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December 1, 2021updated 12 Jun 2023 10:44am

Château Mouton Rothschild: Labelled with a solar iris

By The World of Fine Wine Team

Château Mouton Rothschild has revealed the label for the estate’s 2019 vintage by Danish-Icelandic artist, Olafur Eliasson.

Château Mouton Rothchild’s artist-label series has featured contributions from numerous art-world luminaries over the years, with Braque, Dalí, Picasso, Henry Moore, Jean Cocteau, Warhol, Jeff Koons, and Gerhard Richter among the designers commissioned since the tradition began with the 1945 vintage.

This week the château unveiled the latest work to grace the Pauillac first growth’s bottles: a design by the Danish-Icelandic artist, Olafur Eliasson for Château Mouton Rothschild 2019.

An alliance of sun and wine

According to a statement issued by the château, the artwork, Solar Iris of Mouton, “celebrates the alliance of sun and wine.

“Solar Iris of Mouton is divided into two horizontal strips,” the statement continues. “The upper part represents daytime with its golden hues, the lower part the night in midnight blue. They frame the oculus which represents Château Mouton Rothschild. Around it, a series of ellipses form a ring that charts the path of the sun in relation to the earth at the château’s location in Pauillac. The lowest arc designates the shortest day of the year, the top arc the longest.

“In the upper part, elongated figure 8 shapes known as analemmas represent the position of the sun recorded from Château Mouton Rothschild at the same time on each day of the year. The variations in the sun’s position in the sky arise from the movements of the earth around the sun and along its axis. The motion of the earth and the passing of time thus become visible in the shape of the analemma. The figure 8 shape also evokes the symbol of infinity—a promise of eternity for Mouton Rothschild 2019?”

“Solar Iris of Mouton is a map of all the sunsets and sunrises that take place over a year at Château Mouton Rothschild,” added Eliasson. “Depicting each hour of daylight and night-time that go into the growing of the grapes, it is a kind of signature for the vineyard, telling us something about the conditions in which the wine grew and the intimate relationship between the wine and its location. Tasting the wine connects us to the local environment, to the soil, and to the particular weather, seasons, and lighting of the place. Visible through the eye-like oculus at the center of the label, the wine contains the golden sun, the earth, and the sky; it is local and it simultaneously bears a trace of the celestial.”

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Focusing on the essential

A multi-disciplinary artist working in sculpture, painting, photography, film, and digital media, Eliasson, who was born in 1967 and studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, is based in Berlin.

“I have been fascinated by Olafur Eliasson’s work for many years. His wonderful exhibition at Versailles in 2016 was a defining moment for me and I said to myself ‘One day, if he is willing, Olafur Eliasson will be one of Château Mouton Rothschild’s artists,’” said Château Mouton Rothschild co-owner Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild, who was responsible for commissioning the label.

“His art focuses on the essential and that is what he has managed to capture for Mouton Rothschild: time, the round of the seasons and the sun at the centre of everything, treated here in the form of a diagram.”

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