changed his techniques and themes constantly and never remained true to one style. To the beholder, all the elements of his paintings seem to move. Figures blend into one another, then separate and create new shapes. His works possess a sensuous quality and very little illustrative power. On the label for the 1957 Mouton, Masson sketches a human body shape that seems to merge contentedly with the contours of the wines.
This motif of a blissful wine drinker surrounded by vines is an homage to the happy, exhilarating phase of intoxication.
A year of constantly changing weather: a warm February, hot March, followed by a cool April and unexpected frost in May.
Late blossom during a rainy, cold June. The autumn was hot and dry.
85p 1957 Château Mouton-Rothschild 2011/now x8 D 1 h/G 1 h
Tasted eight times with quite similar notes. Today‘s bottle was in decent condition with a good-looking label and fill level by the neck. Good, dark and deep colour. Quite open and clean, fresh nose with hints of blackberry and mint aromas. Still quite hard and tannic, but has a lot of character.
Still a very vigorous wine, but unquestionably lacks charm and roundness. Warm and bitter finish, but the overall quality is quite far from first-cru quality! Nevertheless, a very good result from this difficult vintage.