Wednesday Wine

Tomorrow is Bastille Day which means we will be celebrating tout ce qui est français (hope that’s right -my high school french is a tad rusty to say the least!). In the world of wine that offers many options. Let’s see what Terry chose.

Lets celebrate with the French in style with one of the classic Bordeaux houses  – Chateau Mouton Rothschild.

Château Mouton Rothschild is a wine estate located in the village of Pauillac in the Médoc region, which is approximately 30 miles north-west of the city of Bordeaux. The now-famous Rothschilds were a German family from Frankfurt. Five brothers left their home in the early 19th century and started banking houses in all the most important European capitals. Their financial endeavors hold ties to many great events in world history such as the funding of Wellington’s armies, the Gold Rush, the Suez Canal, the arrival of the railways and the quest for oil.

In 1853, an English member of the family, Nathaniel de Rothschild purchased Château Brane Mouton and renamed it Château Mouton Rothschild. In 1922, his great grandson, the legendary Baron Philippe, took over the estate and gave it a new start, implementing many innovative standards. In 1924 he began the previously unheard of practice of bottling all production at the Chateau. Prior to this period most wine was sent to Great Britain for bottling.

And in 1945, Baron Philippe initiated the concept of embellishing the Mouton label with a work of art created by famous artists such Miró, Chagall (on the 1970 vintage above), Braque, Picasso, Warhol, Bacon, Balthus, among others. Many are displayed along with a priceless collection of art works relating to wine, in the “Museum of Wine in Art”, which he created in 1962 at Mouton. The famous 1993 label below by Balthus was not allowed to be filed with the United States Bureau of Alcohol – for the obvious reasons!!!

The Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855 excluded Château Mouton Rothschild from First Great Growth status, an act that the Baron referred to as “the monstrous injustice”. It is widely believed that the exception was made because the vineyard had been purchased by an Englishman and was no longer in French ownership. But after a twenty-year battle, Baron Philippe became the first person to ever (still to this day) successfully lobby for a change in the 1855 Classification resulting  in Château Mouton Rothschild’s receiving a First Growth classification, along with the original four—Haut-Brion, Lafite, Latour, and Margaux.

This also instigated a change of the estate’s motto. Previously, it had been Premier ne puis, second ne daigne, Mouton suis. (“First, I cannot be. Second, I do not deign to be. Mouton I am.”), and it was changed to Premier je suis, Second je fus, Mouton ne change. (“First, I am. Second, I used to be. But Mouton does not change.”).

In 1988 Baron Philippe died and his daughter Baroness Philippine took over the estate, enhancing still further its quality and reputation around the world.

Château Mouton Rothschild mainly produces grapes of the Cabernet Sauvignon variety. Today, they have 203 acres made up of Cabernet Sauvignon (77%), Merlot (11%), Cabernet Franc (10%) and Petit Verdot (2%), the normal varietals that go into Bordeaux. (Depending on the acreage of each Bordeaux house the blend may be either predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot based). Château Mouton Rothschild’s wine is then fermented in oak vats (they are one of the last châteaux in the Médoc to use them) and matured in new oak casks.

Many an evening you would start a dinner at the famous Chateau Mouton Rothschild with the delectable Ch. D’Yquem accompanying a preparation of seared Fois Gras shown below.


This might then be followed by a typical, beautiful cote de boeuf served, naturally, with a fabulous wine from the estate.

Bon Appetit!! Et Joyeux Jour de la Bastille!!

14 thoughts on “Wednesday Wine

  1. The steak, the wine, it all looks delicious! And I always learn something when I read your wine posts! Here’s wishing you a very merry Bastille Day celebration!
    xo Mary Jo

  2. Well, having just read your 12 July (yesterday) posting (“Tomorrow is Bastille Day..”), my first consideration is that you ought to save at least 2 glasses of that wine for toasting on actual Bastille Day…..which is on the 14th.

    Bascially, your enthusiasm just got you an extra day.

