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Excellence in heritage - Trends-Tendances sur PC

Excellence in heritage – Trends-Tendances sur PC

For wine lovers, the name Rothschild directly evokes Mouton or Lafite. This is forgetting the Compagnie vinicole launched in 1973 by Edmond de Rothschild and the acquisition of Château Clarke. Part of the Art of Living division of the Edmond de Rothschild group, which also combines hotel and cheese activities… Xavier Beghin, in Puisseguin

Five arrows represent the emblem of the Rothschild family. The five sons of Mayer Amschel Rothschild at the origin of a dynasty of entrepreneurs started in the 18th century. Two of these sons interest us today: Nathan and James. From Nathan’s branch was born Château Mouton Rothschild in 1853, when his son Nathaniel bought and renamed Château Brane-Mouton. This Premier Grand Cru Classé of Pauillac is now part of the Philippe de Rothschild vineyards. James de Rothschild acquired Château Lafite in 1868. More than 150 years later, descendants of his three sons continue to own this Pauillac Premier Grand Cru Classé: among others, Eric de Rothschild who manages the domain and has just passed the torch to his daughter Saskia, David de Rothschild, the founder of the financial group Rothschild & Co, and Ariane de Rothschild, widow of Edmond de Rothschild’s only heir.

Five arrows represent the emblem of the Rothschild family. The five sons of Mayer Amschel Rothschild at the origin of a dynasty of entrepreneurs started in the 18th century. Two of these sons interest us today: Nathan and James. From Nathan’s branch was born Château Mouton Rothschild in 1853, when his son Nathaniel bought and renamed Château Brane-Mouton. This Premier Grand Cru Classé of Pauillac is now part of the Philippe de Rothschild vineyards. James de Rothschild acquired Château Lafite in 1868. More than 150 years later, descendants of his three sons continue to own this Pauillac Premier Grand Cru Classé: among others, Eric de Rothschild who manages the domain and has just passed the torch to his daughter Saskia, David de Rothschild, the founder of the financial group Rothschild & Co, and Ariane de Rothschild, widow of Edmond de Rothschild’s only heir. Even though he held a third of the shares in Lafite, Edmond de Rothschild, very attached to the French way of life and to the wine-growing and agricultural tradition, undertook his own project in 1973. That year, he founded the Compagnie vinicole by buying, among other things, Château Clarke. “The estate was in a deplorable state. The château itself had not existed for ages since it had been destroyed by the former owners, confides Boris Bréau, the current director general of the Compagnie vinicole. The work accomplished after the takeover was titanic: the vineyard, which we find traces of in the 12th century, has been completely redesigned, reconstituted and increased to 55 ha.We are in the Listrac-Médoc appellation but our grape varieties are a bit atypical because since the 2000s , we are more or less 70% Merlot. It ripens very well here and the very clay soil is a blessing in times of global warming.” Clarke’s first vintage was released in 1978. Since then, under the influence of successive oenologists (Emile Peynaud, Jacques Boissenot, Michel Rolland and today Eric Boissenot, Jacques’ son), this Bordeaux cru has evolved with the times. A vertical walk through 20 Clarke vintages from 1982 to 2018 allows us to analyze this evolution of tastes and the influence of climatic conditions. After the Parker period which favored the emergence of bodybuilt Bordeaux wines, Eric Boissenot and Fabrice Darmaillacq, the technical director who arrived in 2016, are now doing a remarkable job of expressing the natural expression of this atypical terroir. Clarke is now aiming for greater “immediate” drinkability without losing its great aging potential. As we can see, Edmond de Rothschild is not just about finance. It’s also winter sports… and farming activities. Few people know it, but it is indeed to the Rothschild family that we owe the birth of Megève as a recognized and popular ski resort. And more particularly to Noémie de Rothschild, Edmond’s mother. After the First World War, shocked to come across yesterday’s enemies on the ski slopes, she decided to create a French-style St-Moritz. With her husband, Baron Maurice, she set her sights in the early 1920s on a small boarding house and hundreds of hectares on Mont d’Arbois, directly above a small, unknown Haute-Savoie village: Megève. In 1924, the small pension became the first snow palace. The Hotel du Mont d’Arbois quickly attracted the greats of this world, including our King Albert 1st. Edmond de Rothschild continued his mother’s work by providing Megève with a golf course in the 1960s and by extending the hotel offer. Today, if the initial hotel has become a Maeva residence, the family is still very present with three and seven restaurants including Le 1920 (year of arrival of Noémie), renamed La Dame de Pic-Le 1920 during the arrival of Anne-Sophie Pic, the multi-starred chef, in the kitchens in 2021. What would you say, moreover, if you learned that your banker was making cheese? However, this is what Edmond did in the early 1990s. Tired of not rediscovering the