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Climatic conditions at the Château / Nature was particularly kind in 2009, providing conditions that favoured the vegetation cycle and helped the grapes to reach full maturity. Winter was a little colder than usual, though in the period to March the region had 204 hours of sunshine more than the average for the last thirty years. April was very wet and May often stormy. Flowering took place rapidly and evenly around 5 June.
Summer set in from mid-June, bringing remarkable levels of sunshine and little rainfall. The very fine weather and high level of hydric stress, barely alleviated by a few showers, enabled the grapes to ripen slowly to full maturity. Temperatures in August were 1.4° C higher than the average. The ideal weather continued into September as cool nights alternated with hot days.
The weather, encouraging the concentration of aromas and flavours and the accumulation of anthocyans, brought the crop to harvest in perfect condition.
Picking began with the Merlot on 23 September and ended with the Cabernet Sauvignon on 6 October. The grapes were extremely healthy, containing plenty of sugar, colour and fruit and showing exceptional potential. 2009 will undoubtedly go down as a vintage to match the finest.
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)
The British painter and sculptor, Anish Kapoor, was commissioned this year to design the label for the 2009 vintage of Château Mouton Rothschild, Médoc First Growth, following the artistic tradition that dates back to 1945.
The gouache, with its dominant colors of black and red, “expresses the fertile thrust of plant life, the result of an intense encounter between matter and light”, describes a press release issued by Baron Philippe de Rothschild S.A.
After a short-lived launch in 1924, it wasn’t until 1945, with the “V” for victory label designed by the painter Philippe Jullian to celebrate the return of peace, that the practice of commissioning an original work by a renowned contemporary artist each year to illustrate the labels for Château Mouton Rothschild became established. Cocteau, Braque, Dali, César, Miró, Chagall, Picasso, Warhol, Soulages, Bacon, Balthus, and Tàpies, among many others, have succeeded one another, making up a collection that, for the past twenty years, has constituted the traveling exhibition “Mouton Rothschild, Paintings for the Labels”. Last year’s label was signed by Chinese artist Xu Lei.
Anish Kapoor was praised last year for his monumental work ‘Leviathan’ exhibited at the Grand Palais in Paris in 2011, and has been commissioned to create the emblematic sculpture for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Mouton Rothschild considers that its 2009 vintage may be classed “among some of the exceptional achievements of the past few years”, thanks to “weather conditions which were extremely favorable to the vine’s growth cycle and the ripening of the grapes.”
One of five Premiers Grands Crus Classés 1855, Château Mouton Rothschild has 80 hectares of vines in Pauillac, planted with Cabernet-Sauvignon (83%), Cabernet-Franc (3%) and Merlot (14%) grape varieties. A bottle of the 2009 vintage is currently on the market for around 900 euros, taxes not included.
Right up there with 1947, 1961, and 2005, 2009 is a year of almost exaggeratedly (for Bordeaux) flamboyant, opulent wines with elevated ripeness and low acidity. The tannins are unusually ripe, while the wines are quite voluptuous in style. The Left Bank recorded more sunlight hours than legendary vintages such as 1947 and 1982, and grapes had higher sugar concentrations than 2003 and 2005. The key was significant diurnal temperature swings that allowed grapes to handle the hot daytime temperatures. An exceptional vintage across the board.