Wynn Las Vegas Magazine by MODERN LUXURY

Wynn - 2011 - Issue 2 - Fall

Wynn Magazine - Las Vegas

Issue link: http://www.ifoldsflip.com/i/39920

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Page 117 of 123

PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALEX KARVOUNIS VINE ARTS LABEL ALLURE How producers both small and large turn enology into art from the inside out. BY AMY ZAVATTO L 116 WYNN oving the label of that bottle on your table? Well, look a little closer. Artist-commissioned labels aren't just a pro- ducer's way of setting a particular bottle apart from the pack—they're a way to celebrate design, inside and out. And they might be coming to a gallery or museum or din- ing room near you. Certainly, the most important thing a producer considers is the quality of the wine—undeniably an art unto itself, and cheers to that—but what goes on the outside of a bottle is integral to the creative process, as well. When it comes to wine, good design is part of the whole package, the pretty, swirling icing on the deliciously crafted cake. There are the small boutique producers like Brooklyn Oenology (which is actually based on Long Island, New York), where owner Alie Shaper adds innovative, peel-off labels depicting original artwork from up-and-coming New York artists on each bottle. And then there are famed producers like Château Mouton Rothschild in Bordeaux, Dom Pérignon in Champagne and Vietti in Piedmont, who have commissioned some of the most talented and famous artists of our time to create one-of-a-kind collector's bottles. The first wine labels can be traced to ancient Egypt, where clay amphora jars were stamped with the origins of the wine inside, depict- ing everything from appellation and vineyard to winemaker and vintage. But by the 18th century, some producers began to up the ante on their label's artwork; one of the most important innovators of this practice was the Baron Philippe de Rothschild during the 20th century. In 1924 the young baron began an experiment in chateau-bottling and labelling for the storied Bordeaux producer, as a way to set Mouton Rothschild apart. Up until then, most wineries in the region sold their fermented juice in bulk to négociants, who would handle everything from barrel-aging to bottling. That first label artist? Cubist Jean Carlu. By 1945 each year's Andy Warhol tribute bottles vintage would feature an original work from famed artists of the day. "Chateau Mouton Rothschild labels from Marc Chagall (1970), Pablo Picasso (1973) and the recent 2005 done by Giuseppe Perone are all ones that I personally appre- ciate," says Mark Thomas, Wynn/Encore general wine buyer. Thomas notes that, One of Dom Pérignon's Rothschild vintages available at Wynn and Encore among many artist-centric labels on Wynn and Encore resorts' well-cu- rated wine lists, guests can find several vintages of Mouton Rothschild, the 2002 Andy Warhol tribute of Dom Pérignon (Dom Pérignon commis- sioned the Design Laboratory at Central St. Martin's School of Art and Design for a design as a tribute to Warhol, who famously drank lots of the bubbly) and the current vintage of Sebastian Titus' original wildflower series commissioned by Sanford Winery near Santa Barbara, California. Portuguese producer Herdade do Esporão began a special artist series in 1985 as a way to celebrate the winery's dedication to working with native varietals and promoting Portuguese culture on a global scale. They commissioned national treasures like Manuel Cargaleiro, Artur Bual and José Pedro Croft to create stunning, original artwork for their reserve and private-selection labels. "We've marked each of the ensuing white and red Reserva and Garrafeira vintages with an original work from a fine artist, linking the universal culture of wine and the arts," says Filipe Caetano, marketing director for Esporão. Indeed, being able to gaze upon an original work of art while savoring a glass poured from your favorite producer is no small bonus to a wine lover's overall experience—but when we're talking Chagall and Picasso, or perhaps the tingle of discovering a future famed artiste, is the aes- thetic even more alluring than the sip? That can be tough to quantify. "Although I don't believe it is the only reason for their selection, I do feel there are certain wines that guests will request based on the artwork and packaging when deciding between several bottles," says Thomas. But even when we're speaking of such high art, there's still the happy medium: "The 2000 vintage Château Mouton Rothschild with its textured glass and gold enamel artwork instead of a normal label has drawn a lot of attention since its release for both the beauty of the bottle and the magnificent wine produced that year." Not such a terrible way to be a patron of the arts. ■ A selection of the artfully designed Château Mouton

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