The famous winery is located in the north of the municipality Pauillac in the eponymous area in the Médoc (Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux). Directly adjacent to it is Château Lafite-Rothschild, Mouton is the French word for "sheep" (ram) and a ram's head is also the logo of the house - a gold one hangs in the entrance hall of the Châteaux. Actually, however, the term derived from "Mothon", which means "hill" or "elevation". The origin of the property is a plot called "Clos de Mouton" owned by the notary Jacques de ségur (+1691). This famous noble family owned huge estates, including the predecessors of the three wineries Château Latour. Château Lafite-Rothschild and also Château Mouton-Rothschild. The grandson Nicolas-Alexandre de Ségur (1697-1755) drew the final boundary between the parts Lafite and the neighboring Mouton, extending from the terroir and therefore also differ in the wine style.
Around the year 1725, the Mouton part was sold to Baron Joseph de Brane, who named his property "Château Brane-Mouton". It remained in the possession of this family until 1830 and went to the Parisian banker Isaac Thuriet for 1,124 million francs this year (some sources mention the year 1825 and the banker is also indicated in the spelling Thuret). This sold the then 35 hectares of extensive estate then on May 11, 1853 to the Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild (1812-1870) from the English branch of this large family. Three years earlier, the Baron had moved from London to Paris with his wife Charlotte (a cousin) to work at the bank of his father-in-law and uncle Baron James de Rothschild (1792-1868). Baron James then bought the Château Lafite 15 years later and added the name Rothschild.
Baron Nathaniel gave his new property the name "Château Mouton-Rothschild". At that time it consisted only of a few barns and halls, a château did not exist yet. In the Bordeaux Classification In 1855, the winery received "only" second place "Deuxième Cru Classé". But it was added as a "consolation" the title "Premier of the Seconds" (First of the Second). Nathaniel was succeeded by his son James (1844-1881), who began building a stately home. It was only finished by his widow Thérèse. James Rothschild succeeded his son Henri (1872-1947), who was less interested in wine than in art. The estate was quite run down in its time, which also contributed to mismanagement and unfair activities of employees. His son Philippe de Rothschild (1902-1988) had spent some time as a youth during the First World War at the winery and found favor in rural life. He drew his father's attention to the grievances and was commissioned by him to his pleasure with the leadership.
Philippe de Rothschild took over responsibility for the winery in 1922 as a twenty-year-old. He had to acquire the required knowledge first laboriously and began with the renovation of the company. In 1925 the old barrel cellar collapsed and 90% of this year's harvest was lost. Within three years, a new chai was built, which is still considered one of the most beautiful in Bordeaux today. From the year 1924 (carried out in 1927) the baron introduced the complete self-bottling of his wines. These Erzeugerabfüllung was on the label by the designation "Mise en bouteilles au Château" documented, whereby the ancestry and the bottling was guaranteed by the specified winery. Until then, most of the wines had been sold in barrels to trading companies, who then did the bottling and labeling.
Through the self-filling Philippe wanted to ensure the origin and then not infrequent counterfeits and Pantschereien exclude. Of course he drew it to the displeasure of the wine merchants. Philippe had previously agreed with the other "Premiers Crus", who now also bottled their own wines. On the initiative of the Baron, the "Association of the Premier Crus" was founded, which in 1929, finally, the famous Château d'Yquem joined. Due to the bad years 1930 to 1932, the baron gave birth to the idea of a simple wine and the worldwide triumphant success of this successful brand Mouton Cadet started. In World War II, from 1942, the winery (as well as Lafite-Rothschild) was annexed by the pro-German Vichy government and led by a German "wine guide".
The Baron was very early with the idea of reaching the upgrading of his winery as "Premier Cru Classé". Officially, he started this fight after the Second World War. The decisive occasion was the 1953 threatening exclusion from the "Association of Five" (the then four Premiers Crus and Mouton), by Elie Robert de Rothschild (1917-2007), the owner of Château Lafite-Rothschild was initiated. Philippe created the famous motto "Premier ne puis, second ne daigne, Mouton suis" (I can not be the first, second I do not like, Mouton I am) . From the beginning, these efforts were not only not supported by the owners of the Château Lafite-Rothschild, but even vehemently opposed.
