Château La Mondotte 2018
• Domaine: Château La Mondotte
• Appellation: Saint-Emilion
• Classification: Premier Grand Cru Classé B
• Origin: Right Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
The story of La Mondotte is a Cinderella story if ever there was one. Who would have thought this tiny, unclassified property in Saint-Émilion would eventually join the ranks of illustrious, star producers like Château Figeac and Château Canon La Gaffelière as a Premiere Grand Cru Classes estate? La Mondotte’s extraordinary turnaround is largely due to the hard work the von Neipperg family put into the property. For oenophiles who love concentrated, intense, and mineral driven wines, look no further than this gem of a property in the Right Bank.
The history of La Mondotte begins in the modern era when it was purchased by the von Neipperg family in 1971. The von Neippergs are no stranger to the winemaking scene, having produced wine in portions of Germany for 800 years. The von Neipperg family seems to have the Midas touch, having turned properties like Château Canon La Gaffelière into true standouts and exemplary expressions of Saint-Émilion terroir. With all that in mind, La Mondotte was a bit of a late bloomer. Though it was acquired the same time as some other von Neipperg estates, like Canon La Gaffelière and Clos de l'Oratoire, La Mondotte remained relatively obscure. By 1989, the other estates mentioned were already producing knockout vintages simply because the von Neippergs had not directed their attention toward La Mondotte. It wasn’t until 1995 when Stephan von Neipperg shifted his focus to the vineyards at La Mondotte that things started to turn around for the estate.
Stephan von Neipperg prioritized cleaning the soils and moving to self-sustaining farming first because he believed the estate had the same potential as other Premiere Grand Cru Classés properties in Saint-Émilion. They switched the practices over at the estate to biodynamic practices and implemented organic viticultural techniques. As of 2014 La Mondotte was 100% Certified Organic. With all that in mind, the most exciting part of this property’s journey was in 2012, when it was classified as a Premier Grand Cru Classe wine. This is extremely rare for unclassified vineyards in the Right Bank region of Saint-Émilion. In the entire history of the Saint-Émilion Classification, only one other wine made such a turnaround that it was granted this incredibly high honor.
La Mondotte is a small, 4.5-hectare property that is planted with 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc. La Mondotte has some famous neighbors, including Château Troplong Mondot and Château Larcis Ducasse. The estate is located a stone’s throw east of the famous Saint-Émilion limestone plateau. The terroir is mostly clay and silt with heavy limestone deposits in the soil. Like its sibling, Château Canon La Gaffelière, La Mondotte has its share of old vines – some date as far back to 1939. The wine is produced with whole berry fermentation in a gravity flow operation, and the wine is diligently crafted at very low yields. This results in a stunning, mineral-driven wine that has enormous aging potential and can lay down for 12-15 years or more prior to reaching its fullest potential.
"Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2018 La Mondotte strolls nonchalantly out of the glass with expressive scents of plum preserves, blueberry compote and chocolate-covered cherries, followed by suggestions of candied violets, licorice, hoisin and black truffles with a waft of ground cloves. It's medium to full-bodied with seriously impressive tension and wonderfully ripe, velvety tannins supporting the generous black fruit preserves layers, finishing with amazing length and loads of panache. It will require a good 4-5 years to unlock some of its finer nuances, then drink this powerhouse over the next 25+ years." Lisa Perotti Brown, End Of March 2021 The Wine Advocate, (3/31/2021) Rating: 97+ Drink: 2025-2050
"Coming from a cool terroir situated near Pavie Decesse and based on 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc, the 2018 La Mondotte reveals a dense purple hue to go with a rich, yet classic, regal, full-bodied style delivering impressive blue fruits, graphite, scorched earth, and liquid violet aromas and flavors. It's concentrated and powerful, yet it's the balance, purity of fruit, and quality of tannins that set it apart. Do your best to hide bottles for 5-7 years, and it's going to evolve for 30+." Jeb Dunnuck, 2018 Bordeaux From Bottle (3/11/2021) Rating: 96 Drink: 2026-2056
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