Wine is a little bit like Art : universal and subjective. Universal because everyone can taste wine, everybody is able to appreciate it. But in the same time, wine is subjective because everyone has got its own taste, its own opinion, its own preference. If today there is a wine associated to art, it’s Château Mouton Rothschild. Second Grand Cru Classé in 1855, it is the only one to become a first in 1973. Well-known for their excellence, wines of Château Mouton Rothschild are elegant and powerful. With black fruits and animal notes, these wines are the perfect expression of its günzian gravels terroir.
“First I am, Second I was, I Mouton do not change“
A Bordeaux institution, the famous property is owned by the Rothschild family but at its head there is a woman with a strong nature : an iron fist in a velvet glove. She, the Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, is sensitive to the french know-how. The property entered in the family in 1853 thanks to Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild, member of the English branch. Back in this time, Brane-Mouton becomes Mouton Rothschild. The Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Philippine’s father, took an interest in the property at the age of 20 and will made it the work of his life…
The Baron Philippe de Rothschild is what we can call a visionary. He will transform the wine ‘business’ thanks to real revolutions. First of all, in 1924, he will bottle the wine at the Château. Usually, the bottling was done on the Chartrons docks by the vintners. Then, the Baron will do some sensory marketing without really knowing it because he will personalize the stickers each year. His artists friends will create the stickers. Under this impulse, worldwide artists will take part of this project.
In 1924, for the first bottling at the Château, Jean Carlu, a famous poster designer, realized the sticker of the Château. Premonitory action. It’s only in 1945 that the personalization began seriously. To celebrate the end of the War Worldwide II, to express the joy of Freedom, the sticker will dress up with the V of Victory. Drew by the young painter Philippe Jullian, this work will be the first real one of a long series. Jean Hugo, Léonor Fini, Jean Cocteau… all friends of the Baron, will offer their talent… A watershed will be took in 1955 with the artistic realization of Georges Braque. Then very famous artists will create stickers, but these artists are not part of the friends circle of the Baron : Dali, César, Miro, Chagall, Picasso, Warhol, Soulages, Bacon, Balthus…
Since the death of the Baron in 1988, his daughter Philippine respects his artistic will. She is letting free the creation even if a lot of artists take the vines, the wine, the pleasure to drink or the ram as themas. The ram is the emblem of the Château and find its birth in a goldsmith trade, ‘the little ram of Ausbourg’ ,that you can contemplate at the property museum. In exchange of the artists contribution, they receive bottles of their vintage and also another vintage. They are not paid with cash ! The Baroness organized an exhibition, a retrospective of the works, and it has been such a great success that the exhibition travelled in the USA, in Japan, in France but also elsewhere in the world.
It exists also little secrets about the realization of stickers. Even if the stickers size is the same (100xL/42xH), the artists haven’t all drew on such a small surface. For example, Georges Braque will realize his work with the normal size. But Pierre Soulages will paint a canvas of several meters ! Another secret that you should know if you want to buy a bottle of 1978 : this vintage has got two stickers. Yes, the work has been done by Jean-Paul Riopelle and represents circles. 50% of the production has the first model, 50% has got the other where the circles are not at the same place. Why two stickers ? Well, the Baroness didn’t manage to choose the one she preferred !
If Art is universal and subjective, there is one sticker which didn’t win unanimous support in the USA. Indeed, the vintage 1993 has been created by Balthus and represents a young nude lady. Impossible to splash, even with grape juice, the fame of the Château… It has been decided to edit a second sticker for the puritan US market : a simple sticker because virgin.
Despite this little American hitch, the Château Mouton Rothschild is today the wine the most expensive in the world. In 2006, a bottle of the vintage 1945 has been sold 22 650 euros (it’s in fact a 12 bottles box of 228 500 euros). Finally, thanks to this originality, the wine if even more exceptional… After all, Mouton Rothschild offers the possibility to own an incredible work of a famous artist !