I haven’t written about a wine for a long time… Lets go back to my first love : the tasting with the liquid texture, the surge of flavors and the fruits like cornucopia… We are back together to bring to our lips the filled cup of wine. Welcome to its world, welcome on its land. This is a Château on the right bank of Bordeaux… You have to cross the moon harbor of Bordeaux and the vineyards ocean to Libourne. Then you have to meander in the town of Saint-Emilion and reach the top. So after a few miles, you will arrive to a water tower and as soon as you will leave the parking lot, you will be seduced by the landscape. Renovations have been accomplished at Château Troplong Mondot : first with the very charming terrace with the restaurant Les Belles Perdrix and the stylized cellars.
Meeting with the velvet of Saint-Emilion, a Premier Cru Classé B of the right bank.
« Good food and good wine, it’s heaven on earth » Henry IV
The Château Troplong Mondot has a traditional history of the old Bordeaux properties : founded in the XVIII century by the Abbot Raymond Desèze, in 1745 exactly, the vineyard will be one of the first of this wine region. Another Raymond Desèze, lawyer of Louis XVI, will make the Château famous in history thanks to his sentence during the King’s trial : “I seek for you judges and I only see accusers”. It’s almost a century later that a new owner, Raymond Troplong, will give its name to the Château. This famous lawyer and close friend of Théophile Gautier was also the Senate President from 1852 until his death in 1869. He will not only give his name, he will also extend the property to 33 hectares, its current size. At his death, his nephew Edward Troplong, will add his name before giving the vineyard.
Valette-Pariente family now owns the Château for 4 generations. The efforts of several years will be awarded in 2006 : the property becomes Premier Grand Cru Classé B in the classification of Saint-Emilion. This award will be confirmed in 2012 by obtaining its renewal. The vineyard began to be renovated in the 80’s under the leadership of Christine Valette and her husband Xavier Pariente. Everybody can realize the work that has been done by visiting the property. But this year, at dawn of the primeurs 2013, the wine world was orphaned of this great lady : the granddaughter of Alexandre Valette, Christine, died after a long illness.
I visited this beautiful property carefully. From the family house, the view is stunning : there is a deep vines ocean with the town of St Emilion behind. The visit is pleasant and there are some nice surprises like the barrels cellar whose ceiling is decorated with a myriad of daisies shadows thanks to the lights (well at least that’s what I see, but you can also see stars !)… Then the restaurant is carefully decorated and the terrasse is really nice.
About the vineyard, there are 33 hectares in total with 28 hectares of vines. The type of vines is typical of the right bank : 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. The Château attempts an organic reconversion using for example two horses (Sultan and Ulysses !) to work in the vineyard. Like all the properties that engage in sustainable viticulture, pesticides and insecticides are limited. Optical sorting replaces manual harvesting for more precision. Then the Château is creating about 75 000 bottles of Château Troplong Mondot and since 1985, 8500 bottles of the second wine Mondot which contains a majority of Cabernet. Fermentation takes place in new oak casks of 600 liters and the wine is aged in barrels (85% new ones). These ‘demi muids’ barrels are very popular in particular in Saint Emilion and Pomerol (unless I began to see some of them on the left bank… fashion goes fast). Finally Michel Rolland, the famous “flying wine maker”, is the œnologist consultant. It’s thanks to his impulse that Troplong Mondot is one of the best wines of the region.
– Château Troplong Mondot, Grand Cru Classé B, Saint-Emilion, 2011 (90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc)
In the middle of a room, on a table, aside the aging cellar and between glass doors that protect many vintages of the property, there is the wine. The 2011 vintage has got a fabulous color. Deep ruby like blood, vivid and bright in the glass. The nose is pleasant, fruity but slightly closed because this wine is young. The second nose, with aération, opens a little more and reveals pleasant flavors of fresh fruit, blond tobacco and liquorice. A beautiful blend which tends to make people understand that the mouth is gonna be amazing. And this is truly the case… A fruit explosion is felt with an impressive velvet texture. Blackberry, raspberry, black cherry, blackcurrant and kirsch intermingle. Liquorice, slightly woody aromas, smoky delicate flavors and a little green but not unpleasant touch are kissing your lips. You can feel the power and the delicacy at the same time. The palate is fully filled and when the nectar goes into the groove, it’s a long and subtle finish that is left behind.
An achievement that still deserves some patience because in a few years it will reach its peak, I’m pretty sure !