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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)
1994 KAREL APPEL
The Dutch painter Karel Appel was born in Amsterdam in 1921 and studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts there from 1940 to 1943. His career really began with the excitement of the Cobra Group, which he founded in 1948 with painters like Corneille, Alechinsky and Asger Jorn. His sculpture of the "Cobra Bird" was made as the emblem of a movement which celebrated a new kind of baroque expressionism that had broken free from the post-cubist tradition. Karel Appel's international reputation was forged in the `fifties and `sixties by numerous commissions and awards. He painted murals for the Amsterdam City Museum and the UNESCO building in Paris, and won both the Venice Biennale and the Guggenheim prizes.
Amsterdam, Paris, where he moved in 1950, and finally New York where he lives today fascinate him by the anarchy of their swarming crowds and the unexpected flotsam and jetsam of their streets which he uses in the manner of "Street Art": twisted planks, old iron, ceramics, collages made of wildly disparate objects, violently coloured oils and acrylics. "Savage Expressionism" was the phrase he has used himself about his work, which provokes the eye and the mind with a wild kind of joy, preserving and conveying all the thrill of creation.
Karel Appel is the first Dutch painter to illustrate a Mouton Rothschild label. For the 1994 vintage he has conceived a pair of drinkers performing a wild dance round a totem bottle, as if to liberate the spirit of the wine still imprisoned within.