Bordeaux 2023: Troplong Mondot and Haut Bailly

11 June 2024

Knockout Clarets

Today’s main event is another knock out right-bank, left-bank combination. Representing St Emilion, we have the most improved château in Bordeaux, the imperious Troplong Mondot. Under the stewardship of Aymeric de Gironde, Troplong has discovered a finesse and sophistication few thought possible.

This former super-heavyweight has trimmed down to cruiserweight; it still packs quite a punch but is now all refinement and charm with silky tannins and vibrant, refreshing fruit. The 2023 is another absolute belter!

Over in the Pessac corner of Bordeaux we have a red-hot challenger in the form of Haut Bailly. Under the watchful eye of Véronique Sanders, this much-loved chateau has elevated through the ranks and now vies for the undisputed champion of the appellation. 2023 is clearly a contender for the finest wine we’ve tasted from this great estate. The benefits of the new cellars are evident in the precision and delineation of flavours and the exquisite tannic profile. Neal Martin describes the 2023 as “outstanding”.

For us it’s a split decision, both Troplong Mondot and Haut Bailly are worthy champions. To place an order, please contact your account manager or follow the links below.

Troplong Mondot

“A blend of 84% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Cabernet Franc, the 2023 Troplong Mondot unwinds in the glass with aroma of black raspberries, mulberries and cherries mingled with notions of iris, licorice, black tea and spices. Medium to full-bodied, deep and layered, it's textural and mouthfilling, with the mid-palate density so typical of this terroir, its concentrated core of fruit framed by beautifully polished tannins and succulent acids.

As I've written before, it's hard to think of any estate in contemporary Bordeaux that has witnessed a revolution more profound than that effected by Aymeric de Gironde at Troplong Mondot since his arrival here just after the 2017 harvest. The château itself sits at the peak of a dome of clay (known to geologists as molasses de l'Agenais) some 11-12 meters thick that has never been eroded away, and it's the vines that grow here that represent the heart of Troplong Mondot. These clays were compacted, so one of de Gironde's first initiatives was to work to undo that, ploughing by horse and employing cover crops. But Troplong's vineyards aren't limited to this dome: they encompass a range of altitudes from 40 to 110 meters above sea level, ranging onto the plateau toward the town of Saint-Émilion and almost to its edge to the south, obligating a broad window of harvesting dates, with greater attention paid to avoiding over-ripeness. Other evolutions have occurred in the winery and cellar: malolactic fermentation now completes in tank instead of in barrel, and the percentage of new oak is much reduced and, more importantly, less impactful in profile. All of which has brought new aromatic range and textural finesse and, above all, better balance to wines that, in trying to push the boundaries, in the past tended to exceed them. Having tasted Troplong Mondot back to 1959 over the years, I can attest that this site, well-farmed, is never going to produce light, ephemeral wines: power can be taken for granted. What's less self-evident is to render that power with finesse. Troplong Mondot's recent run of vintages has consistently achieved just that.”95-97/100, William Kelley, Wine Advocate, April 2024

Haut Bailly

“The 2023 Haut-Bailly was picked from September 11 to 29 at 40.5hL/ha. It is being raised in 50% new oak for a planned 14 months, plus another three in vats. Véronique Sanders told me that there is 6% vin de presse in the blend this year. This has a beguiling bouquet that instantly switches on a metaphorical neon sign that announces you are in the presence of a very serious wine. Extremely pure and delineated, the nose presents aromas of blackberry mixed with wild strawberry, cedar and light sous-bois. It's much more classical in style compared to the 2022. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grained tannins that frame the blackberry, raspberry, cedar and graphite-infused fruit. It boasts more grip and persistency on the finish than its peers, with a residual subtle pinch of black pepper. This ranks as one of the standout wines in Pessac-Léognan, perhaps in Bordeaux itself. Outstanding.”96-98/100, Neal Martin, vinous.com, April 2024

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