With his famous cellar master Raoul Blondin, who created a total of 60 Mouton vintages, and his legendary steward Édouard Marjary, the baron fought for 20 years for the recognition of the wine as the first plant. The excellent quality of the wine was never denied, but it was officially feared the unpredictable consequences of a change in the indisputable law of Bordeaux classification 1855, But only in 1973 was the baron finally successful and the new slogan was: "Premier je suis, second je fus, mouton ne change" (first I am, second was me, Mouton does not change).
A legendary reputation enjoys the year 1945, as Wine of the century applies. The label bears the patriotic text "1945 - Année de la Victoire" (Year of Victory) with the sign "V" for Victory created by Winston Churchill (1874-1965) during the Second World War. There are still small stocks of this vintage. At the auction of two original boxes of twelve bottles each in September 2006 in Beverly Hills (California) by the auction house Christie's a new record was set. The boxes reached a price of $ 290,000, giving a price of over $ 24,000 per bottle. In March 2007, for one Jeroboam this year (6 standard bottles) paid 310,700 US $. In both cases, the contract was awarded to an anonymous bidder. The absolute record was 1997 in London at Christie's with $ 114,614 for a bottle. It is worth mentioning that in the year 1945 there were already some scams with unnumbered bottles.
The label has been created annually since 1945 by a contemporary artist. The first was the painter Philippe Jullian, followed by the others. The artists receive as a fee some boxes of that year. By the way, a label with the ram's head was created by the poster artist Jean Carlu (1900-1997) as early as 1924. The label of the year 1993 shows a childlike nymph figure of the painter Balthus (1908-2001). In the US this was understood as pedophilia. Therefore, the wine was delivered in the US without a nymph, but allegedly with a quality inferior wine. The vintage 2003 shows as a rare exception no artist's picture, but a photo of Baron Nathaniel de Rotschild and in the background the historical purchase contract of May 11, 1853. This was a tribute to the founder on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the winery. As a further exception, the Queen Elizabeth II was thought in 1977 (for other vintages see artist label; all image rights © tokyofoodcast @ Flickr.com).
The vineyards cover 80 hectares, of which 76 hectares with red wine and four hectares with white wine varieties. These are Cabernet Sauvignon (80%), Cabernet Franc (10%), Merlot (8%) and Petit Verdot (2%), as well as Semillon (48%), Sauvignon Blanc (38%) and Muscadelle (14%). The red wine is aged up to 24 months in 100% new oak barrels. It owes its unmistakable character to the soil, a gravel layer with high iron and silicate content. At best, it should not be opened ten years ago durability is 40, 50, 60 years and longer. It impresses with an intense note of blackcurrants, whereby the tannin is more covered than in other great Médoc wines. outstanding vintages are the 1945, 1949, 1953, 1959, 1961, 1966, 1970, 1975, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000. The 1970 vintage was legendary Paris Wine Tasting in 1976 and took second place.
The Mouton wine is considered by the Premiers to be the one with the biggest quality difference between good and less good years. He is one of the most expensive wines in the world, which is especially true for older vintages. Only in 1994 was the second wine "Le Petit Mouton de Château Mouton Rothschild" introduced. The first attempt had already been made in 1993, this was still called "Second Vin de Mouton-Rothschild". Since 1991, the white wine "Aile d'Argent" is produced under the AC Bordeaux. This matures for a year in 50% new oak barrels. The empire was led from 1988 by the daughter of the baron, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild (1933-2014) as the majority shareholder and chairman of the supervisory board of the corporation. She was succeeded by Philippe Sereys de Rothschild (* 1963). The siblings Camille Sereys de Rothschild (* 1961) and Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild (* 1971) are co-owners and represented on the Supervisory Board. See the other possessions and the entire family history in detail under the keyword Rothschild,