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South Korean artist designs Mouton 2013 label

South Korean painter Lee Ufan has been unveiled as the artist behind the Château Mouton Rothschild 2013 label; a vintage many in the region would like to forget.

The art-focused first growth has commissioned a contemporary artist to create a bespoke artwork for its labels every year since 1945.

Born in a South Korean mountain village in 1936, Ufan moved to Japan aged 20 in 1956 and studied philosophy at Tokyo’s Nihon University.

Reflections on identity and difference influence his meditative works. For the Mouton commission, Ufan depicts a simple square that begins a pinkish purple and deepens in colour from left to right to a rich ruby red.

In a statement from the Château, the design is described thus: “The initially indecisive purple of the drawing gradually attains its full richness, just as a great wine is patiently brought to fulfilment in the vat house.”

In addition to paintings, Ufan produces sculptures made from rock, steel and glass and has had his works exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the Jeu de Paume museum in Paris, the park at Versailles and the Guggenheim and MoMA in New York.

The 2013 vintage in Bordeaux is widely regarded as one of the worst on recent record, though Mouton is happy with the wine it produced due to “draconian” grape selection.

A cold and damp winter followed by a cool and wet spring held back the vegetation cycle and affected flowering, leading yields to be among the lowest at the estate in the last 40 years,

The harvest was completed in record time between 30 September and 9 October.

The final blend of 89% Cabernet, 7% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc is described as having aromas of “black cherry, raspberry, blackberry and delicately roasted notes”.

Boasting a “clean, fresh and rich attack”, the palate offers “suggestions of vanilla and chocolate, underpinned by refined tannins and a long aromatic finish”.

Among the other artists to have created a label for Mouton Rothschild are Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Georges Braque, Juan Miró, Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon, Lucien Freud and Jeff Koons.

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