Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) has made excellence in the vineyard and wine-making practices the basis of its growth. Château Lafite Rothschild was the start of the DBR (Lafite) Group. It was the first Château acquired by the Rothschild family in 1868 and inspires and guides the winegrowing practices at the various estates: the expertise and the tradition upheld for several generations by the Rothschild family are applied to all of the properties with the objective of producing high quality wines full of finesse and elegance in the “Lafite Spirit”.
“The Lafite Spirit” is based on a rich past and a tradition rooted in the Bordeaux soil, on the transmission of the ancestral know-how of men and women and on the excellence and refinement of the wines that they help to produce. “The Lafite Spirit” is also the pioneering spirit which has led the Group to open up to the world, by setting up on new terroirs outside France to produce quality wines there.
As from 1972, Baron Eric de Rothschild has given a new impetus to Château Lafite Rothschild, completing this quest for excellence, from the vineyard through to the cellars. He has also broadened the horizon of the estates through new acquisitions in France and abroad.
Alongside Château Lafite Rothschild, the group expanded rapidly from 1962 onwards with the successive acquisitions of Château Duhart-Milon (Pauillac 4th Grand Cru Classé), Château Rieussec (Sauternes Premier Grand Cru Classé) and Château L’Evangile (Pomerol). It then moved beyond the Bordeaux region with: Viña Los Vascos (Chile, 1988), Domaine d’Aussières (Languedoc, 1999), Bodegas Caro (Argentina, 1999), and has been developing a vineyard in China in the Penglai region since 2008.
From 1995, Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) has produced a range of Bordeaux appellation wines under the brands Légende and Saga.DBR (Lafite) also distributes Château Paradis Casseuil and Château Peyre-Lebade (Bordeaux).
Today, it is the 6th generation of the Rothschild family, in the person of Saskia de Rothschild, Baron Eric’s daughter, who is at the head of Château Lafite and Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite).At her side, Jean-Guillaume Prats, President and CEO, has been responsible for management of the Group in France and internationally since 2018.
With 1,200 hectares of vineyards, Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) works with an international network of more than 80 distributors.
In the 18th century, the Rieussec estate belonged to the Carmelite monks in Langon. The confiscation of the estate during the revolution led to its public sale around 1790 as a “object of national heritage” to Mr. Marheilhac, owner at that time of Château La Louvière in Léognan.
For the 1855 classification, M. Mayne was the owner of the estate. The quality of the Rieussec soil earned its ranking as a first growth Sauternes and Barsac. After that date, Rieussec’s history involves many changes of owners: Charles Crepin (around 1870), Paul Defolie (1892), Mr. Bannil (1907), then the Gasqueton family (owner of Château Calon-Ségur at Saint Estèphe), P.F. Berry during the war (an American citizen and brother-in-law of the Vicomte de Bouzet), Mr. Balaresque (1957) and lastly, Albert Vuillier (1971), who was passionate about Sauternes’ “sweet wines”.
Château Rieussec was acquired by Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) in 1984. The estate then consisted of 110 hectares, 68 hectares of which were vines. To enhance Château Rieussec’s potential, rigorous measures were implemented, including meticulous sorting of the grapes and fermenting in barrels, which provides a much finer selection for the blending of the Grand Vin.
A new cellar was built in 1989 to extend the ageing period in barrels. The quantities of the Grand Vin that were produced were much reduced in the 1990’s due to more meticulous selection, to the point that none at all was produced in 1993 (this was also the case in 1977 and again in 2012).
In 2000, the renovation of the maturing cellar, the construction of a fermentation room, and the modernisation of the reception and pressing areas also represented strides forward in a quality policy that was launched in 1985.
The first attempts at selection were rewarded by a remarkable trio of vintages in 1988, 1989 and 1990. This was crowned by an entire decade of very good wines from 1995 to 2005. The weather proved to be no obstacle for the remarkable vintages of 1996, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2005, among others! Furthermore, Château Rieussec 2001 was declared Wine of the Year in 2004 by Wine Spectator magazine.