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Wine labels by famous artists in Bonhams sale

An unbroken run of 20 bottles of Châteaux Mouton Rothschild 1989-2009 with labels designed by some of the most famous artists in the world is one of the highlights of Bonhams Rare and Fine Wine sale in London on 23rd May. They are estimated at £5,000-7,000.

Artists include Lucien Freud (2006), Balthus (1993) and even the Prince of Wales in 2004 whose contribution marked the 100th anniversary of the Entente Cordiale.  Freud’s design, perhaps in homage to his grandfather Sigmund, takes the form of a dreamlike image of a giraffe staring wistfully – or possibly hungrily – at a potted palm while Prince Charles chose to depict vine leaves in autumn.
 
Baron Philippe de Rothschild came up with the idea of asking different artists to design a label for each vintage and this has been a popular feature of Mouton Rothschild since 1946.
 
Elsewhere in the sale there is an important single owner collection of red Burgundies estimated at over £200,000.  Central to it is a range of Romanée–Conti including a 12-bottle case of 1988 (£60,000-80,000) three bottles of 1990 (£25,000-35,000) and three bottles of 1999(£22,000-28,000) and single bottles of 1985, 1988, 1989, 1993 and 1997.  
 
Also from Burgundy, a case of 1999 Echezeaux from Henri & Georges Jayer (£5,000-6,000) has been consigned by a continental collector and two cases of Emmanuel Rouget’s 1992 Vosne-Romanée, Cros Parantoux (a vineyard planted by Henri Jayer) are being sold by a well-known school with an estimate of £3,000-4,000 a dozen.
 
From a university college cellar come rare magnums of Paul Jaboulet’s Hermitage La Chapelle 1978 (£6,000-8,000 for six) and a private vendor    is selling a very broad range of younger Rhone wines, particularly Châteauneuf du Pape from 1999 to the 2010 vintage.
 
From Bordeaux, a recently released bottle of Château Lafite Rothschild 1945 is on sale at £1,500-2,000, and a case of the 1982 vintage from a private vendor is estimated at £20,000-28,000.  Also from the superb 1982 vintage come case lots of Château Mouton Rothschild (£7,000-9,000), Margaux (£6,500-8,000), Petrus (£40,000-60,000) and three dozen Cos d’Estournel 1982 (£2,200-2,800).  A professionally stored collection of 1985 and 1986 claret includes a case of Le Pin 1985 at £10,000-15,000.
 
A good range of Sauternes includes six bottles of Château Coutet, Cuvée Madame 1989 (£900-1,000), five cases of Château Climens (£600-700), Yquem 1983 (£2,500-3,000) and 1990 (£2,500-3,000).
 
Almost 100 lots of Italian wine include a collection of super Tuscans, including Sassicaia (2000 vintage - £900-1,000 a dozen), Solaia, Ornellaia (1999 vintage - £1,200-1,400 a dozen) and Masseto (1997 vintage - £2,200-2,800 for 6 bottles).
 
The 730 lot sale concludes with a range of rare Cognac, including a collection of Courvoisier Erté at £3,500-4,000 for a set of seven decanters, designed by the eponymous artist.
 
Richard Harvey MW, international director of Bonhams wine department commented: “There are some really exciting wines in this sale. In particular, it’s a great pleasure to be offering the Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle 1978. It’s a superb wine which rarely comes onto the market. The exceptional collection of Romanée-Conti is also likely to arouse great interest and the Mouton Rothschild with the labels designed by famous artists are always popular.”

16 May 2013 - Felicity Murray