Château La Mondotte is owned by the Counts von Neipperg, an aristocratic family that also owns Clos de l’Oratoire and Château Canon-la-Gaffeliere, all in St.-Emilion. The family purchased the estates in 1971 but it wasn’t until the 1980s that they began improvements at La Mondotte, which is an 11-acre limestone vineyard with legendary terroir. By the mid-1990s La Mondotte was earning high praise from collectors and reviewers. Robert M. Parker Jr. rated the 1997 at 97 pts, and more recent vintages have also been widely acclaimed. La Mondotte is sometimes referred to as a "garagiste" wine because it is extremely high quality, produced in small amounts, and is classified only by its Appellation d’Origine Controlee, which is St.-Emilion. Vineyards are planted to 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc, with vines that are on average 45 years old. About 9,500 bottles are produced each year.
Saint-Émilion is on the east side of the Dordogne River. At 13,400 acres it is one of Bordeaux’s largest appellations, and perhaps its most picturesque. It is also home to what has been called “the garagiste” movement of upstart, tradition-defying winemakers who produce artisanal wines in styles that are unconventional for the appellation. The village of Saint-Émilion dates from the middle ages and it sits on low hills, surrounded by ancient walls. Like its neighbor Pomerol, Saint-Émilion was not included in the famous Bordeaux classification system of 1855. But a century later a ranking system was put in place, and unlike the classification system for the Medoc, the Saint-Émilion system is reviewed every ten years, meaning that estates can be upgraded or downgraded. There are three rankings: Grand Cru Classé, Premier Grand Cru Classé B and Premier Grand Cru Classé A, with the final ranking being the best. Such legendary Saint-Émilion estates as Châteaux Ausone and Cheval-Blanc are Premier Grand Cru Classé A, along with Châteaux Pavie and Angélus, both added to the classification in 2012. Wines in this appellation are primarily Merlot, mixed with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.