taste of brie from his childhood, he decided to make his own on the family land in Seine-et-Marne. The Ferme des 30 arpents was born and, with it, the only producer of Brie de Meaux farm-raised raw milk with an AOP. The farm also produces veal, suckling pig, sausages and game terrines as well as churned butter. When Baron Edmond died in 1997, his son Benjamin and his wife, Ariane, took over the reins of the group. And now, the baroness alone since Benjamin died unexpectedly in January 2021. These Art of Living activities are now grouped under the name Edmond de Rothschild Heritage. “When I met Edmond, we were called bankers, smiles Ariane de Rothschild. We still are, but if I only did numbers, my life wouldn’t be very funny. At Edmond, I liked his mix of everything. You know, wine and other lifestyle activities, we called it the baron’s dancers. I strongly disagreed: I spent a lot of time making the banks understand that viticulture and agriculture don’t are not dancers but trades where people work hard. You know like me that in a freeze, all the work in the vineyard can be wiped out. In terms of corporate culture, I have always insisted on the fact that all trades are worthy of respect. Those of agriculture are slow, long and arduous and one earns much less money but they deserve the same respect.” Heritage and transmission are trademarks of the family. Even if this should not rhyme with immobility or conservatism. As proof, the great diversification of the Compagnie vinicole’s portfolio since the arrival at its head of Benjamin and Ariane: Los Flechas in Argentina, Rimapere (five arrows in Maori…) and Akarua (acquired a few days ago ) in New Zealand, Fredericksburg in South Africa, Macan in Spain, Laurets and Malengin in Bordeaux, Barons de Rothschild champagne (an association of barons Benjamin, Philippe and Eric created in 2005) in Reims and Epernay. “I am continuing the work of Edmond, assures the baroness. The inheritance that we receive, how do we transform it before passing it on to the next generation? My stakes are certainly not the same as those of ‘Edmond. We opted for wine-growing diversification elsewhere than in Bordeaux. We could have stayed here but, given the vagaries of the weather, it was not the best option. Venturing into the wines of the world is a solid strategic diversification. in terms of risk sharing. You see, the banker is never far away (laughs)… Viticulture challenges us on innovation. Like being part of climate change? Like managing organic, which convinces us all , in a large Bordeaux estate? These meaningful environmental battles which are part of the bank’s investments, among others via an agricultural technology fund, I obviously apply them to myself. It’s a daily challenge when you own vines, hotels, restaurants, a farm and even a e nursery.” In terms of wines, what is most striking is in any case the desire to draw the quintessence of the terroirs. Clarke will never be the equivalent of Mouton or Lafite, but its quality/price ratio (about forty euros depending on the vintage) is unbeatable. Its white version, the Merle Blanc, a rarity in the properties of the Médoc, has nothing to envy to the great Bordeaux whites. Rimapere produces a remarkable sauvignon blanc. At the Château des Laurets, Benjamin de Rothschild has instructed Fabrice Bandiera, the technical director, to make the domaine in the Puisguin-Saint-Émilion appellation one of the best in Bordeaux. Mission accomplished after 20 years and we cannot advise you enough to taste its Baron version, a parcel selection of the best Merlots. It is to the same Fabrice Bandiera that we owe the audacious evolution of the nearby Château de Malengin. This Montagne-Saint-Émilion, at the instigation of Eve de Rothschild, one of Ariane’s four daughters, has gone back to basics with aging mostly in amphorae. Eve – that’s the name of the wine – is an atypical Bordeaux: crisp, juicy, airy, with red fruits that explode in the mouth. A bold but successful gamble. “It was a real challenge because aging in amphorae is not widely practiced in the Bordeaux region, confides Eve de Rothschild, but we were convinced that this method would make it possible to find all the crunchiness and freshness of the fruit. Through hard work, of blending trials, Cuvée Eve was born in 2021, the year I turned 20. Although wine is a historical passion in my family, creating a cuvée is an unprecedented exercise for me. ” Eve, who is already involved in viticulture, does this mean that the succession of Baroness Ariane, in the Art of Living division, is all mapped out? “We no longer have a monolithic vision of the transmission of heritage that we were talking about earlier, concludes Ariane de Rothschild. The world is so fragmented that I don’t think it’s still possible. So I would have tend to answer you no. I leave my daughters the freedom to trace their path. The Rothschild name is a heavy machine, you know. It’s very complicated to contribute to something that is very heavy in historical terms and financial if you have not made your way in life with your passions and your personality. I am inclined to think that it is not one who will take up the torch but the four at the same time, on different themes.”

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