– tailor-made visits that focus on the vineyards
Don’t worry when you visit premier grand cru classé Troplong Mondot, they provide you with all you need even rubber boots so you can get to the grass roots of wine production.
Photo Yves Samuel
Just as well as the vines are the subject here and a lot of the visit is accented in the vines whatever the weather with the help of an old citröen van to take you up and down the vine rows. Well it is where it starts and you could say where it finishes. There is no way of making a good wine wine without having the best grapes to start with. At Troplong Mondot they have a lot on their side with 33 hectares in one block on some of the highest land in St Emilion (110m) and on every aspect.
You can’t talk of St Emilion without talking soil and being so high of course the mother rock is the famous limestone ‘asteries’ made from compressed seashells and star fish (hence the link to aster – star in ancient Greek). This porous rock is what makes St Emilion famous soaking up and holding water in the Winter and spring to feed it back to the thirsty vines when they need it in the heat of the summer. Just enough water for the vines (not too much) water that infused with a certain minerality, to give small yields of concentrated wines with this ‘chalky’ freshness. Power with some austerity yet fineness – remarkable wines that can last for years.
But there is a whole other layer at Troplong Mondot. Under the clay at the highest vineyards at the top of the hill lies a sandstone rock (‘La pierre meulière’ used as millstone or grindstones and called gritstone) as hard as the limestone is porous. In the thick red clay soil one often sees pieces of both stones side by side. One giving minerality and the other smokey flavours.
I tasted Troplong Mondot 2011, a cool year but with nice spicy liquorice notes which complement a thickness of ripe black cherry on the palate that would make it a fine partner for roast duck this Christmas. Medium-bodied, it is a good example of not over-ripe fruit which would be such a shame and only cover up the nuances of this special fragrant terroir (rather like heavy mascara on a beautiful delicate face). The vineyards are all Merlot with 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.
With the château’s new owners (French insurance SOCR) the winemaking at Troplong Mondot is going the way of many now, picking sooner to keep the fresh fruit characteristics that help to reveal the finesse beneath.
Big renovations are underway with the château and chai to be open next year (the restaurant will reopen in 2020 with the same chef, David Charrier who earned a Michelin star). The tasting is done in the authentic house where employers used to lodge ‘sur place’ so there is lots of ambience.
Visite « A la découverte du Château Troplong Mondot » – 1h15
Suivie d’une dégustation de 2 vins
Mondot 2013 et Château Troplong Mondot 2011
20€ par personne
La dégustation que nous avons faîte aujourd’hui
Visite « Au cœur du vignoble » – 2h15
Immersion dans les vignes à pied et/ou en voiture, suivie d’une dégustation de 5 vins
1 millésime de Mondot et Château Troplong Mondot 2004, 2011, 2012 et 2013, à 350€
1 millésime de Mondot et Château Troplong Mondot 1998, 2000, 2005 et 2009, à 800€