While touring a village in the Bordeaux region of France, the
owner of this McLean home was fascinated to learn that Château Mouton
Rothschild was the first estate to bottle its own wine. He began amassing
a collection that now includes 110 Château Mouton Rothschild vintages
dating as far back as 1874.
In 2002, he hired well-known Connecticut-based designer David
Spon to create a wine cellar to showcase this beloved collection and
organize the rest of his many wines. “With 12,000 bottles, it’s a very
dense layout,” says Spon. One danger with a cellar this big is that it can
look like a warehouse—Spon added curved racks at the end of storage rows
and recessed coves to soften the edges. White-maple shelves give the space
a fresh, contemporary look.
A glass case lined with bottles of Château Mouton Rothschild—an
oenophile trophy case of sorts—separates the cellar from the tasting room.
Along the walls of the tasting room are framed, limited-edition Château
Mouton Rothschild wine labels painted by such artists as Marc Chagall,
Salvador Dalí, and Andy Warhol.
The cellar and tasting room see a lot of traffic. In 2008, the
homeowner decided to turn his passion for fine wines into a business. He
now owns Five Grapes, a wine distributor that also helps people develop
and manage their collections.
Friends and customers often descend into the 16-by-16-foot
tasting room, which has a table that seats eight. “There is no best time
to open a great bottle,” says the homeowner, “but I like to do it with
people who know, like, and appreciate the art and science of
This article appears in the August 2012 issue of The Washingtonian.