Classic content with a classy design

5 recommendations

A number of wineries have their bottle labels designed by artists. This trend started with the famous Château Mouton Rothschild from Bordeaux. We present five attractive examples of new vintages that also have the right content.

What criteria do consumers use to select their wines? The price is certainly a decisive criterion. And the label. If you stand in front of a shelf with countless wines that are little or not known, you like to be influenced by the presentation and design. It’s understandable, but actually the contents of the bottle should be the deciding factor in whether you buy or not.

Certain wineries pay special attention to etiquette. They hire artists who create the label. The famous Château Mouton Rothschild from Bordeaux is considered a pioneer of this trend. Now classified as Premier Cru Classé, the château has hired a different painter every year since 1945. Among them are such well-known names as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, Marc Chagall or the Swiss Hans Erni, who created the label for the 1987 vintage. Women rarely got a chance, like Niki de Saint Phalle in 1997. As payment, there are a few boxes of that year.

The artsy estates also include the Tuscan vineyard Nittardi, which belongs to German gallery owner Peter Femfert and his wife Stefania Canali. An internationally renowned artist has designed the label for Chianti Classico La Doghessa since 1981. The collection includes works by Tomi Ungerer, Hundertwasser, Yoko Ono and Mikis Theodorakis, to name a few. On the occasion of the anniversary of “40 years of artist labels”, the new vintage 2020, which will be released shortly, will be designed by six different personalities. A box of 6 contains one bottle of each design.

Five suitable wine recommendations

We searched and found five artist labeled wines available on the market. Not only the design had to be convincing, but also the content. What good is the most beautiful label if the fine wine does not taste good?

Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2019, Bordeaux

The designer of this brand is the world-renowned Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, who now lives in Berlin, and who chose “The Mouton sun visor” as his theme. The image shows the sun ice and is a map of all sunrises and sunsets that occur on the estate during a year.

Cabernet Sauvignon Château Mouton Rothschild, 2019, available from Gerstl for CHF 829. (Image: PD)

Cabernet Sauvignon Château Mouton Rothschild, 2019, available from Gerstl for CHF 829. (Image: PD)

The luxury wine is also a work of art. 2019 Premier Grand Cru Classé from Pauillac consists of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot. Mouton Rothschild always combines power with elegance – especially in big years like 2019. Unfortunately, the aromatically complex and big wine has become unaffordable for many.

Casanuova di Nittardi Chianti Classico La Doghessa 2019, Nittardi, Tuscany

Fabrizio Plessi, a Venetian by choice and considered the founder and pioneer of video art, created the label for this red drop. The artist’s main theme is water. The label also shows the flow of the elements – in the form of liquid gold. In addition, a tissue paper is always made to wrap each bottle.

Sangiovese Chianti Classico Casanuova di Nittardi, 2019, Vineyard Fattoria Nittardi, available for example by message in bottle for 24.50.  (Image: PD)

Sangiovese Chianti Classico Casanuova di Nittardi, 2019, Vineyard Fattoria Nittardi, available for example by message in bottle for 24.50. (Image: PD)

Lagen-Chianti-Classico is a pure Sangiovese that is matured in French tonneaux and in cement vats. 2019 is very successful: beautiful, complex aroma of red fruits, spicy notes, close to the palate, with well-integrated tannins and appropriate acidity, elegant, good length.

Chardonnay Art Series 2019, Leeuwin, Australia

Artist Leon Pericles created the catchy label with fish elements. He was born in Western Australia and is of Anglo-Irish descent. His great passion belongs to the residents who live in the Australian bush. This is also reflected in his works.

Chardonnay Art Series, 2019, Weingut Leeuwin, available from Realwines for 79 francs.  (Image: PD)

Chardonnay Art Series, 2019, Weingut Leeuwin, available from Realwines for 79 francs. (Image: PD)

The dry white wine from the Margret River is indisputably one of the best examples of Chardonnay from the New World. Its elegant, mineral style is reminiscent of great Burgundy wines. The excellent 2019 with great structure, depth and length will age easily.

Fragore 2017, Donnafugata, Sicily

The illustrator Stefano Vitale has worked for the famous Donnafugata winery for 20 years. In his drawings, he wants to include the colors of Sicily in the communication of wine. This creates very colorful art treasures with a strong expressiveness, which this brand also shows.

Nerello Mascalese Fragore, 2017, Donnafugata vineyard, available from Terravigna for 64 francs.  (Image: PD)

Nerello Mascalese Fragore, 2017, Donnafugata vineyard, available from Terravigna for 64 francs. (Image: PD)

The wine comes from the mountains of Etna with its volcanic soil. These give it a characteristic minerality, energy and tension. Subtleties characterize the medium-heavy Fragore. The complex and well-structured cru is made from the original Nerello Mascalese variety.

Blanc Seleccion 2021, Toni Gelabert Winery, Mallorca

The brand comes from the Spanish painter Guillem Nadal. He divided the picture into six equal fragments. One of each represents the label on a bottle. Each box also comes with a printed foil.

Macabeu and Viognier Blanc Seleccion, 2021, Weingut Toni Gelabert, Majorca, available from Weinwerft at CHF 416.40.  (Image: PD)

Macabeu and Viognier Blanc Seleccion, 2021, Weingut Toni Gelabert, Majorca, available from Weinwerft at CHF 416.40. (Image: PD)

The powerful white wine made from the varieties Macabeu and Viognier shines with its complex aromas: white fruits, floral and mineral notes. On the palate, Blanc Seleccion, which is only produced in excellent years, is dry and powerful but has lively acidity. The wood is well integrated, the salty aftertaste is long. The rare wine is only sold in the case of six bottles.

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