Rothschild Chateaux Lafite, Mouton and Clarke Make Champagne . . . and Blackcurrant Liqueur?

The Wine Enthusiast Magazine has reported that the Rothschild family have united in a new venture in Champagne. Admittedly it has been an open secret for a while and I blogged about it last year in Rothschild Champagne and Waddesdon Manor. However this is the first time the Champagne de Barons Rothschild has been launched in New York.

The Champagne has been available in the UK since 2010 through Waddesdon Manor in (which was built by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild and is now a National Trust property administered by a Rothschild charitable trust).

In 2005 the three branches of the Rothschild family (Benjamin who owns Château Clarke; Eric, owner of Château Lafite Rothschild; and Philippe, whose mother is Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, owner of Château Mouton Rothschild) united to establish a new House of Champagne, based in Reims itself.

This is probably the youngest Champagne House in the region but with the Rothschild name behind it the House will obviously have a guaranteed market. Long term contracts with selected vignerons in the Grand and Premier Cru areas, particularly in the Côte des Blancs were agreed upon.

If you would like to learn more about Benjamin Rothschild and Chateau Clarke plus his other chateaux and wineries check out Other Winemaking Rothschilds.

I looked at the Rothschild brand in Which is the Biggest Rothschild Brand – Lafite or Mouton in 2009 and found that both First Growth Chateaux have ventured outside the world of wine.

They both produce brandy! It’s rare and difficult to find. Lafite makes Très Vieille Réserve Cognac de Lafite Rothschild from very old reserves (circa 1900 – 1920) using exceptional barrels from various producers in the small area of ‘Borderies’ in the Cognac appellation and Armagnac Vieille Reserve Lafite Rothschild.

Mouton makes Eau de Vie de Marc d’Aquitaine de Mouton Rothschild – a very rare grape brandy. Only a few hundred bottles are produced every year, each numbered by hand. As I said back then I won’t tell you the price because you’d probably faint.

However Chateau Mouton has gone one step further and produces a Blackcurrant Liqueur: Liqueur de Cassis de Mouton Rothschild and a Plum Cognac: Mouton Rothschild, Eau de Vie de Prunes.

Apparently when Baronne Philippine de Rothschild receives guests, it is customary for the château to offer one of their estate produced Eau de Vie or Liqueurs, made from the fruits of the orchards at Mouton Rothschild. These are sometimes released to select wine merchants in very limited numbers.

You might find it odd to see the First Growths making liqueurs and eau de vie but Bordeaux actually has a long history of making liqueurs, ranging from the long forgotten and obscure to the world famous. Cordial Médoc was made in years past and it once was held in high esteem.

Apparently it was a liqueur flavoured with orange Curacao, cognac, Médoc claret, herbs and violets but some accounts also say it was made with either coffee or chocolate. Another mystery is Perline d’Aquitaine as all that remains is a poster!

However Bordeaux is also home to one of the most important liqueur manufacturers: that of Marie Brizard and Roger of Bordeaux.

In 1755 Marie Brizard, the daughter of a barrel maker in Bordeaux, discovered Thomas, a West Indian sailor from the ship Intrépide, lying in a corner of the Place de la Bourse burning with fever. Marie nursed him back to health and in gratitude he gave her the recipe for Anisette, a liquorice flavoured liqueur.

Marie’s nephew, Paul Brizard, was a sea captain and he brought the ingredients for the recipe back to his aunt, and together they established a company making liqueurs. Anisette de Bordeaux was Marie’s most famous liqueur and the drinks were introduced to the court of Louis XV.

Soon after the company became a supplier of the Royal Court of Versailles. Today the company is known as Marie Brizard et Roger International and produces over 230 million bottles of all sorts of liqueurs which are sold in 120 countries.

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