The Art of Mouton-Rothschild

Bearing labels with a different work of art each year, Château Mouton-Rothschild is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable 1er Grand Cru Classé of the Medoc. Of course, wine lovers are also aware that the wine inside the bottle is often a work of art in itself. This year, the Montréal Passion Vin Organizing Committee is honoured to welcome again one of the greatest wine estates on the planet.

The estate’s winemaking history dates back to the 18th century. It belonged to Nicolas-Alexandre, Marquis de Ségur, and bore the name Baronnie de Mouton. In 1720, Joseph de Brane bought it from the Ségur family and renamed it Brane-Mouton as he laboured to develop the vineyard. The reputation of the wines grew and their prices reached the level of turn-of-the-century 2e Crus, but the estate faced a darker period after 1830. In 1853, it became the property of Nathaniel de Rothschild. Born into the English branch of the famous banking family, Nathaniel breathed new life into the estate; sadly though, it was not enough to be classified as 1er Cru during the famous 1855 Classification.

As of 1922, the estate underwent significant changes. Barely 20 years old, Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Nathaniel’s grandson, took over the responsibility of the estate and chose to devote himself fully to the endeavour. In 1924, he implemented “estate bottling”, an unconventional practice until then but which became the norm at all châteaux. Two years later, the “Grand Chai” (Great Barrel Hall) was built, a single 100-metre span, today, it remains an architectural marvel. We also owe him the concept of “second wine”, as he commercialized the well-renowned “Mouton-Cadet” in 1930. Then, in 1945, to celebrate the Allied victory, Baron Philippe had the idea to embellish the label of this vintage with a fitting design: “V” for victory. This was the beginning of a magnificent collection of original artworks created each year by a famous painter (Miro, Chagall, Braque, Picasso, Warhol, Bacon, Riopelle…) to ornament the label of this great wine. Finally, in 1973, he obtained a reclassification of the wine as Premier Cru, thus transforming the estate’s motto from “Premier ne puis, second ne daigne, Mouton suis” (First, I cannot be. Second, I do not deign to be. Mouton I am) to “Premier je suis, second je fus, Mouton ne change” (First, I am. Second, I was. Mouton does not change).

Do not miss this wine tasting, buy your Montréal Passion Vin package today.

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