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Xu Lei confirmed as Mouton 2008 artist

Chateau Mouton Rothschild has just revealed its wine label for the 2008 vintage – confirming Chinese painter Xu Lei as the artist.

Xu is artistic director of Today Art Museum, Beijing’s leading contemporary art gallery, and a graduate from the prestigious Nanjing Academy of Fine Arts.

For the label, he has reworked the classic Mouton emblem with a delicate ink drawing that depicts the famous ram standing between two halves of the moon.

It asserts, says the chateau, ‘the role of a great wine as a link between people and cultures, from one hemisphere to the other’.

Prices for Mouton 2008 have been rising in recent weeks on the back of this expected announcement.

When speculation of a Chinese artist first surfaced in late 2009, the price immediately moved upwards from the opening £1800 per case to around £2200.

That now seems like a bargain: recent weeks have seen the 2008 vintage trading at no less than £6000 per case.

The explicit recognition of the importance of the Chinese market follows the huge upsurge in value for the Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2008 a few weeks ago when it announced all bottles and magnums of the 2008 vintage would feature a neck engraving of the Chinese symbol for the figure eight, in celebration of the estate’s new vineyard venture in China.

Prices went up 20% overnight on the back of the announcement, and the wine is currently trading at around £10,000 per case.

The Mouton Rothschild Artists label series began in 1924, and has seen a new label created every year since 1945. Artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol – and the Prince of Wales – have all featured.

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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