Chateau Troplong Mondot produced one of the best St. Emilion wines in 2010. But that was a much easier vintage for their limestone and clay terroir. Troplong Mondot is a true family managed property. Christine Valette and Xavier Pariente have been on top of things for close to 15 years. MargauxPariente is now a full time member of the team as well. To find out what they were doing with the 2011 vintage, we spoke with Xavier Pariente about the 2011 Troplong Mondot Harvest.
Jeff Leve: The 2009 Bordeaux vintage as well as 2010 Bordeaux are both unique vintages. How would you classify 2011 Troplong Mondot Harvest?
Xavier Pariente “The 2011 Troplong Mondot Harvest will make a typical Bordeaux vintage. It is classical, yet distinguished, fruity and well balanced”.
Jeff Leve: 2011 St. Emilion had a difficult growing season. With your cooler terroir, were you able to wait for the warm weather Bordeaux experienced in late September at Troplong Mondot?
Xavier Pariente “Yes, the last weeks of good weather really helped the grapes to ripen”.
Jeff Leve: When did start your 2011 Troplong Mondot Harvest?
Xavier Pariente “The 2011 Troplong Mondot harvest started September 15 with the Merlot. We began the Cabernet Franc picking a few days later”.
Jeff Leve: Was the 2011 Troplong Mondot harvest a long harvest? When did you finish picking?
Xavier Pariente: “We finished our 2011 Troplong Mondot harvest with the Cabernet Sauvignon under sunny conditions October 5. This is the earliest harvest at Troplong Mondot since 1989, which began September 11”.
Jeff Leve: You continue to slowly increase the amount of Cabernet Sauvignon in your vineyards. What purpose does it serve in Troplong Mondot?
Xavier Pariente: “The Cabernet Sauvignon renforces the Troplong Mondot backbone and structure while adding more freshness, fruit and complexity”.
Jeff Leve: What conditions helped shape the 2011 Bordeaux vintage?
Xavier Pariente: “2011 Bordeaux was certainly shaped by the spring draught. But it is very different from a vintage such as 2003. Luckily we had rain during the veraison, which is the best time for the vines”.
Jeff Leve: What makes 2011 Bordeaux different than 2003 at Troplong Mondot?
Xavier Pariente: “2003 is a sunny vintage that is the result of massive heat waves. 2011 Bordeaux is a classical vintage, which is more the result of normal, oceanic Bordeaux weather conditions”.
Jeff Leve: Did you have problems with sunburn or other issues from the drought conditions?
Xavier Pariente: “We had a few grilled berries. But this issue has been solved thanks to the vibrating sorting table and the different sorting steps we took at Troplong Mondot”.
Jeff Leve: Do you use optical sorting?
Xavier Pariente:” Yes. We used optical sorting. This really helped in getting a homogenous sort”.
Jeff Leve: Did you do anything new in the vineyards this year?
Xavier Pariente: “We did a lot of work in the vineyards. We also started using horses on few hectares as well”.
Jeff Leve: What do you use the horses for at Troplong Mondot?
Xavier Pariente: “We use horses to help avoid compaction of the soils. This encourages a stronger root system, a better respect of the soil, protection and allows for development of the soil’s microbiology”.
Jeff Leve: What are you doing with the vinification for the 2011 Bordeaux vintage?
Xavier Pariente: “We have chosen to have limited extraction for 2011. Depending on the vats, we are limiting or not practicing cold prefermentation. To age the wine, we will use about 80% new oak for the 2011 vintage”.
Jeff Leve: What do you think 2011 Troplong Mondot will be known for?
Xavier Pariente: “The characteristics of the 2011 vintage are those of a classical Bordeaux vintage. The wines display medium alcohol content with a good acidity allowing a good ageing of this vintage”.
Jeff Leve: If 2011 is a classic vintage, how would you describe 2010 Troplong Mondot?
Xavier Pariente: At Troplong Mondot, the 2010 vintage is actually characterized by both a low pH and high alcohol content. In other words, a Bordeaux wine with good balance”.