James Bond (played by Roger Moore) enjoys 1934 Château Mouton Rothschild in the company of Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland), served by Nick Nack (Hervé Villechaize) at lunch with Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee) in The Man With The Golden Gun.
Mouton 1934 comes from the best (and largest) vintage of an otherwise difficult decade for Bordeaux. With the possible exception of Cheval Blanc, Mouton is the best of the ’34s. Described by the late Michael Broadbent MW as “Lovely and – for Mouton – relatively low-keyed”.
This vintage of Mouton comes from the era before its bespoke artist labels and only a year before the Comité National des Appellations d’Origine was created to manage and control the region and commune in which a wine was produced.
An Art Deco label was commissioned from the poster artist Carlu for the 1924 Mouton vintage. To commemorate the end of the war, 1945 was the second vintage of Mouton to feature a bespoke label, based on Churchill’s “V for Victory”, by a young French artist called Philippe Jullian.
Every vintage since, Mouton has enlisted an artist to design a new label. Although the artists are never paid for their work, they do receive ten cases of wine – five of that year’s vintage, plus five of their own vintage.
Mouton ’34 doesn’t appear in Ian Fleming’s 1965 novel The Man With The Golden Gun but it does feature in Moonraker (1955) when James Bond and M are having dinner at Blades:
“’Then what?’ asked M. ‘Champagne? Personally I’m going to have a half-bottle of claret. The Mouton Rothschild ’34, please, Grimley. But don’t pay any attention to me, James. I’m an old man. Champagne’s no good for me.’”
In Diamonds Are Forever (1971), James Bond (played by Sean Connery) is served Château Mouton Rothschild 1955 by Mr Wint (Bruce Glover).
1955 comes after the execrable 1954 – one of the worst Bordeaux summers on record – and before the catastrophic 1956, when the February frost froze the sap in the vines and destroyed some vineyards.
Michael Broadbent mentions Mouton 1955 as being “spectacular” but “very expensive” at 36 shillings per bottle when it was released.
In 2020, 36 shillings equates to £1.80. Allowing for inflation, it’s about £68. Not very expensive.
Described by Mouton Rothschild as “The first artist of international stature to illustrate a Mouton Rothschild label”, Georges Braque (1882-1963) was, with Picasso, one of the originators of Cubism.
His drawing for the 1955 Mouton label shows a glass of wine on a table – a nice setting in which to enjoy Mouton Rothschild.