Christine Valette-Pariente sadly passed away last year. She and her late husband transformed this estate, famed for its imposing water tower on the limestone Cote above Chateau Pavie. The house style is 'massive' and the 2014 is true to form. Inky coloured, introspective, hugely mineral and brooding. This is one of Jean-Philippe Fort's most extreme wines. Dark cassis fruit gums, chocolate, truffle, liquorice and stones on the palate. It is initially impressive, but the rather massive tannins tend to dominate. If the tannins resolve it could be an striking wine.
Alexandre Valette, a Parisian vintner, bought the estate crafted by Raymond Troplong. He already owned Château La France in Fronsac and would soon acquire Château Pavie. In 1980 Alexandre’s great grand daughter, Christine, took over the estate and was joined, 10 years later, by her husband, Xavier Pariente. Together they continue to improve and embellish the vineyard, cellar and chateau. This hard work and their efforts proved worthwhile when in 2006 Troplong Mondot was awarded 1er Grand Cru Classé status. Troplong-Mondot overlooks the whole of Saint-Émilion and with its thirty-three (33) hectares, it is one of the biggest estates in the appellation of Saint-Émilion. Generally the soil of Saint-Émilion is clay and limestone based but Troplong Mondot is lucky enough to have special silex and chalk sediments which help to give the wine its lustrous hue and its rich concentration. The vineyard is managed in the traditional manner and neither weed killers, chemical fertilisers nor insecticides are used. These wines are powerful and well-structured with rich complex tannins, which open with time to deep aromas of truffle and blackberry.
St-Émilion is a very different region to those of the Médoc, dominated by small-holding farmers and estates rather than grand Châteaux. Merlot is widely planted as is Cabernet Franc in some parts. The wines are enormously variable in style depending on the terroir, the grape variety make-up and winemaking style. Loosely the region is divided between the limestone Côtes, Graves or gravelly limestone plateau or the sandy alluvial soils nearer the Dordogne. Traditionally Médoc wines were trade from Bordeaux and St Emilions from Libourne so they have their own classification system separate to that of 1855. The classification is revised every ten years and falls into four categories, St Emilion, St Emilion Grand Cru, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé and St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé
Most of the district's best properties are either on the steep, clay-limestone hillsides immediately below the town or on a gravelly section of the plateau west of St Emilion itself abutting Pomerol. There are several high profile estates in the region, including Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Figeac, Le Dôme, Valandraud and Pavie.