Château Trotte Vieille 2020
• Domaine: Château Trotte Vieille
• Appellation: Saint-Emilion
• Classification: Premier Grand Cru Classé B
• Origin: Right Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
Château Trotte Vieille is one of the oldest estates in Saint-Émilion – with records of the property’s inception as a working winery dating back to 1453. Though there were some vineyards in the region that dated back to the Roman Era, there are very few reports of working wineries with a history as long-lived as that of Château Trotte Vieille. The wines from this Saint-Émilion Premiere Grand Cru Classé B are remarkably ageable yet approachable while young. Critics such as James Suckling consider Château Trotte Vieille one of the more underrated Saint-Émilion First Growth estates – and that might very much be true. Regardless, with ever increasing scores and recognition, Château Trotte Vieille is surely a must for any savvy wine buyer.
The story of how the estate derives its name is a colorfully comedic one. Centuries ago, an old woman – who was quite the gossip – lived on the property. She knew everything about everyone and was always trotting around town prattling on about the latest scandal. Perhaps she was lonely living on such a vast estate all by herself – who knows – but either way, whenever a Stagecoach would arrive at the end of the long drive, the Old Woman would trot over to the Coach and share the latest stories on everyone’s business in Saint-Émilion. Local townspeople would call her, “Old Trot,” or Trotte Vieille and the name stuck.
Yet despite this charming story, the wines of Château Trotte Vieille are meant to be taken seriously. Château Trotte Vieille was purchased by Marcel Borie, the head of a negociant called Borie-Manoux in 1949. Marcel gave the property to his son-in-law, Emille Castéja to manage it, and it has been managed by the Castéjas ever since. Château Trotte Vieille is currently being run by Phillippe Castéja. The estate has some impressive terroir of clay mixed with limestone soil, and the vineyard is planted in one single block – something quite unusual in the Right Bank appellation of Saint-Émilion. The plantings of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon are a bit on the older side – ranging from 50 to 100 years old.
Perhaps one of the more unique aspects of Château Trotte Vieille are the small amount pre-phylloxera vines that are 150 years of age. This is quite a rare occurrence, as phylloxera – a parasitic wood louse that preys on wine grapes – nearly devastated the entire production of Bordeaux wine during the late 1800s. Somehow the vineyards at Château Trotte Vieille were lucky and managed to escape the phylloxera plague. Interestingly enough, extremely limited quantity of wine is produced from a small selection of pre-phylloxera Cabernet Franc, but it’s only available at the tasting room.
The wine from Château Trotte Vielle is fresh, with a beautiful oceanic mineral quality from the limestone terroir, which is somewhat typical of Saint-Émilion. The quality continues to improve with each passing vintage and is a worthy purchase for any Right Bank connoisseur. The wines of Château Trotte Vielle do require a bit of bottle ageing during good vintages. They are fresh, with a beautiful oceanic mineral quality from the limestone terroir, which is somewhat typical of St-Émilion. The quality of their Grand Vin continues to improve with each passing vintage and is a worthy purchase for any Right Bank connoisseur.
"The 2020 Trotte Vieille is a blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 49% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon aging for an anticipated 16 months in French oak barrels, 80% new. The alcohol is 15%. Opaque purple-black in color, it bursts from the glass with vivacious notes of wild blueberries, ripe, juicy black plums and black raspberries, plus hints of lilacs, star anise and tar with a touch of wild thyme. The rich, full-bodied palate coats the mouth with black fruits and exotic spice sparks, framed by grainy tannins and just enough freshness, finishing on a fragrant earth note." Lisa Perotti-Brown, May 2021 Week 3: The Wine Advocate (05/20/2021) Rating: 92-94
"Excellent grip and tension through the palate, a well-judged and well-balanced Trottevieille, doing exactly as well as expected in a vintage that favours clay and limestone soils that keep freshness and focus. Elegant and sleek, plenty of tight blackberry fruit and a mouthwatering finish. Expands through the mid palate and then closes in on the finish, a confident wine where you feel the terroir is pulling the strings not the winemaker. Tasted twice, loved both times." Jane Anson, Best Saint-Emilion Wines Tasted 2020 En Primeur (04/30/2021) Rating: 96
"The 2020 Château Trotte Vieille is an exotic, incredibly perfumed Saint-Emilion that comes from a cooler terroir on the upper plateau. Vivid purple-hued, with a crazy nose of blue fruits, violets, flowers, and graphite, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a pretty, focused texture, ample tannins, and a great finish. I love its elegance and purity on the palate, and it’s a beautiful wine in the making." Jeb Dunnuck, Bordeaux 2020 En Primeur - Part 1 (05/23/2021) Rating: 92-94+
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