A prime plot perched 106 meters above Saint-Emilion
Chateau Troplong Mondot, Premier Grand Cru Classé B, is one of the true gems of the region, particularly of the greater Right Bank. Easily recognizable for its elegant building, overlooking the village of Saint-Emilion, the Chateau is strategically located on the prime plot on the “Mondot” hill. On this plot at the top of the hill, located 106 meters above sea level, the vines enjoy exposure from all four cardinal elements, a favorable condition that promotes the maturity of their fruit.
A Class unto Itself
Since the 1990’s the quality of the Troplong Mondot wines, the product of a terroir with strong potential and pronounced expression, has made a remarkable progression. This upward trend can of course be explained by the quality of land, but it is not the only factor. In 1981 Claude Valette entrusted the care and future of the vines to his daughter Christine. Since that time Christine Valette-Pariente, her husband Xavier Pariente and their team have worked to constantly improve the expression of the terroir found on this continuous 33 hectare plot. In recognition of hard work and consistent effort, the property was appropriately rewarded with the elevated status of Premier Cru Classé (B) during the 2006 decennial Saint-Emilion classification. This new ranking was then fittingly reaffirmed in the latest classification in September 2012.
A Rich History
At the start of the 18th Century, Chateau Troplong Mondot belonged to one of Bordeaux’ most important aristocratic families: the Sèze family. The Count Raymond du Sèze, a magistrate and brilliant politician, who assumed responsibility for the defense of the unlucky King Louis XVI before the Convention, also oversaw the activities and the destiny of the estate. But it was not until the 19th century that the names Troplong and Mondot were merged, in the fashionable style of the times, to form the estate as we know it today. In 1850, Raymond-Théodore Troplong acquired the Chateau Mondot. Upon his death, Edouard Troplong inherited the estate and immediately decided to add Mondot to his own name, thus Troplong Mondot was born. Much later, in the 1940’s, the family Valette, wine merchants from Paris, acquired the Chateau.
During the 1980’s the Chateau set a new course to give the estate a dynamic character, of land and technique, that would allow it to fairly compete with the Crus Classés. The estate had the grand terroir but it needed to be called upon to deliver more. Christine Valette and Xavier Pariente carried out major renovations, including remodeling the winery, the cellars, improving the vineyards and enlisting the help of internationally recognized regional specialist, who perfectly understands the Libournais soils, Michel Rolland. The course was set and the aim was to produce wines of consistent high quality, regaurdless of the vintage, without deviating from the desire to preserve the terroir and focus on environmental issues. The concern for detail was so focused at this time that in 1985 the second wine, Mondot, was created in homage to the hill, the locality and the original name of the estate. The product of rigorous selection for the production of the first wine, a standard principle of the development of first and second wines in Bordeaux, Modot is itself a great wine, full, elegant, expressive and defined by a silky structure. We can see the sum of all of these efforts if we evaluate the wines produced in the past three decades, culminating in the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 vintage. Despite the difficulties and successes of each year, Troplong Mondot succeeds brilliantly year after year.
Wines Defined by the Terroir
The 33 hectares of Troplong Mondot vineyards spread across the south-western facing slope, the famous plateau overlooking Saint-Emilion, and the steep southern slope next to Chateau Pavie. Thus the recipe for this great wine uses only the best ingredients. With an ideal exposition that provides great sunlight and limestone clay soils that provide good drainage, allowing for good hydric regulation of the vines, the berries produced in this soil are defined by their finesse and complexity. The soil enriched by sedimentary fragments of limestone and flint enrich the Merlot (90% of the total plantings), Cabernet Sauvignon (5%) and Cabernet Franc (5%) vines.
The Signature Expressed in the Glass
If each vintage leaves a unique mark on the wine, the fundamental style, or the DNA of Troplong Mondot, remains the same year after year, providing a distinctive mark that wine lovers can find in their glass. Profound, sensual, elegant, refined, a raw and unpretentious fruitiness, these are the adjectives that perfectly describe the heart of these wines. Pleasant in its youth, with freshness, aromas of delicate violet florals, and palate caressing fruit, this wine asserts more powerful, rich and complex aromas with age. It does not escape notice that this wine marries two opposing forces of strength and delicacy, to deliver a balance, precision and harmony.
Our Coup-de-Cœur: Troplong Mondot 2013
A great success of the harvest and vinification process, where careful work in the cellar overcomes the difficulties of a questionable year, the 2013 Troplong Mondot is cited as one of the great gems of this difficult year in Bordeaux. This wine is concentrated and elegant, contrary to popularly held beliefs about the weak 2013 wines. It is a wine that is more accessible, more open delivering a deliciously delicate bouquet with aromatic freshness and a precision that begs a second taste. With beautiful aromas of black fruits (black currant and blueberry) surrounded by chalky minerality and notes of cedar, it is pleasant and intriguing, notable for the passion and dedication that went into its composition. A remarkable wine given the technical nature of the year.
And when the time comes to enjoy this wine at the table, come to Saint-Emilion and enjoy the various vintages on the shaded terrace of Belles Perdrix, the gourmet restaurant on the property that is the work of Jérôme Cadillat (Crillon, Carré des Feuillants in Paris) et Daid Charrier (co-author of the menu of a famous two-star restaurant in Carantec). Served in their birthplace, the wines of Troplong Mondot here take on a distinct character, speaking of the heart of the vines and the pleasure they produce.