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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)
2004 will remain in the memory as the driest year since 1962, with only 560 mm of rainfall. The drought conditions began during the winter and continued throughout the spring and summer, though some rainfall in August gave the vines the water they needed and favoured veraison.
Glorious weather in September enabled the Merlots to reach full maturity and picking began on 29 September. The grapes were rich in polyphenols and showed excellent sugar concentration. The rest of the harvest was delayed in order to encourage all the aromatic potential of a highly promising vintage. Picking in the best parcels of Cabernet Sauvignon resumed in exceptionally sunny conditions and higher than average temperatures and harvesting was completed on 15 October.
Prince Charles Designs 2004 Château Mouton Rothschild Label
Prince Charles has become the latest painter to be featured on the Château Mouton Rothschild’s label. The Prince joins Braque, Picasso, Chagall, Miró, Francis Bacon, Arman, Henry Moore, Warhol and Balthus all of whose work has been previously featured on the bottle. The painting chosen is a watercolour of pine trees at Cap d’Antibes on the Cote d’Azur. As it is the 2004 vintage the choice commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Entente Cordial between England and France. The bottling of the 2004 vintage has just been completed and is now available.