Monday, May 15, 2023

Château Mouton Rothschild highlights Mother’s Day

Château Mouton Rothschild  highlights Mother’s Day celebration and family gathering

Much of the family gathered for Mother’s Day at son Sean’s house down the street from us, for a cookout including our three son’s. Notably, Sean just recently had another baby daughter making this Mother’s Day extra special. In recognition of the day, and Sean’s new daughter, Lilac, I took a special birth-year vintage bottle of wine to celebrate the occasion – this ultra-premium First Growth Bordeaux.

The boys grilled out fantastic lean hamburgers with mushrooms, onions and peppers served with Muenster cheese on Brioche buns. 

Our daughter and her family were elsewhere celebrating Mother’s Day on this day, as was son Ryan’s wife and kids, hence our gathering featured our three youngest (of ten) grandkids, three young girls, who captured the day with their play and wonderment of the new-born baby. 

The wine.

Château Mouton Rothschild Pauillac Bordeaux 1985

Fitting for the day, not only was this commemorative vintage bottle celebrating Sean’s birth year, but it also adorned a special artists label I felt especially suitable for the special occasion. Mouton Rothschild are legendary for their artist label series wherein each year a notable famous artist is tapped to produce special artwork for their vintage release label. 

As I write on my winesite page devoted to and featuring the Mouton Rothchild wine label library - "No wine producer in the world captures the imagination or attention of wine collectors more than Mouton Rothschild with their annual artist series of labels.'

"Each year a renowned artist is commissioned to do the artwork for that vintage. The featured artist is said to be paid ten cases of various vintages of the classic Château Mouton Rothschild for their work. Every collector dreams of collecting a 'vertical' of Mouton to display the artwork of Mouton. Labels have been produced by the world's most famous contemporary artists, Chagall (1970), Dali (1958), Picasso (1973), Miro (1969), Andy Warhol (1975), as well as other luminaries such as Prince Charles (2004) and Hollywood director John Huston (1982). Many other producers have established artist series, but there is only one Mouton Rothschild."

In 1945, Baron Philippe de Rothschild conceived the original idea of crowning the Mouton label with a work of art created for this purpose by famous artists: These have included paintings by Miró, Chagall, Braque, Picasso, Warhol, Bacon, Balthus, amongst others.

Only 4 vintages have not had Artist's labels: 1953 which celebrated the initial purchase of the Mouton property, 1977 when the Queen Mother stayed at Mouton and the Baron dedicated that year's vintage to her, 2000 where the label is enameled in gold with a reproduction of Jakob Schenauer's Augsburg Ram (below), and 2003 which is devoted to Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild depicted in a period photograph celebrating the 150th anniversary of 1853 acquisition of the Mouton estate by the family. 

We drove around the legendary Château Mouton Rothschild estate and vineyards during our visit to the Pauillac appellation during our tour of the Bordeaux region wine visit in 2019.

The official Château Mouton Rothschild Rothschild Official Label Art is featuring on pages on the producers website.

The 1985 vintage label features artwork by Belgium surrealist artist Paul Delvaux (1897-1994) showing two diminutive demure girls, apart, yet drawn together by a bunch of grapes, and eventually the wine?

This label is especially appropriate for Mother’s Day with and celebrating Sean’s mother, wife and now two daughters, as well as son Alec’s wife and his next-newest baby daughter. 

One reviewer describes the label - "Paul Delvaux represents here two model and chaste little girls of his drawing seem pensive and invaded by shyness. It is the bunch of grapes, the central element of the drawing, which links the two young women and connects them to each other." 

The 1985 vintage year was one of the driest years on record in Pauillac, with only a few summer storms and warm weather straight through harvest, producing one of the top vintages of the 1980s. 

Of course, I acquired this birth year vintage bottle decades ago, long before I would or could know about all the females that would come to surround Sean in his life, making the occasion, and the artwork on the label that much more special and appreciated on this day. 

This is one of a dozen vintages of the wine we hold or have consumed from our cellar, including the birthyear vintages of each of our kids. 

At thirty eight years, the bottle and wine were in amazing, ideal condition for their age; the fill level, foil and cork, and the label, all in ideal condition for their age. The cork was very tight forming a rigorous seal of the bottle, such that a traditional corkscrew was inevitably going to pull the cork apart up extraction. Hence, I ran back home to fetch my Ahso, two pronged cork puller, which readily extracted the cork intact, despite the fact it had been severely compromised by the complete penetration of the cork all the way through by the corkscrew. 

Winemaker Notes - The wine has an attractive, intense ruby color with a red-orange tint and a nose of considerable aromatic intensity on which lovely jammy fruit (blackberry, bilberry, blackcurrant) mingles with notes of vanilla, incense, cinnamon and roast coffee. Round and smooth on the attack, it asserts a fine texture over nicely rounded, well-integrated tannins, developing a stylish mid-palate on toasted, roasted notes of caramel, biscuit, spice and chocolate. The powerful finish, lush, long and full, reveals all the generosity, elegance and balance of this very fine vintage.

Critics Acclaim - This vintage release was awarded 99 points by James Suckling, 94 points by John Gilman, and 93 points by Decanter and Wine Advocate 

This Premier Cru Classé is made from 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot.

At thirty eight years, the wine was in remarkably good condition, well within its drinking window, albeit starting to show slightly with some bricking to the deep garnet purple color, and showing a slight bit of vegetable funkiness in the fruit, that for the most part gave way after a decanting and short period of time. Really good, we caught it in time, but clearly nearing the end of it's drinking window.

Purple garnet colored, medium-full bodied, elegant, polished, complex and finely integrated blackberry and black raspberry fruits highlighted by notes of spice, leather, tobacco, black tea with hints of mocha, graphite and smokey oak, with a lingering smooth moderate tannin laced finish.

RM 92 points.