ChâteauTroplong-Mondot was elevated to Premier Grand Cru of the St.-Emilion appellation in 2006. With almost 70 acres, the estate is one of the largest in St.-Emilion, on the right bank of the Gironde River that bisects Bordeaux. The vineyards are on a steep hillside that rises to 100 meters, and the soils are a thick limestone layer under dense clay. The château itself was built in the 18th century though it takes part of its name from Raymond Troplong, who acquired it in 1850 and continued the estate’s reputation for making excellent wine. Today the estate is owned by the Valette family, which also owns Château Pavie, adjacent to the Troplong-Mondot estate. The vineyards are planted to 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. About 90,000 bottles of Château Troplong-Mondot are produced annually. The estate also makes a second wine, simply called Mondot, which typically wins compliments from reviewers. Up to 30,000 bottles of Mondot are produced annually.
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.