It all began with an individual named Mayor Amschel Rothschild in the late 18th century. He was a merchant in the ghetto part of Frankfurt and had five sons. The sons’ names were Nathaniel, James, Amschel, Carl, and Salomon. In 1789, Mayor taught his sons about business arts.
To materialize the business plans, the Mayor sent four of the children to the four European capitals: Nathaniel to London, James to Paris, Carl to Naples, and Salomon to Vienna.
However, the youngest, Amschel Junior, stayed at home with his father. The entire family relished a very close relationship and remained in constant connection. Additionally, they were the first to exchange information quickly and effectively.
They could anticipate any transformations that swept across Europe through their ability to deliver fast communications. In the 19th century, governments heard from bankers to Napoleon’s Europe and the industrial pioneers of the modern economy on an equal footing.
From the English line of the family, Baron Nathaniel made Paris his home in 1853. He wanted to serve his wine to his guests, so he purchased the Chateau Brane Mouton at Pauillac in the heart of Medoc in an auction in 1853. Baron Philippe named it after himself and called it Chateau Mouton Rothschild.
After his death in 1870, his son Baron James received the estate, and after that, Baron Henri, his grandson. In 1922, Baron Philippe de Rothschild was born. He was the youngest son of Baron Henri, and he took the estate over with the aim of introducing state-of-the-art technology in it.
The estate was still running on candlelight and well-water, so he decided to modernize it. At that time, the estate went through a difficult time, and the vineyards suffered. The vineyards produced Bordeaux wines, and Philippe worked tirelessly to restore the reputation. In 1924, he insisted that his wine should be in bottles instead of barrels and bottled at the Chateau.
He was an art lover and was friends with some of the most famous artists, such as Georges Braque, Salvador Dali, and Pablo Picasso. Therefore, he wanted them to design the Mouton Rothschild label on artistic lines. In addition, Baron Philippe operated the Theatre Pigalle from 1924 until 1931 and created Lac aux Dames, one of the earliest talking movies, in 1934. In 1930, he decided to launch a vintage under a new name – Mouton Cadet. The name literally means the younger son of the family.
It still held the same standards as the Chateau label. He offered it to a select few friends and clientele, which was an immediate success. In addition, he purchased Domaine de Mouton d’Armailhacq, which he renamed Chateau d’Armailhac in 1989. This portfolio had a small wine trading company called the Societe Vinicole de Pauillac, which he renamed Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA. The world’s top Bordeaux AOC branded wine, Mouton Cadet, is being produced by this business.
Read: Bordeaux Wine Classification Of 1855
In another business venture, Baron Philippe saw potential at the Chateau Clerc Milon estate, acquiring it in 1970. It now classifies growth between two First Growths: Mouton and Lafite. Baron Philippe wanted to be open with the American market, so he partnered with Robert Mondavi in 1979.
This collaboration produced Opus One, the first premium French-Californian wine planted, aged, and blended according to the Bordeaux tradition. He translated Poemes Elisabethains, a volume of Elizabethan poetry honoured by the Academie Francaise, since he adored English literature.
Moreover, you can also read his autobiography Vivre la Vigne, which proves his literary prowess. He also enjoyed sports and took part in several of competitions. He participated in the Le Mans 24-hour event and the Monaco Grand Prix with a Bugatti. Additionally, he was a sailor who took home the French regatta cup.
Baron Philippe passed away in 1988, and his only child, Baroness Philippe de Rothschild, inherited the estate. She looked after it with her three children, Camille, Philippe, and Julien, continuing her father’s legacy. Today, the three children work together to keep the dynasty going.
- Chateau Mouton Rothschild. (n.d.). Retrieved from Identify your Bottle: https://www.chateau-mouton-rothschild.com/the-history/portraits/baron-philippe-de-rothschild#
- Key Dates. (n.d.). Retrieved from Baron Philippe de Rothschild: https://www.bpdr.com/en/the-history/key-dates