In the early 1970s, Edmond de Rothschild, who already held a stake in Château Lafite-Rothschild, decided he wanted to purchase another estate in the Médoc. The Baron was game for the challenge posed by an atypical property: Château Clarke. The estate has a rich history. Purchased in the 18th century by its namesake Irish family, Château Clarke became quite famous in the early 20th century before it was gradually forgotten. The chateau was once widely admired for the quality of its red wines, as well as for its white wines, which is rare in the region. Production of the cleverly named “Merle Blanc de Château Clarke” began around 1890. Intrigued by these details and eager to restore luster to the estate’s legacy and wines, Edmond de Rothschild purchased Château Clarke in 1973.
Edmond de Rothschild chose to redesign the vineyard: the existing vines were completely uprooted and replanted. This time-consuming effort, which further delayed wine production, was a big risk. The process began in 1974 and was not completed until 1979. The acquisition of the estate was accompanied by a bold show of independence: the Baron decided to market Château Clarke wines outside the Bordeaux wine selling system. In 1998, Benjamin de Rothschild took the reins of Château Clarke from his father. He launched a new series of investments which included renovating the fermentation room and calling on the expertise of oenologist Michel Rolland.