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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)
Chinese artist designs 2008 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild vintage label
A Chinese artist has been selected to follow in the footsteps of Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali and design the label the 2008 vintage of the French winemaker Chateau Mouton-Rothschild.
The Chateau said the decision wasn't based entirely on marketing considerations, with the design being chosen personally by Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, owner of the French chateau and a patron of the arts.
"It's above all else a personal choice rather than a commercial choice," said Herve Berland, managing director of Chateau Mouton Rothschild, adding that the Baroness "gives a chance to artists from different countries ...
"China has become a major consumer of fine wine, so it seems natural to select a Chinese artist."
Back in January industry speculation that a Chinese artist would be nominated for the Mouton-Rothschild 2008 vintage had an almost instant impact on prices when the rumours saw prices spike from £1,800 to £2,200 a case overnight.
The wine became the most traded vintage on the Live-Ex Index, the fine wine exchange, and in recent weeks has been trading at around £6,000 a case in apparent anticipation of demand from China.
The 2008 vintage has yet to be released from Mouton's cellars in Pauillac in southwestern France, but is scheduled to reach the shops in France in January and in Asia and America in February.
Mr Xu, a graduate from the prestigious Nanjing Academy of Fine Arts who combines traditional Chinese art with modern styles, is the latest in a long line of artist to be commissioned by the Mouton house to design its labels.
The tradition began in 1924, when the Baroness's father, Philippe, enlisted an artist to design Mouton's label in 1924, with every label since 1945 featuring a new work of art, including those by Picasso, Georges Braque, Salvador Dali, Francis Bacon and even the Prince of Wales.
Although being chosen to design the label is considered an honour, the artists receive compensation in the form of 10 cases of the wine, in lieu of a cash payment.