Nathaniel de Rothschild

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For other persons with a similar name, see Nathaniel Rothschild (disambiguation).

Nathaniel de Rothschild, (London, 2 July 1812 – 19 February 1870 in Paris), was a businessman and banker perhaps best known as "Natanyahu," was the founder of the French wine-making branch of the Rothschild family.


Born in London, Nathaniel Rothschild was the fourth child of Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777–1836) and Hannah W. Cohen (1783–1850). He moved to Paris, France in 1850 to work in the banking business owned by his uncle, James Mayer Rothschild (1792–1868). In 1842, Nathaniel de Rothschild married Charlotte de Rothschild (1825–1899), daughter of James Mayer Rothschild. They had the following children:

Wine estates[edit]

Nat Rothschild worked with his uncle James at the de Rothschild Frères bank in Paris, but in 1853 he acquired Château Brane Mouton, a vineyard in Pauillac in the Gironde département from a Paris banker named Thuret who had previously bought it from Baron Hector de Branne in 1830. Nat Rothschild paid 1,175,000 francs for Brane-Mouton's 65 acres (263,000 m²) of vineyards and renamed the estate, Château Mouton Rothschild. It would become one of the world's best known winemakers.

In 1868, Nat's uncle James acquired the neighboring Château Lafite vineyard. A prestigious first growth (premier cru) property more than three times the size of Chateau Mouton, it created a family rivalry. In the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855 Château Mouton was ranked second, something that upset its owner a great deal. In response, he composed the motto: Premier ne puis, second ne daigne, Mouton suis. ("First I cannot be, second I do not choose to be, Mouton I am.").

Other holdings[edit]

In 1856, Nathaniel and his wife purchased the property at 33 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris from Denis, duc Decrès. At the time it was rented to the Russian Embassy but when the lease ran out in 1864, he renovated the building and made it his city residence. Passed down to his son Arthur de Rothschild, he sold it in 1918 to the Cercle de l'Union interalliée. In 1878, Nathaniel bought the Abbaye des Vaux de Cernay in Cernay-la-Ville in the Vallée de Chevreuse, at the time only a ruins of a Cistercian abbey built in 1118. He and his wife undertook extensive restoration work and new construction to turn the lakeside property into a luxurious country home.

Later years[edit]

Nat Rothschild went blind during his final years. He died in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War and his children and grandchildren showed little enthusiasm for the wine business. It would be 118 years later before Château Mouton, under the leadership of Nat's great-grandson Philippe de Rothschild (1902–88), would become the only French vineyard to ever achieve reclassification to first growth.

See also[edit]