La Mondotte

France, Bordeaux

La Mondotte has a less than remarkable history dating back at least to the 19th Century – things only get interesting after 1971, and even then it takes a while. In 1971 the von Neipperg family bought La Mondotte along with Clos de l’Oratoire and, surely the jewel in the crown, Château Canon la Gaffelière. Not much was expected of La Mondotte, it hadn’t made it into any St Emilion classifications, there wasn’t even a château or any wine making facilities there, the wine being made at Canon la Gaffelière and with little aplomb. Stephan von Neipperg took over the family’s St Emilion estates in 1983 and by the mid-90’s had taken the eminently sensible decision to absorb the vineyards of La Mondotte into the grander estate of Château Canon la Gaffelière, and the necessary application was made to the INAO. The INAO said no. In a fit of miraculous pique, Stephan, rather than doing away with La Mondotte, launched it at the world – in order to function as an estate in its own right a new winery and facilities were built at the vineyard, Stéphane Derenoncourt was brought in as winemaker and yields were slashed to some of the lowest in St Emilion. He might have built a château, but from the first vintage of the re-born Le Mondotte the “Château” prefix was gone. The first vintage was 1996 and it was an immediate hit. By the time the 2012 St Emilion classification was released, La Mondotte was a Premier Grand Cru Classé (B). La Mondotte is at the eastern end of the St Emilion plateau on very deep limestone soils. It sits next to Château Troplong Mondot. The vineyards are 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc, with an average age of 50 years. Yields are typically as low as 20hl/ha, and occasionally lower. The wine is aged exclusively in new wood for 18 to 24 months. La Mondotte is an unashamedly rich and concentrated style of St Emilion and has garnered much praise from Robert Parker.