In 1789, Amschel Rothschild, a merchant from Frankfurt in Germany, sent four of his five sons to the four major European capitals of the time: Vienna, London, Naples and Paris, whereas his son Amschel junior remained in Frankfurt. This is how the myth of the Rothschilds was born and the five arrows, for the five sons, still remain the logo of the family today. Around 1850, Baron Nathaniel, one of the sons of Baron Nathan, founder of the English Rothschild branch, decided to settle in Paris and had the desire to serve his own French wine. Thus, in 1853, he bought Chateau Brane Mouton, an estate at Pauillac in the heart of the Medoc, and gave it his own name, so it became Chateau Mouton Rothschild. In 1855, on the occasion of the Great Exhibition in Paris, the so-called 'Classification' placed Chateau Mouton Rothschild at the heart of the second growth. Baron Nathaniel died in 1870, and his son, Baron James, grandson of Baron Henri, inherited the estate. As he was not interested in the estate, the youngest son of Baron Henri, took over the management of Chateau Mouton Rothschild. He also created the new motto of the family, borrowing from the Rohans: “Premier ne plus, Second ne daigne, Mouton suis.” (First I may not be, Second I will not be, Mouton I am). He implemented important changes in Chateau Mouton Rothschild and laid the foundation to its future success.
In 1924, Chateau bottling was introduced by Baron Philippe Rothschild for the wine of Chateau Mouton Rothschild. This was a revolution, as this had previously been undertaken by the Bordeaux wine merchants. This was soon to be followed by all important competitors. In 1932, Mouton Cadet was launched as a more affordable second brand and in 1933 further wine estates were acquired. In 1945 the Rothschild family then decided to have great artists paint the 'etiquette of wine'. This meant that each year a different artist was tasked to intepret this.Artists over the years have included Jean Cocteau (1947), Georges Braque (1955), Salvador Dali (1958), Henry Moore (1964), Joan Miro (1969), Pablo Picasso (1973), Andy Warhol (1975), Keith Haring (1988), Georg Baselitz (1989) and Niki de Saint Phalle (1997). This artistic connection, the excellent quality of the wine and the intense lobbying of Baron Philippe brought the reward in 1973: Chateau Mouton Rothschild was upgraded from 2ieme Grand Cru Classe to 1er Grand Cru Classe. This has been the only change in the 1855 'Classification' ever since it was originally created. Baron Philippe died in 1988, at the age of 86, to be succeeded by his daughter Baroness Philippine de Rothschild. Since then, as chairwoman, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild has maintained, modernized and developed the family business, getting rid of vineyards of lower quality and acquiring new estates, especially outside of France.
Chateau Mouton Rothschild has 203 acres of vines at Pauillac, planted with the typical grapes as follows: Cabernet Sauvignon (77%), Merlot (11%), Cabernet Franc (10%) and Petit Verdot (2%). The wine is fermented in oak vats (Chateau Mouton Rothschild is one of the last chateaux in the Medoc to use them) and then matured in new oak casks. The annual production is about 300,000 bottles. Best vintages since 1945 are: 1945, 1947, 1959, 1961, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001.
Address (also for Guided
Opening Hours: The guided
tour costs 5 Euros and starts at Club Mouton, the visitors centre, situated
opposite Chateau Mouton Rothschild. It is also the final point of the tour,
when visitors have the opportunity for an optional wine tasting at an additional
charge. Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 9.30 – 11am, 2 - 4pm, Fri 9.30 – 11am, 2
- 3pm, weekends and public holidays and from 1st April to 31st October
visits at 9.30 and 11am as well as 2 and 3.30pm.