In the nexus between art and wine, the artist label series of Mouton Rothschild stands comfortably at the apex. The concept was launched by the late Baron Philippe back in 1924 â€“ when it was well ahead of its time â€“ with the commission to Jean Carlu to produce the label for the first vintage bottled entirely at the chateau. The market did not embrace the idea. It was only in 1945 that Philippe de Rothschild returned to it, dressing the Victory vintage with a label designed by Philippe Jullian.
Every year since then Mouton Rothschild has had a different label. On a few rare occasions the vintage has been marked by something other than a label designed by a famous living artist â€“ for example, in 1953, to celebrate the centenary of Rothschild ownership and again in 2003 for the 150th anniversary, in 1973, with homage to Picasso and in 2000, where the millennium vintage appeared in an engraved bottle depicting the Augsburg Ram.
While the deal between the artists and the chÃ¢teau remains a private arrangement, it has always been an exchange â€“ art for wine and wine for art. The honour and the international recognition work both ways, a comfortable pairing of two brands respected in their respective fields.
Unavoidably, there is no connection at all between the fame of the artist and the quality of the vintage: the artists are engaged long before the grapes have ripened on the vines. Thus, it is that the ghastly 1969 vintage has been elevated by a work of art by Miro, the very ordinary 1957 by Andre Masson, the undrinkable 1958 by Salvador Dali, the dilute 1964 by Henry Moore and the very ordinary 1980 by Hans Hartung. On the other hand, Marc Chagall scored the very good 1970 vintage, Francis Bacon the 1990, Lucian Freud the decent enough 2006 and Jeff Koons the fabulous 2010.
It is a matter of great good fortune that the work of William Kentridge, the first South African artist to be invited to produce a label for Mouton Rothschild, adorns the legendary 2016 vintage. Critics everywhere have hailed the 2016 Mouton as the wine of the vintage, with most international commentators scoring it 100 points on release. With the exception of ChÃ¢teau Latour, none of the other First Growths are vaguely close in terms of ranking. This perfect symbiosis, a great Mouton bearing a striking work of art - the iconic Kentridge silhouette images of the Triumphs of Bacchus procession - is pretty much a first since Baron Philippe first hit upon the idea almost a century ago.
It goes without saying that there is already an overwhelming demand for the ChÃ¢teau Mouton Rothschild 2016, driven by the extraordinary quality of the wine itself. We have received a limited allocation and plan to import it by no later than May. William Kentridge has undertaken to sign some of these bottles, which will be offered at a premium, with the full additional amount raised to be donated to an early childhood literacy training programme run in conjunction with the READ Literacy Educational Trust. These signed Kentridge bottles will be offered (together with the rest of our allocation) on a first-come-first-served basis. Pricing is as follows:
CHÃ‚TEAU MOUTON ROTHSCHILD 2016
Per bottle: R 18 750.00
(6 bottle case price discount â€“10%)
TO PLACE YOUR ORDER OR FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT US AT firstname.lastname@example.org or call (011) 482 9178.
Kentridge signed bottle: R 28 750.00
(The full amount of this premium will be donated to Early Childhood Development Literacy training)
1 Rockridge Road
+27 11 482 9178