A Beautiful Fusion of Art and Grand Cru: Chateau La Grace Dieu Des Prieurs
Chateau La Grace Dieu Des Prieurs was founded in 1885 and has always enjoyed a good reputation among connoisseurs of Bordeaux. Andrey Filatov, a philanthropist passionate about Russian art and excellence of French grand crus, always dreamt of fusing his two passions in a single project. It became possible after he acquired the wine estate La Grâce Dieu des Prieurs, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru in 2013.
RECONSTRUCTION AND ARCHITECTURE
In 2014-2017, the chateau underwent a large-scale transformation aimed at preserving French winemaking traditions while introducing process innovations to achieve the highest quality of wine. To improve the winemaking process, the renowned consultant Louis Mitjavile was invited. The renowned French architect Jean Nouvel was contracted for the chateau reconstruction project.
Jean Nouvel, Pritzker Prize winner, is one of the most recognized French architects. The geography of his projects’ spans Europe, Asia, and both North and South Americas. His first project in Asia was the luxury residence Nouvel 18 in Singapore. Nouvel’s recent projects include the Torre Agbar in Barcelona, renovation of the Queen Sofia Museum in Madrid, the Guggenheim Museum in Rio de Janeiro, the Louvre branch in Abu Dhabi, MOMA extension in New York, and the opening of the Pudong Art Museum in Shanghai is coming soon. Nouvel’s distinct style is characterised not only by cohesiveness of architectural solutions, but also by the architect’s ability to perfectly integrate each building into the surrounding landscape.
The overarching objective was to preserve and highlight historicity of the place, while bringing modernity to the production process and the architectural ensemble. The new gravitational cellar now boasts not only the most advanced equipment, but is also a magnificent piece of modern design: the cylindrical building is reminiscent of a fermentation tank surrounded by fresco where all the winemaking stages are depicted.
ART RUSSE Foundation (based in the UK), which owns one of the largest private collections of Russian and Soviet art of XIX-XX centuries, granted Château the right to use its name and paintings for wine label design. The iconic works of great artists are featured on the labels: 12 paintings for each vintage. In addition to the 12 paintings that feature on the standard 75cl bottles, the estate also releases a limited edition magnum with its own artist label.
The 2014 vintage is decorated with the paintings mostly of the iconic Russian artists of XIX century. The art collections of the following vintages – 2015, 2016 and 2018 mainly contain the masterpieces of the Russian impressionists and social realists. Some of the artists were underestimated during their life and didn’t achieve the glory after they immigrated from Russia after the Revolution. Some were famous in Soviet Union, but their paintings are unknown in the rest of the world.
The idea is to rediscover these artists whose paintings deserve more recognition. Some of the artists, like Nikolai Fechin, became famous in immigration. He is considered as the American painter now. The works of Nikolai Fechin have featured on every vintage of Chateau La Grace Dieu des Prieurs. In the 2018 vintage collection is the reminiscent of Impressionist canvases and painted with Fechin’s trademark broad brush strokes, Taos Girl with Sunflowers dates back to the artist’s US period.
Bridging the art of winemaking and the art of painting, the project supports and further develops the tradition of supporting cultural projects by business community. For Art Russe Foundation it creates an opportunity to expand the audience for their programs and raise awareness of Russian art in a new format.
A unique shape of the bottle reflects the harmony of tradition and modernity. Thickset and wide in diameter, the bottle of Château La Grâce Dieu des Prieurs came to us from the past – this shape was common in Saint-Emilion 250 years ago. This shape not only emphasizes the beauty of works of Russian artists on the labels, but also ensures preservation of all taste properties of the wine and its optimal long-term storage.
Only one wine is produced at Château La Grâce Dieu des Prieurs. The Art Russe is an exquisitely handcrafted wine dedicated to the pursuit of uncompromising quality.
Since 2013, the winemaker of Château La Grace Dieu des Prieurs is the leading Merlot specialist Louis Mitjavile who originates from a renowned family of Bordeaux winemakers. The milestones of his philosophy are healthy vines, harvesting slightly over-mature grapes, slow, soft extractions and long, slightly oxidative ageing in 100% new barrels Radoux Blend – the selection of the fine-grained French oak.
Director of Château Laurent Prosperi together with Louis Mitjavile and Château’s team oversee the low interventional viticultural practice lute resonée, which includes the limitation of fertilizers and meticulous observation of each single vine at small property.
ART RUSSE SAINT-EMILION GRAND CRU IN FRANCE AND AROUND THE WORLD
The unique concept of Art Russe wine and its outstanding flavour have been gaining a wider global recognition. Today, its stellar ascent continues in France in select Michelin starred restaurants and luxury hotels of Paris, Courchevel and the Cote d’Azur, as well as prestigious stores and restaurants in Russia. France’s best sommelier and Chef Sommelier of the iconic Sur Mesure Restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Paris David Biraud has added Art Russe Saint-Emilion Grand Cru to the restaurant’s wine list. The wine list of Seta – 2 Michelin star restaurant at Mandarin Oriental Milan – was rewarded by Wine Spectator with The Best of Award of Excellence. The only Bordeaux wine in their By Glass program is Chateau La Grace Dieu des Prieurs, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Art Russe Collection.
The wine is also available at prestigious establishments in Monaco and London, Abu Dhabi. In addition, Art Russe is sold to a select circle of fine wine connoisseurs in Singapore.
ART IN THE LABEL DESIGN
Russian art, an important phenomenon in the world art history, remains underestimated by international audiences. Through the participation in this project, Chateau pays tribute to masterpieces of Russian art and continues the tradition of supporting cultural initiatives, following the lead of its neighbours from Chateau Cheval Blanc, whose owner Bernard Arnault organised the exhibition Icons of Modern Art. The Shchukin Collection at the Foundation Louis Vuitton in Paris, as well as that of Baron Philippe de Rothschild, who pioneered the use of art in wine label design.