Baron Philippe de Rothschild Mouton Cadet is the biggest-selling Bordeaux brand in the world. It was set up in 1930 by Baron Philippe de Rothschild, who had taken over control of Mouton Rothschild eight years previously. The name “Cadet” refers to the youngest son of a family, in this case invoking both Philippe and the wine itself.
The brand was created after a series of poor vintages in the late 1920s and early 1930s, where the fruit was not considered to be good enough to make Mouton Rothschild. In the short term, Baron Philippe needed to sell wine that he felt was not up to the chateau’s lofty standards, and in the longer term was keen to find a wider audience for Bordeaux wines.
The first Mouton Cadet wines from estate vineyards proved successful, and in the following year, fruit from neighboring Pauillac properties was needed to meet demand. Vineyard sources then expanded to Saint-Estèphe and the Haut-Médoc, and then further still, with the wine becoming a Bordeaux AOC in 1947. In more recent years, the brand has drawn more heavily on vineyards in the Entre-Deux-Mers region.
Mouton Cadet was heavily promoted through the 1950s and 1960s in the UK and USA, and a white wine was added in the 1970s. This growth was carried on from 1988 by Baron Philippe’s daughter, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild. Since 2004, Mouton Cadet has been made in a more fruit-forward style, chiefly to satisfy the US market.
The standard range is extensive, and now features the original Bordeaux Rouge, made from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, a Bordeaux Blanc, made from the classic blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and a little Muscadelle. It makes a wide range of other varietal and blended wines from various appellations around the region.