Chateau Troplong Mondot Yesterday and Today 3 Decades of Wine Tasted
Chateau Troplong Mondot is clearly on a roll. While the St. Emilion property has been held in high regard for more than 100 years, today, they are making the best wines in their long career. Their first major leap to quality took place with the 1989 vintage, which was quickly followed by the 1990 Chateau Troplong Mondot.
While it can be argued the decade of the 1990’s produced mixed results, starting with the 2000 vintage, clearly Chateau Troplong Mondot kicked everything into high gear with a streak of great vintages.
However, making wine is not the only thing keeping Christine Valette and Xavier Pariente, the charming, enthusiastic owners of the estate busy. Starting in 2007, Chateau Troplong Mondot began a complete renovation of their wine making facilities which continued until 2008, in time for the new harvest. The new wine making facilities for Chateau Troplong Mondot included the addition of 11, truncated, stainless steel vats that range in size from 83 hectoliters to 99 hectoliters. They also added a new computer system as well as improved destemming machines and vibrating, sorting technology.
Starting with the 2011 Bordeaux vintage, they added optical sorting technology to their list of tools needed to continue producing some of the best wine St. Emilion has to offer. The optical sorting tool is going to come in handy with the difficult 2012 vintage that is close to harvesting. An official start date has not been set, but it looks like picking will commence the second week of October. It remains to be seen if 2008 or 2012 will hold the record for the latest harvest in the history of Chateau Troplong Mondot.
The rebuilding and renovations of the estate did not end with the technical aspect of making wine. Chateau Troplong Mondot is leading the way for wine tourism in St. Emilion. Guests wanting to experience the wine country life can experience it, in one of the most quixotic settings in Bordeaux. Les Belles Perdrix is a beautiful, bed and breakfast, guest, cottage located on the grounds of Chateau Troplong Mondot. From this idyllic location, one can relax, enjoy life in St. Emilion, or if it’s during the harvest, participate in the picking.
Plus, Chateau Troplong Mondot has one of the finest restaurants in St. Emilion. The chef, who was previously employed at the Crillon and Dutournier, offers great cooking in a stunningly beautiful setting. The patio is second to none, with its overview of St. Emilion and the vineyards of Troplong Mondot. Inside the restaurants, it’s quiet, if not slightly meditative. Les Belles Perdrix is a family affair. In fact, the restaurant was designed by Charlotte Fabre, the daughter of Christine and Xavier. Plus, you know you’re going to have the chance to drink perfectly stored, aged vintages of Chateau Troplong Mondot as well. I ate there twice during my last visit and loved it! For reservations: [email protected]
Prior to my dinner at Les Belles Perdrix, I was fortunate to taste a vertical of Chateau Troplong Mondot from 2000 through 2011. To supplement the tasting notes, over the past few months, I opened other vintages from my cellar, allowing for a good look at one the best, Premier Grand Cru Classe wines in St. Emilion. The vintages presented were 2000 forward. The older bottles were from my cellar tasted over a few months during casual dinners with friends. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
While these vintages of Chateau Troplong Mondot are listed from young to old, at the property, they were tasted from old to young before dinner, and again randomly during the night over dinner. That second tasting afforded me a good look at the wines and how they developed in the glass throughout the evening.
