Wine lovers tend to be a generous lot: How else to explain the tens of millions of dollars raised at auction for charities every year? So when Wine Spectator and Bordeaux first-growth Château Mouton-Rothschild decided to put two magnums of the 1986 Mouton on the block for the benefit of Haiti’s earthquake victims, we knew our readers would meet the occasion.
A few weeks ago, senior editor James Suckling happened on a depiction of the 1986 Mouton label, which showcases the work of the late Haitian artist Bernard Séjourné, and it gave him an idea. Soon, thanks to the largesse of Mouton’s Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, who was already providing financial support to relief efforts, James had two magnums of the celestial 99-point red Bordeaux up for auction, with the comments section of his blog acting as the saleroom.
On March 1, bidding closed, and Claus Wessel Jensen and Sander Joniau emerged the winners, offering $3,800 and $3,600, respectively. While both jumped at the chance to snare the celebrated wine, this was not the primary motivation for either in entering the bidding.
Wrote Jensen in an e-mail message, “I feel humble and happy that I won the auction and a chance to give a donation to the people of Haiti. It brings tears to my eyes watching the devastation and suffering they are going through.” Joniau echoed, “I felt compassion after hearing about the devastating tragedy in this already impoverished nation,” adding, “I’ve never had the fortune to sample a Mouton-Rothschild before, nor any other first-growth. I probably wouldn’t buy it if there wasn’t charity involved.”
The money is on its way to Fondation de France’s Haiti Solidarity relief and rebuilding initiative. The Moutons, meanwhile, join Joniau’s and Wessel’s collections. “I will give it a V.I.P. treatment in my cellar for a couple of decades,” explained Joniau of his plans for the bottle. “Then I hope to enjoy it with my wife, kids, family and friends. And I hope Haiti will be fully recovered and flourishing by then.”