Epicurean Elegance, A Château Mouton Rothschild Affair

The first guests to arrive at EQ Kuala Lumpur’s fine-dine venue Sabayon were greeted by flutes of Barons de Rothschild Champagne poured from magnums, a precursor of the dinner that was to come. This event, organised by wine distributor Bordeaux Liquid Gold in collaboration with EQ Kuala Lumpur and Robb Report Malaysia, promised fine gastronomy, high horology, and the appreciation of Château Mouton Rothschild, one of Bordeaux’s five fabled First Growths.

Bordeaux Liquid Gold’s Julian Poh (left), and Château Mouton Rothschild’s Commercial Director, Charles Fournier.

From champagne, guests segued to a presentation of timekeeping novelties by one of the world’s oldest watchmakers, Vacheron Constantin. Founded in 1755, this watchmaking Maison has enjoyed an uninterrupted run that helped propel it into the legendary ranks of watchmaking’s ‘holy trinity’ by virtue of its mastery in complications. At the dinner, the watchmaker’s regional training manager Valentin Tremaud remarked that, as a Frenchman, he was happy to have the honour of tasting beautiful wines and to see these wines enjoyed by timepiece enthusiasts. Among the pieces on offer were novelties from the recent Watches and Wonders fair in Geneva. Among them were the sunray dials of the Overseas collection proposed in a new rich green colour, as well as an all-new titanium Overseas tourbillon.

The Overseas in 35mm with a diamond bezel, part of this year’s launch of novelties featuring the green dial.

At this night of epicurean elegance, guests looked forward to each hour surpassing the hour before. Kicking off the evening was the Iwashi course of torched sardine with caviar paired with a 2021 Aile d’Argent—an aromatic white from Château Mouton Rothschild. This combination of Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, and Sémillon traces its origins to the title of a fairy tale written by Baron Philippe de Rothschild and told to his daughter, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, as a bedtime story. In 1991, to pay tribute to her late father, Baroness Philippine created Aile d’Argent (also translated as “Silver Wing”), which exhibits unmistakable citrus and exotic aromas and floral notes.

(left) Sommelier Chris Low decanting the 2012 vintage of Château Mouton Rothschild.
(right) Chris Seo (left) and Vacheron Constantin’s Tremaud.

In attendance at dinner, Château Mouton Rothschild’s commercial director Charles Fournier’s opening remarks cited the iconic terroir of the house, located in the northern Pauillac region with its 86ha of vines mainly dedicated to Cabernet Sauvignon, with almost 80 per cent of acreage producing that grape varietyThe location also boasts the two sister properties, Château Clerc Milon and Château d’Armailhac.

Sabayon’s kitchen team led by Exec Chef Federico Michieletto take a bow.

“Baron Philippe de Rothschild, the grandfather to the present generation running the winery, took a decision in 1924 to bottle exclusively at the estate,” Fournier shares.

“At that time, wines were sold mainly in barrels and bottling was not under a total control of properties. As a visionary man and with the desire of making sure that every single bottle of Mouton would be of perfect quality, Baron Philippe has really revolutionised the Bordeaux wine trade.” Moreover, to commemorate that decision, he asked a French artist Jean Carlu to design a special label for that vintage, colliding the world of art with wine. Across time, each new vintage has been illustrated by world renowned artists and the list of luminaries includes today household names such as Miró, Picasso, Chagall, Dali, Warhol, Haring, Koons, Anish Kapoor, and David Hockney.

A snapshot for posterity—the evening’s three vintages of Château Mouton Rothschild.

A geoduck carpaccio course would then be paired with the Le Petit Mouton de Mouton Rothschild 2015, the second wine from the fabled château bursting with fruits. “Wines we produce today don’t need to be aged a long time—climate change, modern technology and new cultural or winemaking practices are the many reasons our wines are drinkable much younger than before.

Inspired by the fairy tale written by her late father, Baroness Philippine named the white wine of Château Mouton Rothschild ‘Aile d’Argent’.

Then came a culinary parade of aged French duck breast, Miyazaki sirloin and a Mascarpone, all of which were paired to unique vintages. Accompanying the duck was the 2012 vintage of Château Mouton Rothschild, a vintage rather on the cool side with a late harvest thus offering wine with great minerality, freshness and powerful structure. On the label, the art of Spanish artist Miquel Barcelo revisits the Chateau’s historical emblem—two rams, face to face, as a reminder of balance and harmony found in the natural state of great wines.

Vacheron Constantin’s present-day collection reflects 270 years of watchmaking patrimony.

The sirloin came with the 2005 vintage, the year and its harvest described by Charles Fournier as: “Reasonably warm but very dry, that vintage produced small and concentrated grapes that led to very rich and structured wines full of flavours. It still affords long aging potential, for sure, and is one of the greatest vintages of Château Mouton Rothschild—a lovely wine that we are pleased to share with you tonight, he remarks. The vintage’s label by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Penone evokes the vine-grower’s “green fingers”, a living expansion of the vine leaf.

Guests also received the artwork of Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota that adorns the 2021 label, with the depiction of a human figure in silhouette facing the abundance of nature.

As the dessert made its entrance, so too did the 2008 vintage with its label the work of Chinese painter Xu Lei, known for his ‘poetic realism’. On this label, the ram asserts the role of a great wine as a link between people and cultures, from one hemisphere to the other of ‘Planet Wine’. Much like the 2012, the ’08 experienced a late ripening, with the combination of cabernet sauvignon and merlot offering an intense opening nose of red berry fruits and violets. It then transcends into a palate of silky tannins with toasted notes and a vanilla touch—a satisfying result of the Château’s patience and long expertise in winemaking.

Chateau Mouton Rothschild

Bordeaux Liquid Gold

Vacheron Constantin

Photography: Anna-Rina

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