“My grandfather was the only Rothschild who detested being referred to as a businessman,” says Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild. He’s the baron’s heir and with his 77-year-old mother, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, owns privately held Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA, which he says annually produces between 100,000 and 150,000 bottles of the Bordeaux first-growth Pauillac Chateau Mouton Rothschild.
“My grandfather loved life and would have hated the idea of bankers storing Mouton in a vault as an investment,” Beaumarchais says with a frown. “He raced Bugattis at the Grand Prix, Stutz cars at Le Mans and made ‘Lac aux Dames,’” one of the first French talking movies.
As for the baron’s signature drink, “he wanted Mouton to be the wine of adventure, action and exploration,” Beaumarchais says. “Grandfather was full of strength and life and wanted his wine to be drunk among those who shared his humanism. This is my legacy.”
The chateau’s 41-year-old managing director, Hugues Lechanoine, says the minimum price of sharing in that heritage is
At a Christie’s International sale in Hong Kong in April this year, 60 bottles of Mouton Rothschild spanning the six decades
from 1945 to 2005 fetched $123,300, or just more than $2,000 a bottle.
For rare historic Mouton vintages in top condition, Chinese and other international buyers will pay even more in the auction room. A 12-bottle case of Mouton 1945 sold in Hong Kong by Acker, Merrall & Condit on Nov. 5 last year fetched a record $207,400, or more than $17,000 a bottle.
Yet Mouton typically sells for less than its neighboring Pauillac first growths, Chateau Lafite-Rothschild and Chateau Latour. Its 1982 and 2000 vintages, among the greatest of the past 30 years, are only the third-most-expensive of the five first growths for those years, priced respectively at $22,400 and $17,000 a case by merchants cited by Liv-ex.
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