2018 Chateau Troplong-Mondot

Year: 2018
Appellation: Saint-Emilion
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 95-98
Wine Advocate: 93-95+
Vinous Media: 94-97
James Suckling: 97-98
Jeb Dunnuck: 94-96--Wine Enthusiast: 95-97--Jeff Leve: 96-98
Red Wine


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"This offers a lovely display of boysenberry, cherry and plum fruit, yet stays refined and focused, relying on purity as this glides through. Has weight but feels silky, with a flinty mineral hint adding cut on the finish. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Drink now. Score range: 95-98 — JM" (WS)

"The 2018 Troplong Mondot is blended of 85% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc, with 14.5% alcohol and a pH of 3.56. Deep garnet-purple in color, it begins slowly with bold, bright black raspberries, ripe black plums, fresh blackberries and Morello cherries notes, giving way to underlying scents of tobacco, wild sage, Sichuan pepper, black olives, truffles and Marmite toast with hints of crushed stones and iron ore. Medium to full-bodied, the palate offers wonderfully fresh, energetic black fruit with a downright racy line of freshness (uncommon for this vintage) and firm, rounded tannins, finishing long with lots of mineral, earth and dried herbs layers giving beautiful electric sparks.

It’s always difficult to know how people are going to respond to change. There are those that embrace change for the sake of it, others who run for the comfort and safety of the familiar. And there are a lot of folks who use change to validate their own views, for or against.

Aymeric de Gironde was the talk of Saint-Émilion last September, when his pickers marched into the vineyards on September 7th and began harvesting. It was a good week before anyone else was ready to even think about picking. There was no rain on the horizon. Was he insane? This was Troplong Mondot, after all. That’s right: big, rich, so-ripe-you-could-stand-a-spoon-up-in-it Troplong Mondot. He may have just come from some chichi glitzy château over in the Médoc, but who did he think he was?

“If you pick early, you can get precision and the aromatic typicity of this region,” de Gironde told me. “We began picking on September 7th, and 70% of the harvest was done in a week and a half. Then we waited about a month for the Cabernets. This year was a question of choices. Not every year do you have the choice of what to do. This year we could make a choice based on our beliefs. I was looking for purity of aromatics. I was a little afraid because the skins were quite thick. I think I could have waited until Christmas and they wouldn’t have moved. During the growing season, we kept a lot of leaf canopy to protect the grapes from the sun. There was nearly no de-leafing this year. We did very little green harvesting. We left a lot of grapes on the vine. And then in the winery we used no SO2 until the wine was put into barrel. This was scary because you have to protect against oxygen, but I think it worked this year.”

I had, of course, heard most of this through the rumor mill before I visited Troplong Mondot to taste the 2018. So, I was prepared. Nonetheless, it was a bit like meeting up with a friend a year later and seeing that they’d lost 80 pounds and chopped their waist-long hair into a pixie. It’s still your friend, but oh man have they changed!

The wine is good. It’s better than good; it’s outstanding. I don’t think the transformation here is complete yet, but the path has been firmly set. Rather than the opulent spices, fruit preserves and plush unctuousness that Troplong Mondot has become known for, fans of this estate can expect brighter, crunchier black fruit, loads of earth, savory and mineral nuances and a tauter structure with compelling freshness. The new style will not be for everyone. Some lovers of the “old style” may well go elsewhere. And that’s OK. Today’s maturing wine world continues to branch out into more and more stylistic preferences. Great wine like this will find a market. " (WA)

"The 2018 Troplong Mondot is a remarkable wine. All the elements fall into place in a stunning, aromatically intense Troplong Mondot that is full of character. There is a level of precision and vibrancy in the 2018 that is simply breathtaking. Black cherry, raspberry, mocha, flowers, mint and spice all meld together in this captivating, arrestingly beautiful Saint-Émilion. New oak is 60%, with lower toast levels than what was common just a few years ago. The blend is 85% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc." (VM)

"The focus to this wine sets a new standard for Troplong Mondot with density and minerality that I have not encountered for decades. Lots of slate and white-pepper character. Tight and very dense. Full body. Balanced. Wild mineral character and freshness here. Precise." (JS)

"Deeper colored, the 2018 Troplong Mondot is a blend of 85% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2% Cabernet Franc brought up in 60% new French oak. Its vivid purple color is followed by a beautiful perfume of black raspberries, cassis, crushed flowers, and beautiful earthy minerality. Medium to full-bodied, ultra-pure, balanced on the palate, it has a beautiful chalky minerality on the finish. While the style has changed dramatically with the arrival of Aymeric de Gironde, the quality is nevertheless world-class." (JD)

"95–97. Barrel Sample. The tannins are beautifully integrated into this velvet-textured wine. It has density and richness allied to concentration. At the same time, it has kept wonderful freshness and acidity to give it fine lift. The aging potential is obvious." (WE)

"Full-bodied, lush, ripe and rich, the wine is concentrated as well as refined. The purity in the fruit stands out as one of the key points in its character. There is a richness and vivacity to the wine that works on the palate and in the luscious, silky finish. The wine was produced from a blend of 85% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc, reaching 14.5% alcohol. The harvest took place September 7 to October 9. Yields were 49 hectoliters per hectare and the wine is aging in 60% new, French oak. Interestingly, Troplong Mondot now makes the final blend in January -- after the vintage. " (JL)