Kellly J. Hayes: WineInk
Wine and art. Art and wine.The two come together on July 9 at the Anderson Ranch Recognition Dinner at the Snowmass Club. This fundraising event for the treasured arts center annually offers a National Artist Award and a Service to the Arts Award. This year, artist George Condo and patrons Mera and Don Rubell will be honored. As a part of the event, there will be a very special auction of fine, well-aged wines donated by Anderson Ranchs outgoing board chairman, Richard Kent, as well as Cheryl and Herbert Towning (Lots No. 29 and No. 30). A silent auction will take place at the dinner, but bidders also may access the auction online by going to andersonranch.org and downloading an absentee bid sheet and faxing in bids by July 8. There, you also will find a complete listing of the wines up for auction, as well as a Buy Now price for each.And the wines are intriguing, indeed. Included in the auction are a number of rare releases of classic Bordeaux from First Growths Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Chateau Latour and Chateau Margaux. There are also extraordinary lots of California wines, including a very timely offering of a 1984 Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Lot No. 16) that bears the signature of the Mondavi who passed away just weeks ago. Mondavi and Rothschild come together in Lot No. 15, where one can purchase five vintages of the legendary Opus One, including the very first vintage from 1979 that will surely become a collectors item.Kent, who donated all of the above wines, has been a collector for 35 years and, between his cellars in Winnetka, Ill., and here in Aspen, he counts 7,000 bottles. His obsession with aged wines led him to create Kent Certified Cellar and Trust, a storage facility in Chicago that stores wines above ground in a perfect, 55-degree controlled environment. The bottles in auction have been stored at that temperature since the day he took possession of them.The common thread between collectors of fine wine and fine art is passion. These are people who have been touched by the work of both artists and winemakers on a visceral, emotional level. They recognize and appreciate the beauty and the vision that is a part of the creative process for both artists and winemakers.It is not uncommon for producers of wine to pay homage to the works of artists they admire on their bottles or at their wineries. The Hess Collection winery in Napa, Calif., features a compelling display of Donald Hess personal collection of the work of 20 contemporary artists. The labels of the Betts & Scholl Wines are graced by the works of contemporary artists who have been commissioned to create work especially for each bottling.Perhaps the best example of the marriage between art and wine can be found on the labels of Chateau Mouton Rothschild. Since 1946 (with a pair of exceptions) the Chateau has graced its labels with the work of noted artists. From Salvador Dali to Saul Steinberg, from Wassily Kandinsky to Keith Haring, artists have produced works specifically for the labels in exchange for cases of wine. The list of artists to participate reads like a whos who of the last 60 years of contemporary artists.In the Anderson Ranch auction there are two excellent examples of Mouton that are perhaps even more valuable for the artists who painted the labels. The first is a 4.5 liter bottle of the 1975 vintage featuring the work of Andy Warhol on the label. Bordeaux in this sized bottle is referred to as a Jeroboam and holds the equivalent of six bottles of wine.The highlight offering may be a magnum of the 1970 vintage with the work of Marc Chagall on the label. This vintage was poured at the famed 1976 Paris Wine Tasting in which the panel selected the 1973 Stags Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon as the surprise winner. The second place wine in this historic Judgment of Paris event (detailed vividly in George Tabors excellent book of the same name) was, ironically, the 1970 Chateau Mouton Rothschild.This evening of wine and art is open to the public. For tickets, contact Nicole Burg at 970-923-3181, ext. 211, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kelly J. Hayes lives in the soon-to-be designated appellation of Old Snowmass with his wife, Linda, and a black Lab named Vino. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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