    This happens to me on a regular basis (mostly because I work at home, don’t watch television, and thus have no particular reason to remain aware of thedate or what-day-of-the-week-it-is). I am generally aware, however, of special occasions and holidays or times when I’ve invited a crowd over for dinner. So, I lapse into my full-assault, Napoleonic campaign mode….furious do all the shopping, housecleaning, garden-prepping, dog-bathing, selecting music, etcetera…and I’ll be in the kitchen at 6 a.m. on THE day, already prepping the night’s complicated dinner (I like to cook elaborate dinners for guests)……and then my partner (who’s French, by the way) will wake up, come into the kitchen, and politely say something like “You do know nobody’s coming until TOMORROW night, don’t you?” or “David? It’s only Thursday….we don’t leave until SATURDAY night. Is it alright to ask why you’re packing?”

    I’m always strangely happy when I’ve done this yet again…it feels as though I got a free day, a bonus gift from a god who appreciates a touch of OCD in his followers.

    It’s 6 a.m. here, and perhaps you’ll read this before you begin popping corks. You can save everything for tomorrow (the actual Bastille Day), and you don’t have to do ANYTHING today beyond lying around in your pajamas and congratulating yourself on your preparational skills.

    Level Best as Ever,

    David Terry
    Wednesday, 13 July 2011

    • Hello David – So nice to see you here – I’m usually following your entertaining comments over at Dominique’s. I have certainly done what you describe but in this case, I actually did know – you see I usually post the evening before for the next day – so I wrote this post just before midnight on the 12th, knowing it would appear on the 13th. Therefore, the 14th would indeed be “tomorrow”!!

    • Isn’t he fun Maureen? You can catch more of his witticisms over at Slow Love Life where he is a frequent commenter.

  3. Oh, “eclectic revisited”….I don’t think you can “like” me, even you’re inclined to do so. I don’t have a blog of my own, despite having been encouraged or TOLD (generally by blogging-folks whose threads I’ve hi-jacked) to do so.

    It is true, by the way, that I regularly find myself going into full-tilt, aggressive-preparation mode for a party or trip that, actually, isn’t happening for another day or two. Unless I’ve done something more than usually stupid (such as setting brioche to rise 48 hours in advance), this chronic habit of mine doesn’t present a problem.

    I get to spend a day before the party or trip wandering around this joint, considering how nice everything looks and how I don’t have to rush out in the middle of cooking or packing to get something my fuzzy-head forgot.


    David Terry (which, obviously, is scarcely ever updated or edited or “refined”)

  4. While I would not be partaking in any of that food and probably not much of the wine, I found the story fascinating and want to know more about the family. Was surprised to learn the use to bottle it all in England, had NO idea. I learn so much here :)

  5. Thank you for the lovely tour through history and a virtual wine-tasting! A fabulous post! Aside from the nectar within the bottles, I love the labels, too!
    All my best!

  6. Dear “Livelikeyou”…

    I probably am too literal, as readers of English go, but?….

    …apparently, you’ve just returned from Paris…where you not only had a similar view from whatever hotel-room you were parked-in (we have an apartment which is about a three-minute walk from the Eiffel tower, so it’s not too hard to surmise which of the 2 or 3 streets you might be on to “get” that particular view), but it was “JUST that EXACT” same view?

    As my grandmother would , if she were in the mood to be diplomatic, say”….”Well…?…my goodness….”

    Didn’t you find the fireworks a bit overdone, during this past week? and did you pack the “view” in your suitcase before you arrived back-home with it?……

    I’ve been commissioned to write an article on ladies’ “style/shelter/design” blogs…but (2 months into this business) I’m really about to just give up on the project.

    It doesn’t seem very sportsmanlike to go for such easy shooting.

    best of Luck,

    David Terry

  7. Vive La France !
    Vraiment! J’adore beaucoup du vin Francais.
    It’s been so long since we’ve had a sophisticated wine and cheese, I think it’s time to lose the kids for a night and bring back the old days..

    always inspiring here…

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