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Wine is an art in France. And a business. Considering its dual nature, perhaps there was no one better to revolutionize both aspects of the French wine industry than a Rothschild. One from a family that has been entwined for centuries in Europe’s money and its art, as patrons and creators.
Nowadays, to the extent that he is remembered at all in the Anglophone world, Baron Philippe de Rothschild is remembered as a race car driver or the husband of style icon Pauline. However, the Baron was also a poet, film and theatre producer, playwright, translator, and vigneron of almost unparalleled success.
Château Mouton Rothschild, a wine estate located in Pauillac, southwestern France, has been in the Rothschild family since 1853, when it was purchased by Nathaniel de Rothschild and renamed from Château Brane-Mouton. Nathaniel was actually an English, not a French, Rothschild, though he spent the majority of his life residing and working in the country with the French branch of the family, and Phillipe believed that this is why the vineyard was denied Premier Cru status despite meeting the price standard. (The Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855 was based on each château’s trade price and reputation, which at the time was closely related to the quality of the wine that it produced. Even in the face of significant criticism, the classification list remains in force today). Despite Nathaniel’s love of it, Château Mouton Rothschild little interested James Mayer de Rothschild, the heir, or his son Henri.