The history of Château Mouton Rothschild
Château Mouton Rothschild has a lineage that traces back to the 17th century. The foundation of what is now known as Château Mouton Rothschild was laid in 1661 under the ownership of Pierre de Rauzan. At that time, the castle was only known as Château Rauzan. Pierre de Rauzan was a significant figure in the Bordeaux wine world and owned the castle until 1678 when ownership passed to the Segúr family, first with Alexandre de Ségur and later Nicholas-Alexandre de Ségur, also known as Marquis de Branne and "Wine's Napoleon." During the 18th century, the castle was divided into several units, including Château Brane-Mouton and Château Rauzan-Ségla.
In 1853, Château Brane-Mouton was sold to the British Nathaniel de Rothschild, who renamed the castle Chateau Mouton-Rothschild.
Elevation from 2nd Cru Classé to 1st Cru Classé
Nathaniel de Rothschild had grand ambitions for Château Mouton-Rothschild, and it was, therefore, to his great disappointment that the castle received only 2nd Cru status in 1855 when the Grand Cru Classé classification was established. According to rumor, it was solely the castle's English ownership that led to its ranking as 2nd Cru. In disdain for the ranking, Nathaniel chose to introduce the motto "Premier ne puis, second ne daigne, Mouton suis," which loosely translates to "First I cannot be, Second I do not deign to be, I am Mouton."
Over time, Château Mouton Rothschild succeeded in being elevated to 1st Cru status, but this only occurred in 1973 when Nathaniel's great-grandson, Philippe de Rothschild, took over. Baron Philippe de Rothschild, a visionary and passionate leader of Mouton Rothschild, was determined to achieve 1st Cru status and rectify what he considered a "monstrous injustice." His diligent lobbying and efforts to improve quality, invest in the castle, and modernize production methods bore fruit when the estate was finally elevated to 1st Cru status in 1973. A true success story, as Château Mouton Rothschild became the only estate ever to change its position in the 1855 classification.
This elevation was not only a recognition of Mouton Rothschild's extraordinary quality but also a testament to Baron Philippe's dedication to uphold and strengthen the castle's legacy. To commemorate this celebration, he decided to add the words "Premier je suis, Second je fus, Mouton ne change," which means "First I am, Second I was, Mouton does not change," to the label for the 1973 vintage.
The elevation was a crucial milestone in the castle's history, further solidifying its status as one of the world's most admired wineries.
Known for Artistic Labels
A very unique feature of Château Mouton Rothschild is its longstanding tradition of inviting renowned artists to design labels for their wines. This innovative approach was initiated by Baron Philippe de Rothschild in 1924 and has since evolved into a solemn custom that adds extra intrigue to each new vintage.
This interaction between wine and art creates a special connection between these two worlds, transforming each bottle into an artwork in its own right. The artists' freedom to express their vision on the label provides each year with a new visual interpretation of Mouton Rothschild's character and heritage.
Mouton Rothschild's labels are not just beautiful artworks but also a reflection of the unique qualities of the vintage. The label becomes almost like a narrative of the characteristics and mood of that particular vintage. From colorful and vibrant designs to more subtle and refined ones, each label tells its own story, inviting a deeper understanding of the wine inside the bottle.
This exciting tradition has attracted many of the world's greatest artists, including Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Jeff Koons, and Danish artist Per Kirkeby, all of whom have contributed to Mouton Rothschild's impressive collection of artistic labels. This unique marriage of wine and art adds an extra dimension to the wine experience, making each bottle from Château Mouton Rothschild a valuable collector's item that celebrates both taste and creativity.
Fun fact: James Bond drank Mouton 1955 in the film Diamonds Are Forever.
The 10 Greatest Vintages from Chateau Mouton Rothschild
Here is a list of 10 of the greatest vintages from Château Mouton Rothschild:
Vintage 1945: A legendary vintage with exceptional complexity and depth.
Vintage 1959: A sublime vintage with a harmonious balance between fruit and structure.
Vintage 1982: An iconic vintage showcasing Mouton Rothschild's signature style with intensity and elegance.
Vintage 1990: A remarkable vintage with impressive concentration of fruit and tannins.
Vintage 2000: A modern classic with impressive structure and the potential to age beautifully.
Vintage 2005: A powerful vintage with deep complexity and outstanding aromas.
Vintage 2009: An elegant vintage with subtle layers of fruit and an impressive long finish.
Vintage 2010: A youthful vintage with dense tannins and a promising future.
Vintage 2015: A modern vintage with a wealth of fruity aromas and impressive structure.
Vintage 2016: An exceptional vintage with a perfect balance between power and finesse.
Find an outstanding selection of wines from Château Mouton Rothschild at wine auctions.
While you may or may not find a wine auction featuring Château Mouton Rothschild in these legendary vintages, the chance of finding Chateau Mouton Rothschild at a wine auction on ShareWine is often significant. Happy hunting!