AT A GLANCE:
Name of wine estate: Château Mouton Rothschild
Wine region: Bordeaux
Standout points: First Growth Bordeaux wines; practically priceless historic and modern art collection
Winemaker: Philippe Dhalluin
Wine style: Cabernet Sauvignon-based blends
The artistry of wine
This superstar Left Bank château distinguishes itself not only by its stratospherically priced wines, but also by its intimate connections to the art world – especially its collaborations with celebrated artists for the design of its labels. Until his death in 1988, Baron Philippe de Rothschild had commissioned artists to design every grand vin label since 1945. Pablo Picasso, for example, was engaged to design the 1973 label to commemorate the chateau’s accession to the premier cru classé – Bordeaux’s top echelon of wine. That collaborative tradition continues to this day, the most recent Mouton Rothschild label design having been executed by the French visual artist Annette Messager.
Pauillac – qu’est-ce que c’est?
To many Bordeaux lovers, Pauillac is the most revered appellation of them all. It is home to three of the five Bordeaux First Growths – Latour, Lafite and, of course, Mouton-Rothschild – and is considered a bastion of ‘traditional’ claret. Pauillac wines are noted for the power, structure and slowly unfolding complexity of flavours. Those of Mouton-Rothschild are recognisable by their almost flamboyant aromatics of cassis, tobacco leaf and graphite, as well as their power and impressive length. Visits to the estate (by appointment) will give you the chance to taste the grand vin as well as delving deep into the history of the chateau and seeing the stunning, low-ceilinged Great Barrel Hall. Built in 1926, this temple-like space is home to around 1,000 barriques of precious Mouton wine.
A cornucopia of treasures
Visits to Mouton-Rothschild will also enable you to see the family’s practically priceless collection of historic and modern art. Situated in a former barrel hall, the Museum of Wine in Art houses a cornucopia of historic treasures, from medieval Dutch tapestries to ancient Greek pottery. Meanwhile outdoors, Baron Philippe’s goal of making Mouton a temple to “the eternal and fruitful dialogue between art and wine” is apparent wherever one looks. This is a truly inspiring wine destination amply justifying its lofty reputation.