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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)
Balthus is the pseudonym of Count Balthazar Klossowski de Rola (1908-2001). He was born in Paris into an ancient and highly cultivated family of Polish descent. As a child he came to the attention of Rainer Maria Rilke, and throughout his life was to enjoy the friendship and admiration of some of the greatest creative minds of his day: Antonin Artaud, René Char, Giacometti, Fellini, Albert Camus, who all acknowledged the immense power of his work, his intelligence and personality. His career as a painter, too, was blessed by places of outstanding beauty: the wildest part of the Massif Central where he lived from 1954 to 1961; Italy which he had discovered when he was 17, and to which he returned as Director of the Villa Medici in Rome from 1961 until 1976; and finally the Alps, answering his need for solitude and grandeur. He died in Switzerland, close to his wife, the painter Setsuko.
Portraits, landscapes, city streets or interiors, Balthus's work is classical in its measure and its subject matter, its mastery and its composition, echoing both the Italian Quattrocento, Courbet and Cézanne. But the sense of tradition is transmuted by his feeling for the secret life of people and of things, by a sorcery that fixes silhouettes on canvas in a single moment of eternity, by the bewildering sweetness of his pastel colours and by the cat-like sexuality of the female form, in which, as Verlaine put it "the indefinable and the precise are one."
The drawing he made for Mouton Rothschild 1993 returns to a recurrent motive in this work: the dreamy adolescent girl, wilful, graceful and fragile... All the hypnotic power of a style that is both limpid and full of mystery, leading us away to distant lands of fantasy and desire.