The famous winery is in the north of the municipality Pauillac in the same area in Médoc (Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux). That is directly adjacent to it Château Lafite-Rothschild, Mouton is the French word for "sheep" (Aries) and a ram's head is also the logo of the house - a gold one hangs in the entrance hall of the Châteaux. But actually the name is derived from "Mothon", which means "hill" or "elevation". The origin of the property is a plot of land 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 line between the parts of Lafite and the neighboring Mouton, which differed from terroir differentiate here and therefore also in terms of wine style.
Around 1725 the Mouton part was sold to the Baron Joseph de Brane, who named his property "Château Brane-Mouton". This family remained in the possession of the family until 1830 and went to the Parisian banker Isaac Thuriet for 1,124 million francs that year (some sources mention the year 1825 and the banker is also spelled Thuret). The latter then sold the estate, which at the time comprised 35 hectares of vineyards, to Baron Nathaniel de on May 11, 1853 Rothschild (1812-1870) from the English branch of this large family. The baron had moved from London to Paris three years earlier with his wife Charlotte (a cousin) to work in 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 of only a few barns and halls, a château did not yet exist. In the Bordeaux Classification In 1855 the winery "only" received second place "Deuxième Cru Classé". However, the title "Premier des Seconds" (first of the second) was added as a "consolation". Nathaniel was followed by his son James (1844-1881), who started building a stately home. It was only ended by his widow Thérèse. James Rothschild followed his son Henri (1872-1947), who was less interested in wine than in art. The estate was rather run down in its time, which was also caused by mismanagement and unfair activities by employees. His son Philippe de Rothschild (1902-1988) had spent some time at the winery as a teenager during the First World War and found a liking for country life. He made his father aware of the grievances and, to his delight, he commissioned him to manage them.
Philippe de Rothschild assumed responsibility for the winery in 1922 at the age of twenty. He first had to laboriously acquire the necessary knowledge and began to restructure the company. In 1925 the old barrel cellar collapsed and 90% of that year's harvest was lost. Within three years, a new chai was built, which is still considered one of the most beautiful in Bordeaux. From the year 1924 (carried out in 1927) the baron introduced the complete bottling of his wines. This Erzeugerabfüllung was documented on the label by the designation "Mise en bouteilles au Château", whereby the origin and bottling was guaranteed by the specified winery. Until then, most of the wines had been sold in barrels to trading houses, which then filled and labeled them.
With the self-filling, Philippe wanted to ensure the origin and counterfeits and not uncommon at the time Pantschereien exclude. Of course, this caused the resentment of the wine merchants. Philippe had previously coordinated this with the other “Premiers Crus”, who now also bottled their own wines. At the initiative of the baron, the "Association des Premier Crus" was founded, which finally became the famous one in 1929 Château d'Yquem joined. Due to the bad vintages from 1930 to 1932, the baron gave birth to the idea of a simple wine and the worldwide triumphal march of the brand, which is still successful today Mouton Cadet started. During World War II, the winery (as well as Lafite-Rothschild) was annexed by the pro-German Vichy government and managed by a German "wine guide".
The baron thought very early on about upgrading his winery to "Premier Cru Classé". Officially, he started this fight after World War II. The decisive reason was the threat of exclusion from the "Association of Five" (the four premiers at that time, Crus and Mouton) in 1953, which Elie Robert de Rothschild (1917-2007), the owner of Château Lafite-Rothschild. Philippe created the famous motto "Premier ne puis, second ne daigne, Mouton suis" (I can't be first, I don't like to be second; I am Mouton) . From the beginning, the owners of the Château Lafite-Rothschild not only did not support these efforts, they even fought them vehemently.
With his famous cellar master Raoul Blondin, who created a total of 60 Mouton vintages, and his legendary administrator Édouard Marjary, the baron fought for the recognition of wine as a first crop for 20 years. The excellent quality of the wine has never been contested, but officials feared the unpredictable consequences of a change in the irrevocable law of the Bordeaux classification 1855, But it was not until 1973 that the baron was finally successful and the new motto was now: "Premier je suis, second je fus, Mouton ne change" (I am the first, I was the second, Mouton does not change).
The 1945 vintage, which is known 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) in the Second World War. There are still small stocks of this vintage. At the auction of two original boxes with twelve bottles each in September 2006 in Beverly Hills (California) by the auction house Christie's a new record was set. The boxes were priced at $ 290,000, which is over $ 24,000 a bottle. In March 2007, a Jeroboam this year (6 normal bottles) paid $ 310,700. In both cases, the bid went to an anonymous bidder. The absolute record was set at Christie's in London in 1997 with $ 114,614 for a bottle. It is worth noting that there were already some frauds with unnumbered bottles in the 1945 vintage.
The label has been created annually by a contemporary artist since the 1945 vintage. The first was the painter Philippe Jullian, followed by the listed ones. The artists receive a few boxes of the relevant year as a fee. A label with the ram's head was already created by the poster artist Jean Carlu (1900-1997) for the 1924 vintage. The label from the 1993 vintage shows a childish nymph figure by the painter Balthus (1908-2001). In the United States, this was understood as pedophilia. Therefore, the wine was delivered in the USA without a nymph, but supposedly with a lower quality wine. The 2003 vintage, as a rare exception, shows no artist's picture, but a photo of Baron Nathaniel de Rotschild and in the background the historic purchase agreement of May 11, 1853. This was a tribute to the founder on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the winery. Another exception was Queen Elizabeth II in 1977 (for other vintages see artist label; all image rights © tokyofoodcast @ Flickr.com).
The vineyards cover 80 hectares of vineyards, 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 Sémillon (48%), Sauvignon Blanc (38%) and Muscadelle (14%). The red wine is aged up to 24 months in 100% new barriques. It owes its unmistakable character to the soil, a gravel layer with a high iron and silicate content. At best, you shouldn't open it ten years ago that durability is 40, 50, 60 years and longer. It impresses with an intense note of black currants, whereby the tannin is more covered than in other large Médoc wines. outstanding vintages are 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 the legendary Paris Wine Tasting in 1976 and took second place.
Mouton wine is considered to be the one with the greatest quality differences between good and less good years among the premiers. 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, which was still called "Second Vin de Mouton-Rothschild". The white wine "Aile d'Argent" has been produced under the AC Bordeaux since 1991. It matures in 50% new oak barrels for one year. The empire was led from 1988 by the daughter of the baron, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild (1933-2014) as majority shareholder and chairman of the supervisory board of the corporation. Philippe Sereys de Rothschild (* 1963) succeeded her. 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,