As we all know, the earthquake in Haiti has led to widespread devastation and suffering. The blow to an already impoverished nation is heart-wrenching.
People around the world quickly responded with help. The wine industry has joined in, too, with various donations and events to help the devastated island and its people. I am proud to offer this blog as another way that wine lovers can support Haiti and its people, by bidding for two magnums of Château Mouton-Rothschild 1986 generously donated by Baroness Philippine de Rothschild.
I remember visiting Haiti with my father as a boy in the early 1970s, when he was doing business there. The heat and the stench of poverty are still etched in my mind. I can see and smell it now as I write these words. This made it all the more saddening when I looked with the rest of the world on the terrible suffering of Haiti. It just didn't seem fair.
About two weeks after the Jan. 13 quake, I was in a London wine merchant's tasting room, and I noticed a poster that depicted the labels for the wines of Bordeaux first-growth Mouton-Rothschild. Each label since 1945 has featured the work of a different artist. Just next to the poster was a signed print of the label used for the legendary 1986 Mouton. It featured a painting by the late Haitian artist Bernard Séjourné.
I knew nothing about the artist, but Mouton was a different story. I had an idea. I called the château and asked Baroness Philippine de Rothschild if she would like to make a donation of the 1986 Mouton to raise money for Haiti.
The 1986 label was designed by Haitian artist Bernard Séjourné.
The Baroness had already made a financial donation to Haiti through her favorite charity Fondation de France, which has been very active in raising money for the relief efforts. She was more than willing to do more and offered to auction two magnums of 1986 Mouton through my blog. The bottles come straight from the cellars of Mouton.
This is an incredible offering. The 1986 Mouton is a legend. It is a powerful, immortal wine with amazing fruit and structure. My official score for the magazine is 99 points. But I have felt the red deserved a perfect 100 points when tasting it non-blind or unofficially over my career. It is a wine that will live for decades ahead. A jewel of a red.
The Baroness chose the Séjourné painting for the 1986 Mouton. It shows three Haitian women's heads with a moon against a black background. "It is almost abstract," she said. "It's not naive, or primitive. It is very intellectual. It draws me into mystery and fantasy."
Séjourné died in 1994, not long after the wine was released. "I remember our first meeting," the Baroness recalled. "We were instant friends. He came to Mouton, and he was a very enjoyable person and always happy and making jokes. We are not always sure of the quality of a vintage. Sometimes great painters sign lesser vintages. In this case, Bernard Séjourné found himself on one of the greatest vintages of Mouton ever made."
This is your chance to help Haiti as well as receive some amazing wine. Here are the details:
"The whole word was devastated by the earthquake in Haiti," said the Baroness in a telephone interview. "It was really the worst luck. It was so horrible. It was even worse that it was at the doorstep of the United States. Everyone should do more to help."
Please post your bids below in the comments section. The winner will be declared on Monday, March 1.
Thomas J Meyer — Boulder, Colorado — February 22, 2010 9:49pm ET
Scott Webster — Mississauga, Ontario, Canada — February 22, 2010 9:53pm ET
James Clary — United States — February 22, 2010 10:24pm ET
Scott Webster — Mississauga, Ontario, Canada — February 22, 2010 11:27pm ET
Samuel Devlin — United States — February 23, 2010 12:17am ET
James Suckling — — February 23, 2010 12:46am ET
James Suckling — — February 23, 2010 12:47am ET
James Suckling — — February 23, 2010 12:49am ET
Brian Seal — Bentonville, Arkansas, USA — February 23, 2010 2:05am ET
Kenneth Mancinelli — Wolcott, Ct USA — February 23, 2010 2:54am ET
David A Zajac — Akron, OH — February 23, 2010 9:26am ET
Tomas Vrsansky — Bratislava, Slovakia — February 23, 2010 1:05pm ET
Andrew J Walter — Sacramento, CA — February 23, 2010 1:54pm ET
Scott Webster — Mississauga, Ontario, Canada — February 23, 2010 9:24pm ET
Thomas Hughes — Texas — February 24, 2010 11:33am ET
James Suckling — — February 24, 2010 6:12pm ET
Clyde B Terwillegar — Melrose,Florida — February 25, 2010 12:14am ET
Karl Mark — Geneva, IL. — February 25, 2010 9:00am ET
Claus Wessel Jensen — Denmark — February 25, 2010 10:41am ET
Justin Larose — Mt Clemens, Michigan — February 25, 2010 3:49pm ET
Doug Daniell — Ontario/Canada — February 25, 2010 3:51pm ET
Jeff Franklin — Atlanta, Ga — February 25, 2010 10:41pm ET
James Suckling — — February 25, 2010 11:49pm ET
James Suckling — — February 25, 2010 11:51pm ET
Stacy Jacobs — San Diego, CA — February 26, 2010 10:01pm ET
Jonathan Auerbach — Tuscany — February 28, 2010 3:35am ET
Sander Joniau — Belgium — February 28, 2010 10:23am ET
Claus Wessel Jensen — Denmark — March 1, 2010 6:04am ET
Dana Nigro — New York, NY — March 1, 2010 11:59am ET
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