Chateau Troplong Mondot has gone on from strength to strength in recent years and the quality of the wines has just kept on improving. Troplong Mondot was bought by Parisian vintner Alexandre Valette in 1936 and is now run by his very charming great granddaughter Christine Valette. Having met her on a few occasions she really is the perfect hostess – always making you feel welcome with a big smile and lovely traditional Bordelaise cuisine (the chateau also has a Restaurant and Guest House: Les Belles Perdix) . It’s not been a widely known chateau throughout history but under Christine’s care and with Michel Rolland as consultant oenologist Troplong Mondot has certainly raised its profile.
Christine’s great grandfather, Alexandre, already owned Chateau La France in Fronsac (sold in 1988 and later purchased by Bruno Mottet in 2010) and went on to buy Chateau Pavie and La Clusière in 1943. On his death in 1957 the properties were divided amongst his heirs. Christine’s father, Claude, inherited Troplong Mondot, whilst Jean-Paul inherited Chateau Pavie and La Clusière (his son, Patrick, later sold them both in 1998 to Gerard Perse and La Clusière was absorbed into Pavie in 2002). Incidentally another of Alexandre’s grandsons, Thierry Valette, went on to purchase Clos Puy Arnaud in the Côtes de Castillon in 2000.
Troplong Mondot was rightly promoted to First Growth (Premier Grand Cru Classé B) in the 2006 Saint Emilion Classification and has retained this rank in the 2012 Classification. It’s regularly appeared in my ‘Top Twenty Wines’ duing my En Primeur tastings and at the 2012 tastings of Saint Emilion wines at Chateau Soutard, Troplong Mondot was my favourite wine from the group on offer.
“A good rich dense dark red colour. Lots of fruit on the nose with notes of red berries, blackberries and violets. Very fresh in the mouth. Very well balanced acidity with lots of elegance. When this wine is mature enough to drink I am sure it will be lovely.”
“Once I saw the alcohol level was 15.5% I thought that the wine would be hot and would not suit my palate. I could not have been more wrong. Troplong Mondot have got it absolutely right this year. Fantastic colour, opulent fruits on the nose, great depth with complex aromas. It just wanted me to taste it. In the mouth flavours of blueberries and blackberries – a lovely, lovely wine. This is a great example of an estate whose previous vintages have been somewhat overlooked. This year I hope people will take note of it because they work very hard to produce some great wines. Bravo to Troplong Mondot for the 2010!”
The chateau sits on the 100 metre high hill named ‘Mondot’ which is the escarpment to the east of Saint Emilion, giving magnificent views of the medieval town below. In the 17th century the vineyard belonged to the Abbéde Sèze, who built the chateau in 1745. The de Sèze were a powerful family and Raymond de Sèze was one of the lawyers who defended King Louis XVI at his trial during the French Revolution. De Sèze survived, the King however did not.
In 1850 Troplong Mondot was purchased by another peer of the realm, Raymond Troplong, who was also a famous jurist. He became President of the Senate in 1852 and Troplong Mondot flourished under his management. He increased the vineyards to 33 hectares and in 1868 Troplong Mondot’s wines were ranked Saint Emilions second finest. At the end of the 19th century, Troplong Mondot was on a par with Chateau Figeac, being one of the largest producers of Premier Cru Saint. Emilion wines.
Today Christine runs Troplong Mondot with her husband Xavier Pariente and their daughter Margaux who is Head of Communications and Marketing. The vineyards have remained much the same in size since 1850 – although wine making techniques and vineyard management have not! The soils are limestone and clay with patches of flint and some of the vines are over 90 years old. The grapes grown are 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc. Troplong Mondot’s wines are full bodied, fruit driven and a bluish purple colour. They have notes of blackcurrant, coffee, earth, truffle, vanilla, pepper and plum. They are rich, dense, well structured and classic wines which age gracefully and should be cellared. If you are interested in buying Troplong Mondot’s wines you can find them at www.interestinwine.com