|Subregion||France > Bordeaux > Right Bank > St Emilion|
The very well situated Troplong Mondot vineyard of 33 hectares contains 85% Merlot with 2% Cabernet Franc and 13% Cabernet Sauvignon (high for St Emilion). This château used to produce concentrated St Emilions under the control of consultant wine-maker Michel Rolland and his team. The black coloured wines made here were not for those who prefer the more classic, subtle style of St Emilion but were popular with certain American critics. However, the property was sold in the summer of 2017 and Aymeric de Gironde (formerly of Pichon Baron and Cos d'Estournel) was brought in by the new owners to take charge. The new wine-making consultant is Thomas Duclos who also advises Canon. There have been massive and revolutionary changes here, as we expected, with picking at a much earlier date and all the manipulative extraction techniques abandoned in favour of more traditional wine-making. Aymeric is to applauded for his radical re-styling of Troplong Mondot and the return to a classic and pure St Emilion style.
The 2021 Troplong Mondot shows considerable promise, exhibiting aromas of plums and wild berries mingled with notions of sweet spices, rose petals, vine smoke and raw cocoa, followed by a medium to full-bodied, seamless palate endowed with impressive intensity and texture. Built around beautifully refined, powdery tannins and lively acids, it concludes with a long, mouthwateringly saline finish. Macerations here were long but gentle, including a long cold soak before fermentation, and the blend, after much deliberation, is 85% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc. Tasted four times.
Aymeric de Gironde, who without exaggeration has revolutionized this Saint-Émilion estate, told me that in 2021, the Troplong Mondot comes exclusively from the heart of the original vineyard, mainly on molasse soils. It was picked from September 17 to October 18, unusually finishing with the Merlot, and has 13.5% alcohol without any chaptalization or saignée. The focused blackberry, raspberry and iris petal scented nose is very delineated, yet more reserved than recent vintages. (A second sample at the château had a little more chutzpah.) The palate is medium-bodied with firm, slightly chalky tannins and a fine bead of acidity that imports liveliness and verticality. This Troplong-Mondot is imbued with a palpably mineral-driven finish. I am full of admiration for this cerebral wine, though I wager that it will need several years in bottle.
The 2021 is a blend of 85% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc. The abv is 13.5% without chaptalisation thanks to the natural richness of the site here, which is to great advantage in a cooler, wetter vintage like this one. This is the lowest abv here since the 1999! The fruit will be 85% Grand Vin, rather than 95% as in most years. There is an inclusion of whole bunch Merlot for the first time this year to further freshen the character of this wine - a 50 hectolitre vat was fermented in this fashion. 60% new oak, with 15% in large foudres and 25% in second fill barrels. Deep ruby in colour. The nose has real weight, with smoky cherry fruit and iron coming through, though there are hints of green spice that suggest the whole bunch character starting to show through. The palate has real density for the vintage, with intense but fine red fruit bursting through. Floral tones of violet and cherry blossom build in tandem with woody herbs - though there is ripeness here the fine lift that the team clearly look for is in full evidence. Bright acidity cuts through the chalky, deep tannic structure. The whole bunch grip has added the backbone that press wine would normall add (and which has not been used this year). This is another excellent Troplong Mondot, a clever take on the vintage that takes advantage of the site's naturally advanced ripeness.
Lovely density here with a solid center-palate of fruit and fine tannins. Medium body. Underlying salinity and oyster-shell character in the finish. Well defined. Grows at the end.
The natural density that they have at Troplong was extremely helpful in a vintage like 2021. This is a little more reserved than a typical year, but very much delivers signature power. Expect gunsmoke, fern and raspberry leaf alongside cherry pit and saffron salinity, black cherry fruits, rosebud, anis, fennel spice, all with the powerful and concentrated signature of limestone. I was here on the last day of harvest, and I remember how healthy the grapes were. This is the first vintage where the cellar has been completely finished, moving from 20 to 42 tanks. No chaptilisation (but the natural 13.5%abv is extremely rare at this late ripening property, and a real indication of how long it took for sugars to climb in this vintage).
85% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc. 47 hl/ha. Cask sample.
Deep colour. Floral notes with an attractive density of fruit. Finely structured, velvety tannins providing the framework. Minty freshness as well, the finish chalky. Balanced with all the components in place. (JL) 13.5%
Drink 2027 – 2042