Château Troplong Mondot, Saint-Emilion 1er Grand Cru Classé
Château Troplong Mondot, Saint-Emilion 1er Grand Cru Classé

Château Troplong Mondot, Saint-Emilion 1er Grand Cru Classé

Bordeaux, France 1999 (750mL)
Regular price$169.00
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Château Troplong Mondot, Saint-Emilion 1er Grand Cru Classé

Let’s get right to it, because today’s discovery checks off every box of a bona fide Bordeaux opportunity extravaganza. Start with the classification: 1er Grand Cru Classé, aka the crème de la crème of the top châteaux. Then you add in two very important names: Saint-Émilion and Troplong Mondot. The former is one of the top two appellations on the Right Bank of the Gironde, and the latter has a long standing reputation as an address that consistently lives up to its ranking and indeed overperforms year in and year out. And then the real cherry on top, the twist that takes this discovery over the top, is that this is a bottle with almost a quarter of a century of age. There you have it: A bottle of top-tier Saint-Émilion, with all the accompanying accolades and ratings, from a classically terrific vintage that is at peak drinking perfection. What more is there to say? Pounce!

Of course, there is plenty more to say when it comes to a storied château like Troplong Mondot. The estate traces its roots back to the 16th century, but it was Abbe Raymond de Seze who finished construction on the current Château in 1745 and so established the modern foundation of this property. Vineyards were purchased and planted on a small scale until about 1850 when Raymond Troplong inherited the land and greatly increased the amount of hectares planted to vines. He also established the current name, combining his surname with the old title of the area to get Troplong Mondot. The château changed hands several times before it was purchased by Alexander Valette in 1936. Valette and his descendants are responsible for bringing the winemaking fully into the 20th, and 21st centuries and for helping it reclaim its prestige and position among the very best Bordeaux along the Right Bank. 

Perhaps the most important family member in the evolution of Troplong Mondot was Christine Valette, who took the helm back in 1980. She was responsible for eliminating machine harvesting so that everything was done by hand, introducing stainless steel tanks for fermentation, and increasing the amount of new oak barrels for aging. She also hired the now famous Michel Rolland as a consulting winemaker. It was Christine and Michel who were largely responsible for the stunning, instant classic 1999 that we have on offer today.

As a vintage, 1999 gets overlooked in Saint-Émilion, being sandwiched between two blockbuster years, but in fact it was itself an excellent, and very classically styled, year. It may not have the raw power and richness of 1998 or 2000, but it has more elegance, more aromatic complexity, and thanks to good structure and bright acidity, it has aged extremely well. A brief and gentle decant off the sediment is recommended before serving in a large Bordeaux stem at around 60-65 degrees. The deep garnet hue with a vibrant brick-orange edge will open quickly with a broad range of aromatics. Ripe plum, black cherries, raspberry liqueur, leather, vanilla bean, cedar, forest floor, tobacco leaf, and hints of candied orange are complemented by a soft, elegant texture that finishes with iodine minerality and silky tannins. I would recommend letting this wine be the star of the show and serving it alongside some aged cheeses, but it would also make a lovely companion to an old school prime rib. It’s a perfect gift for any wine lover, which includes making a great gift for yourself!

Château Troplong Mondot, Saint-Emilion 1er Grand Cru Classé
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