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Chinese bid from Mouton

Mouton Rothschild has confirmed that the artist behind its 2008 vintage label will indeed be Chinese and prices have jumped again as a result.

fwot-mouton_rothschild_2008.jpgMonths of speculation have come to an end with the announcement that Xu Lei, artistic director of the Today Art Museum in Beijing, was chosen as the artist for the latest release.

The label depicts a ram standing on a rock between a halved moon, which symbolises, according to the château: “The role of a great wine as a link between people and cultures, from one hemisphere to the other of ‘planet wine’.”

Lei joins the ranks of other celebrated artists who have designed labels for the estate since the practice truly took off in 1945, including Salvador Dali, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso.

As the word “eight” in Mandarin is very close phonetically to the word for “wealth” or “prosper”, there has been a chance for houses to capitalise on the association with additions to their 2008 releases, mostly notably Lafite.

The rumours that Mouton would seek a Chinese artist drove prices of the vintage up dramatically in a very short space of time.

In little over a month prices rose from £4,250 in October to £6,910 just before the announcement this week.

On the very day of the declaration, 29 November, the wine traded at £7,800 on Liv-ex.

This makes the 2008 vintage the second most expensive Mouton of the decade so far, behind 2000. It has even driven prices of half cases up by 15% since the start of November, Liv-ex announced on its blog.

Prices reached £4,000 a case of six on Tuesday 30 November, up from £3,455 before. Liv-ex also reported a slight rise in trading of back vintages such as 2003 and 2006, which reached £5,100 and £3,625 a case respectively.

Rupert Millar, 02.12.2010

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