Every year since 1945 has seen the worlds of wine and art collide at Château Mouton-Rothschild where a renowned artist is chosen to design the label of their latest vintage. This is a tradition to which some of our greatest creators have contributed – Dali, Picasso, Warhol, Bacon and Koons to name just a few. The latest addition to this impressive list is Annette Messager, a French artist who hopes to leave her mark on this most famous of wine signatures.
For their 2017 vintage, Mouton had the chance to work with an artist whose work has seen great success across the world. As both a painter and sculptor, Messager has mastered a wealth of art forms, and finds herself drawn to a variety of subject matter. She takes much of her inspiration from language and the everyday, creating from this pieces that are at once multimedia and multifaceted. Whether treating perturbing or playful themes, serious or light-hearted subjects, all of her work has a distinctly feminist flavour – this is the lens through which she observes the world before representing it in her art.
The owners of the Château carry the conviction that the creative freedom of the chosen artist must be respected, and so Messager was not particularly constrained during the creation of her piece. The label that she came up with brings together themes that go back to the fundamentals of our human culture. Entitled ‘Hallelujah’, it’s the Bible which has its place at the heart of this work. The wave of red writing formed of this devotional proclamation is the poetic element that carries us away from the visual towards the contemplation of other senses – the musical quality of incantation, the deep aromas of the precious bottle, and eventually the rich taste of the scintillating wine it contains. The power of evocation held by this image, small but mighty, is striking. And the rapport between this label and the famous wine it seeks to illustrate? It’s the virtues of wine and milk, their praises sung so highly in the Holy Book, that led the artist to create this expressive artwork.
As for the 2017 vintage itself, this is a year that brought into being some rich and colourful wines with strong tannic structure. Despite the hot weather conditions experienced during the harvest, these wines offer a notable freshness. Notes of blackcurrant bud and dried flowers are expressed in perfect harmony. ‘The complete and balanced finish confirms this to be a promising wine!’