Chateau Mouton Rothschild
Chateau Mouton Rothschild, in the parish of Pauillac in the Medoc, is one of the greatest red wines of the Bordeaux region. In 1855, it was classed as 1st of the 2nd growths (see classification), but this always seemed unfair to the owners, who have adopted and adapted the famous motto of the great Rohan family (also associated with Bordeaux); ‘Roinepuis, princenedaigne, Rohan suis’ (I can’t be king, I won’t be prince, I’m Rohan) as ‘Premiernepuis, deuxiimenedaigne, Moutonsuis’. Indeed, Mouton has long commanded the same sort of prices and has been assessed on the same level of quality as the other 1st growths. After much campaigning on the part of Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Mouton was categorised as a 1st growth in 1973 and a decree ordains that these wines must be listed in alphabetical order.
The name is variously attributed to a hillock (mothon)-, to the Lord of Mouton who was the owner before the Rothschilds acquired it (which seems most likely); and also that it was the little undulations in the vineyard that suggest the woolly backs of a flock of sheep (moutons). Mouton always makes a very assertive wine and the proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon in the vineyard is high.
Since 1922 the property has been run by Baron Philippe de Rothschild (then 21), who has made it both remarkable and beautiful. It was he who had the idea of commissioning different artists of world fame to design the labels for each year since 1945. He and the Baroness also collected and directed the wonderful wine museum in the chateau. Both because of its exhibits – all objets d’art to do with wine – and because of the beauty and ingenuity of the way in which they are arranged, this should be visited by any wine lover if possible, although, as the museum is notalwaysopen, application to see round has to be made in advance.