Nathaniel de Rothschild established French winery Château Mouton Rothschild in the mid-19th century in the village of Pauillac in Bordeaux, France.
The controversial exclusion of the claret from the "first growths" –the listing of the finest wineries, from first to fifth growths in descending order – from the French wine heartland of Bordeaux was finally set right in 1972, when its status was elevated from second growth to first.
Esteemed by wine connoisseurs the world over, Château Mouton Rothschild is exported to 160 countries. Annually, the winery produces 150,000 to 180,000 bottles; it has been a presence in Indonesia for 20 years.
“Indonesia is a very important market for us because the country is a melting pot of various ethnicities. The people like food so much and appreciate the love of life,” said the winemaker’s assistant manager for sales Erwan Le Brozec.
He visited the capital at the invitation of wine bar Vin+ in Senayan, South Jakarta, to assist at a special tasting of Château Mouton Rothschild 2001. In addition to that vintage, Le Petit Mouton 2006, Château d’Armailhac 2000 and Château Clerc Milon 2008 were also available at the event.
Le Petit Mouton is considered the second wine of Mouton Rothschild while both Château d’Armailhac and Château Clerc Milon are classified as fifth growths.
Asked why he chose the year 2001 instead of other vintages, Le Brozec said it came down to it exceptional taste.
“It’s very juicy, silky and captivating with a very fine aroma seemingly containing of lots of white tobacco.”
With a shrinking world, wine is being enjoyed by consumers in new markets and paired with different cuisines. That leads to questions on whether wines can make to transition to pairing with Asian or other non-European foods.
For Le Brozec, wine is a multicultural product and does not only have to be drunk with French food. “When I visited Shíjiazhuang in China, I saw people drinking wine while eating Asian foods.”Vintage art
Château Mouton Rothschild treats its bottles like pieces of art. Each year, a prominent artist creates a painting to illustrate the labels.
The practice began in 1945, when Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Nathaniel’s successor, wanted to celebrate the Allied victory in World War II.
“He befriended many famous artists at that time. Then he asked one of them [Philippe Julian] to design the label for his wine bottle. It then became a tradition,” Le Brozec explained.
Other famous artists who have lent their talents to are Jean Cocteau (1947), Georges Braque (1955), Salvador Dali (1958), Joan Miró (1969), Kandinsky (1971), Pablo Picasso (1973), Andy Warhol (1975) and Francis Bacon (1990).
In 1977, the label was a tribute to Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mother who stayed at the château in April that year. For the year 2001, the bottle’s label illustration was created by stage director and playwright Robert Wilson.
The latest label in 2009 was by Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor.
“We would like to announce our newest participating artists at the end of the year or early next year," the Frenchman said.