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Delhi Wine Club
The 1855 Classification moves towards UN Recognition

Posted: Tuesday, 18 June 2013 10:40

The 1855 Classification moves towards UN Recognition

June 18: Conseil des Grands Crus Classés1855 (Médoc & Sauternes) has officially moved to have the “1855 Classification of Bordeaux Wines” recognized as part of France's Intangible Cultural Heritage, in preparation for its candidacy for inclusion on the UNESCO list of Humanity's Intangible Cultural Heritage, according to Philippe Castéja, President of the Conseil at a dinner hosted last Sunday at the estate of Château Mouton Rothschild

Click For Large ViewThe announcement was made by Mr. Castéja while welcoming about 350 journalists from 40 countries at a dinner which has become a tradition for the past 30 years when the international Press is honoured by the Conseil hosting a special dinner at the estate of one of the five Premier Grand Cru Classés on the opening night of Vinexpo. This year the honours went to Chateau Mouton Rothschild.

The dinner as always was a treat with wines taking the center stage. It started with a tasting of Sauternes & Barsac Grand Cru Classé wines from 2006 through 2009. This was followed by the Médoc Grand Cru Classé wines from the famous 2005 vintage.  The Main Course was accompanied with vintages varying from 1996 to the legendary 1982 vintage (considered one the best vintages of 20th century along with 1945 and 1961 and which made Robert Parker singularly famous for his contrarian view declaring it a great vintage).

Another center of attraction was the Mouton Rothschild 1975 poured from Imperial-sized bottles (6- liter Bordeaux bottles containing the equivalent of 8 standard bottles) . Toconclude, the guests enjoyed the dessert wine, the Grand vin from Château Coutet (1989), the First Growth sweet wine from the Sauternes -Barsac appellation (for our uninitiated readers, the legendary Chateau d’Yquem enjoys a special Premier Cru Supérieur status). Baron Philippe de Rothschild S.A., the private family holding company of Mouton enjoys the exclusive Distribution rights of Coutet.

Click For Large ViewEarlier in the day, Château Mouton Rothschild also inaugurated its new vat room, as well as an exhibition space for the artworks which have illustrated the labels of the legendary First Growth since 1945. The vat room has 64 vats, of different sizes, corresponding to the different parcels of the estate, helping to optimize both selection of the grapes and the blending of the wine.

The exhibition "Mouton Rothschild - Paintings for the Labels", welcomed since 1981
in many of the world's leading museums, has now found a home at Mouton. It is a display of the original paintings in glass cases and is open to public, when not travelling for exhibitions in France or overseas. All the commissioned works of Miró to Chagall, Braque to Picasso, Tàpies to Francis Bacon, Dali to Balthus Prince Charles and even the Indian-born UK artist Anish Kapoor, knighted for his services to the visual arts by Queen Elizabeth II on her birthday last week, may be viewed and appreciated in their original grandeur at this exhibition.

Interestingly, since the institutionalization of the Classification in 1855, there have been no changes made (Château Cantemerle in Haut Médoc became one of the 18 Cinquièmes Crus-Fifth Growths only in 1856). The only other exception was Chateau Mouton Rothschild which was upgraded from the Second Growth to First Growth in 1973 because of the continuous efforts and lobbying by Baron Philippe de Rothschild, the late father of the current owner, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, his only child and who turns 80 this November. Latour, Margaux, Lafite and Haut Brion are the other four First Growth Chateaux.

The Conseil des Grands Crus Classés1855 (Médoc & Sauternes) is the official organization dedicated to the promotion of wines listed in the 1855 Bordeaux Classification, managing all aspects of administration. The Classification was established by the order of the French Emperor, Napoléon III, who wanted the finest wines to be presented at the Universal Exposition at Paris in 1855, the first universal exposition organized in France.

It was based entirely on recent market prices for the vineyards’ wines, with one exception- Château Mouton Rothschild. Despite the market prices for its wines being the same as that of Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Mouton was excluded from the First Growth status. It is widely believed that the exception was made because the vineyard had recently been purchased by an Englishman and was no longer in French ownership.

The bi-annual global wine and spirits show Vinexpo is being held in Bordeaux for the 17th time from June 16-20. Over 2,400 producers from 45 countries are exhibiting their products to an expected 48,000 visitors from 145 countries including of course, India.

Subhash Arora



Subhash Arora Says:

Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, owner of Chateau Mouton Rothschild was given the Lifetime Achievement Award for her lifelong contribution to the wine industry, jointly by the Institute of Masters of Wine and Drinks Business at an award ceremony at Vinexpo in Bordeaux at lunchtime yesterday the presence of her family and high-profile members of the wine industry. Our heartiest congratulations to Madame Philippine de Rothschild. Subhash Arora

Posted @ June 19, 2013 12:07


Subhash Arora Says:

Aeisha, thanks for your comments. I believe in telling it like it is. But also, I am a great supporter of such Shows-for long term interests of good wine companies they are extremely important to participate in. The government (IGPB/APEDA) are very supportive of the industry. Fortunately, the two gentlemen at the top -Capt Gahlot and Sunil Kumar are very pro-active. Keep in touch with them to get the best out of the system. Good luck and hope to see your wines at such shows (decided where to take part, obviously) and international wine competitions. Subhash Arora

Posted @ June 17, 2013 12:54


Aeisha Sahni Says:

Great article Subhash, extremely informative. Gives us a better incite on whats happening at these shows for Indian producers. Thanks for sharing it.

Posted @ June 17, 2013 12:54


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