2010 Troplong Mondot – From an assemblage of 83% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Cabernet Franc, the fruit was harvested over a long period in October. The young Merlot vines were harvested October 4 over two days. The older Merlot vines were picked starting October 16, finishing October 16. The Cabernet’s were picked October 28. Yields were low at 32 hectoliters per hectare. The wine reached 15.5% alcohol and was aged in 100% new oak. Inky in color, espresso bean, blueberry, licorice, chocolate, smoke, black cherry and plum liqueur. Thick, intense, tannic, polished, rich and powerful, this wine fills your mouth and coats your palate with multiple waves of sensuously textured fruits, licorice and chocolate. Could this end of the decade wine be the finest vintage of Chateau Troplong Mondot produced yet? It has some stiff competition with 2009, 2005 and 1990. Regardless of where it fits in, this is a great wine that belongs in any Troplong Mondot lovers cellar! 99 Pts
2009 Troplong Mondot – Blending 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, the harvest took place for the Merlot October 2 through October 10. The Cabernet’s were picked October 20. From low yields of 30 hectoliters per hectare, the wine reached 15.5% alcohol and was aged in 100% new oak. There is no sensation of heat in the wine. The color of dark, purple ink, black cherry, blueberry, licorice, chocolate, smoke, truffle, earth and spicy aromas create a beautiful perfume. Full bodied, this palate coating, sensuous, voluptuous, rich, sexy wine leaves a beautiful sensation of sweet, fleshy, flashy, ripe berry liqueur and chocolate. 98 Pts
2008 Troplong Mondot – 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon made up the blend. This vintages holds the record for the latest harvest in the history of the estate. Picking took a long time as well. Starting October 9, harvesting continued until October 21. However, one final plot of Cabernet Sauvignon was not picked until November 1! 2008 saw the debut of the new vat cellars for Troplong Mondot which allowed for more precise vinification. Reaching 14.5% alcohol, from yields of 41 hectoliters per hectare and aged in 95% new oak. This deep colored wine offers spicy chocolate, licorice, coffee, plum liqueur, smoke, minerality and jammy black cherry aromas. On the palate, this full bodied, concentrated, rich, tannic wine fills your mouth with fresh, tannic, deep, black cherry. The wine requires time to soften and develop nuances. Give it at least 5-8 years. 93 Pts
2007 Troplong Mondot – The harvest took place starting October 9 and was completed October 19. 2007 marked the debut of high tech sorting at estate. For the first time the chateau had the ability to conduct 5 different sortings of the berries which was truly necessary in this difficult vintage. From yields of 27.5 hectoliters per hectare and a blend of From 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine was aged in 100% new oak and reached 13.5% alcohol. With licorice, herbs, kirsch, forest and bitter chocolate in the nose, the wine is medium bodied ending in a chalky, red cherry finish. 90 Pts
2006 Troplong Mondot – Picking took place from September 21, ending September 30. The wine reached 14% alcohol and was aged in 70% new oak. This was the first vintage sporting the new label highlighting the estate’s promotion to Grand Cru Classe’ status.Produced from a blend of 90% Merlot with the remainder of the blend evenly split between Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, notes of wood, licorice, plum, coffee and forest aromas open to soft textures, with ample round tannins and fresh plum. There is a strong chalky, minerality sensation in the fresh, plum finish. This requires time to soften and develop. 92 Pts
2005 Troplong Mondot – The fruit was picked from September 22 – September 29. From very low yields of 26 hectoliters per hectares, aged in 75% new oak, the wine reached 14.5 alcohol. From a blend of 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc, the wine is deep ruby in color. The first thing you notice is an explosion of truffle, dark chocolate, coffee, licorice, ripe plum, black cherry liqueur, baked goods and caramel grab your attention and keep it there. Silk and velvet textures meshed with power, ripe tannins, freshness and acidity. There is a lot going on. But everything is in balance. The wine is expansive ending with intense, pure melted black cherry. You could drink this today and you’ll enjoy a great tasting experience. But patience will be rewarded. Give it 5-10 years. Regardless of all the points or wine tasting adjectives in the world, the true test of a wine for any taster is, are you compelled to keep tasting the wine, not only for new discoveries, but for pleasure. I could not keep my hands off this wine. It is stunning! 99 Pts
