“It is fairly decent.”
Following the death of her father Phillipe de Rothschild in 1988, Baroness Rothschild ended her career as a successful theatre actress to come and look after the winery. Not entirely tough is it.
She made great moves during her years at the chateau to improve it and shortly before her death decided to leave something rather special… the new chai – a brilliant winemaking house. It is fairly decent. Her love of theatrics is visible everywhere. There are trap doors and even stage doors: upstairs internal walls can be moved to create the space for the equipment needed during harvest.
The theatrics can be seen within the museum too. The lighting and design all create the perfect atmosphere in which she can exhibit all of the fantastic wine related items collected by here late father and his second-wife. It’s beautiful and definitely worth the trip.
A secret trap door opens within the main wooden archway at the front of the building. This is where the grapes are delivered. They move into a room which is vast, but not today; today you find a corridor leading towards the huge tank room. But during harvest these corridors can be pushed to the side to create the space needed to sort and manoeuvre the massive quantities of grapes that have just being picked. Pretty cool.
I am speaking here of the Chai and the spaces to hold all the art and the museum artefacts; because that’s the topic – and that’s what Baroness Rothschild spearheaded; but make no mistake: she was fantastic for the wine too. She set aside parcels of land for the Chateaux’s first white wines (named “Aile D’Argent”) and also MR’s second wine “Le Petite Mouton de Mouton Rothschild”. Both found strong markets and did very well. But it will always be her love of the arts that will have the most distinctive and the longest lasting mark for the name and certainly the visitors. She was keen for the history of the chateau to be seen and travelled with the exhibition throughout American and Asia to showcase the works.
The chai is beautiful and clever and unique. A great testament to a fantastic wine with brilliant history.
I was…. almost… happy that I was offered the art tour and not just one for wine!