When we talk about fine Bordeaux wine, our attention is usually drawn to the handful of Chateau wineries along the banks of the Gironde river, whose dedication to excellence, decadence and ultimate levels of expression have helped form an international high reputation of Bordeaux red wine which is set to continue indefinitely. One such winery is Chateau Mouton Rothschild, whose output is regularly auctioned for record prices, and whose wines appear in some of the finest cellars in the world. Here, we find classic Bordeaux blended red wines of enormous complexity, capable of ageing for astonishing lengths of time to reveal truly eye-opening results, and which are generally near the top of the list of wines one must try before you die.
The first vines planted on what became Chateau Mouton Rothschild were planted in the 1710s, although this part of France has a viticultural history that stretches back beyond the Roman conquests. The Rothschild family, keen to snap up more of the finest land in Bordeaux for their premier wineries, bought the land in the 1850s, after over a hundred years of excellence displayed by the wineries which operated there. It was in the 1920s, however, when the Chateau Mouton Rothschild winery really found its voice, under the guidance of Baron Phillipe de Rothschild, who introduced Chateau bottling and single estate methods in 1924 as a young man. His dynamic approach and dedication to do justice to his ancestral estate saw the winery rise in the ranks to be recognized as one of the best in the world, and it was awarded 1st growth status in 1973 - the year when none other than Pablo Picasso was commissioned to design the label of the vintage.
The seventy five hectares of land owned by Chateau Mouton Rothschild is characterized by fine, gravelly soils, which ensure low yielding vines of true expression and excellence. The winery works with blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc varietal grapes, and blends these in vintage bottles using a range of traditional techniques (such as hand picking the grapes and fermenting the juice in barrels instead of vats) alongside more modern methods.