Originally part of the Lafite estate, the growth seems to have been established as an entity in the reign of Louis XV, when it belonged to the Brane family. In 1853 on May 11, Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild, became the owner of Brane Mouton, and from then on it adopted the name Mouton Rothschild. The name Mouton being derived from “Motte de terre” a topographical feature with no ovine connection. Two years later it was ranked at the top of the second growths in the 1855 classification (today the growths are listed alphabetically).
One of the reasons given why it was not made a first growth in the first place was that the property did not have a chateau at the time (it was to be built by Nathaniel’s son James in 1880.). Another that the vineyards were in the hands of an Englishman who lived in London. However in 1973 it was eventually upgraded to First Growth as a result of the work of Baron Philippe Rothschild.
Baron Philippe arrived at the Chateau in 1922. In 1924 he was one of the first to instigate chateau-bottling, and the first one to bottle the whole production of the chateau. In 1945 he introduced the first of the famous labels which each year is designed by a famous artist.
Since the 1982 vintage they have increased their number of pickers threefold from the numbers used in the 70’s. They can now harvest the entire vineyard in 2-3 days, while prior to 1981 it took from 10-21 days.
Second label: Aile d’Argent. (White)
Area under vines: 75ha.
Av. prod.: 25,000 cases.
Soil: sits on a gravel ridge over an iron pan.
Grape varieties: 80% Cabernet Sauv, 8% Merlot , 10% Cabernet Franc , 2% Petit Verdot.
Pruning: Guyot double medocaine.
Rootstock: Various as suited to the soil.
Vines per ha.: 8-10,000.
Av. age of vines: 45 years.
Av. yield per ha.: 35hl.
Harvesting: Hand picked.
Added yeasts: Natural.
Length of maceration: 5-25 days.
Temp. of ferm.: 30C.
Control of fermentation: electronic but manually operated.
Type of vat: wood.
Vin de presse.: According to the vintage.
Age of casks: 100% new each vintage.
Time in Barrels : 22-24 months.
Fining: Fresh egg whites.
Type of bottle: Bordelaise.
Bottled at the chateau: 100%.
STORAGE: 12-40 Years.
SERVICE TEMPERATURE: 17 C.
FOOD/CONSUMPTION: Basic meat and potato dishes: filet mignon, lamb filets, steaks that are sauteed or grilled and Cheeses.