2004 Troplong Mondot – The harvest took place October 4 – October 17. From large yields of 46 hectoliters per hectare, the wine was aged in 75% new oak and reached 14% alcohol. Blending 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc, plum, truffle and coffee scents lead to a fresh, cherry, red and black plum filled wine that is slightly dry in the finish. 89 Pts
2003 Troplong Mondot – This vintage is one of the earliest in the history of Troplong Mondot. Picking began September 12, ending September 20. Due to the difficulty encountered in the torrid growing season, an extra sorting table was added in the vat cellar. Yields were low, at 21 hectoliters per hectare. The wine was aged in 100% new oak and reached 14% alcohol. From From 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc, notes of roasted cherry, leaf, kirsch liqueur, jam and forest aromas open to a soft, round, forward style of Troplong Mondot that offers ample chocolate and bright cherry jam. This is drinking well today. 91 Pts
2002 Troplong Mondot – The fruit was harvested between October 4 – October 12. The yields were 33.6 hectoliters per hectare. Aged in 100% new oak, the wine reached 14% alcohol. Forest floor, old wood, cherry, earth, strawberry and smoke filled aromas open to a soft, red cherry filled wine that is drinking beautifully today. From 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc, this is quite nice for this cooler vintage. 91 Pts
2001 Troplong Mondot – The harvest took place October 4 – October 11. The yields were 26.6 hectoliters per hectare. The blend is From 85% Merlot, 7.5 Cabernet Sauvignon and 7.5% Cabernet Franc. The wine reached 13.5% alcohol and was aged in 100% new oak. Smoke, earth, stone, black cherry and truffle. With air, the medium/full bodied, sensuous, wine filled out in the glass while becoming softer, with more richness. Ready to drink and close to maturity, ends with fresh blackberry and spicy plum sensations. 92 Pts
2000 Troplong Mondot – The harvest ran from September 25 until October 6. The yields were 37.6 hectoliters per hectare. From a blend of 85% Merlot 7.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7.5% Cabernet Franc, the wine reached 13.5% alcohol and was aged in 85% new oak. Floral, chocolate, blackberry and plum scents open to supple, ripe, sweet black plum and mocha. Some tannin remains, give it 2 -5 more years to develop further. 96 Pts
1998 Troplong Mondot – Tasting much younger than a wine that is close to celebrating its 15th birthday, licorice, black cherry, forest floor, smoke and cocoa scents open to a soft, fleshy, supple textured St. Emilion that is rich, young and vibrant and just starting to enter the beginnings of maturity. In 1998, the wine reached 13% alcohol. 94 Pts
1995 Troplong Mondot – On the hard, tannic and austere side of the style range, the tannins were almost obtrusive. The nose was better than the palate. This clearly showed the difficulties faced hard tannins by many 1995 Bordeaux wines. The wine was produced from a blend of 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and reached 13.5% alcohol. Perhaps the large percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc explains the solid, tannic structure to the vintage. The wine was aged in 83% new oak for 15 months. The yields were 36 hectares per hectare. The harvest started September 20 and finished October 3. 90 Pts
1990 Troplong Mondot – This is the vintage that hooked me on the greatness of what Chateau Troplong Mondot can deliver. From a blend of 85% Merlot, 7.5% Cabernet Franc and 7.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine was aged in 75% new, French oak for 23 months. The yields were 35 hectoliters per hectare. The harvest took place starting September 20 and finished October 2. The alcohol level reached 13.5%. With a nose that soars with its truffle, blackberry, boysenberry jam, chocolate fudge, earth, spice box and liqueur scents, you know you’re in for something special. Incredibly concentrated, with layers of decadent, ripe, pure, jammy berries, port like textures and a finish that expands for close to 60 seconds, this remains a stellar wine with at least another 2 decades of bottled pleasure remaining. 98 Pts
1989 Troplong Mondot – Probably close to fully mature, with a definite lightening of color, the wine was loaded with spicy black cherries, wet earth, smoke, jam, licorice and mocha, soft, silky and round in texture, the wine finished with a sweet, cherry griotte, plum and spicy, chocolate finish. For those of you who like facts, the alcohol level reached 13.5%. 94 Pts
If you have thoughts, comments or questions on Chateau Troplong Mondot or anything in this article, please feel free to share and post.