2017 La Mondotte, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Bottle (750ml) JS97/WS97
2018 La Mondotte, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Bottle (750ml) JS98/RP97+

La Mondotte: The Powerhouse Rebel of the Right Bank

The Anomaly

La Mondotte is somewhat of an anomaly in St-Émilion having found their distinct voice in defiance of bureaucratic snubbery. In 1996, the INAO halted Stephan von Neipperg’s plan to fold this small property in with the family-owned Château Canon-la-Gaffliere. The latter estate had been classified as Premier Grand Cru Classé B, but La Mondotte had not yet proven its worth. Not only would La Mondotte rise to meet the challenge, but it would eventually earn its own distinct recognition as one of only 12 châteaux to rank as Classé B. During this transformation, the estate gained worldwide attention by bucking local trends – dropping the term “Château” from their name, never bothering with a 2nd label – and propelling their reinvented style into a wholly modern era.

The plush and opulent wines of La Mondotte are a reflection of the “garagiste” movement, a trend in the 1990s that allowed small production houses to apply modern techniques for a more extracted, sleek expression. Contemporaries such as Le Pin and Valandraud (the latter also earning Classé B) led the movement and La Mondotte furthered the conversation with its lasting appeal. Despite the predictable push back from traditionalists, wine critics fell head-over-heels, drawing international attention to the humble Right Bank. The frothy excitement has since returned mostly to normalcy, but these wines remain as polished and enticing as ever. While La Mondotte is considered by most a “garage wine,” with only 5 hectares of vineyards and applying 100% new oak to every year’s harvest, their consistent power and expressiveness may also be a simple reflection of vine age, ranging from 65 to 100 years old, with some even on original rootstock!

2017 & 2018 Vintages

La Mondotte’s wines continue to earn high scores from critics with the release of each new vintage. 2017 may have been challenging in the vineyard with frost reduced production, the quality remained unscathed. Reviewers admired the 2017 La Mondotte for its interlacing of dark fruit and mineral appeal, with Wine Spectator honing in on “lush, dark plum, cassis and fig […] backed by contrasting waves of grippy tobacco and licorice snap.” 2018 threw its own set of curveballs, but the wines have likewise shown beautifully with very serious aging potential.

Written by Victoria O'Bryan


In the late 1990s, La Mondotte burst onto the wine scene, gaining instant acclaim with a helping hand from Robert Parker's glowing 97-point review. Parker immediately dubbed it a “super-star” and that “If readers cannot get excited by tasting the 1996, they should change beverages.” The wine's meteoric rise to fame can be traced back to the Bordeaux "garagiste" movement, where audacious producers challenged conventional winemaking norms, crafting opulent, concentrated wines aged in new oak sourced from small vineyards. These limited-quantity wines earned favorable reviews, attaining a cult-like status, ultimately placing La Mondotte firmly in the spotlight.

The Fearless Leader

The driving force behind La Mondotte's transformation from obscurity to highly coveted is Stephan von Neipperg. Familiar with St-Emilion due to his ownership of Chateau Canon la Gaffeliere and other right bank Chateaux, Stephan initially aimed to merge the vineyards of La Mondotte and Canon la Gaffeliere. However, the proposal was denied by the INAO, leading Neipperg to chart a different path towards turning La Mondotte into the powerhouse it is today.

In 1971, Stephan von Neipperg's family acquired the property of La Mondotte. However, it wasn't until 1996 that Stephan produced his first wine there, as his attention was initially directed towards Chateau Canon la Gaffeliere. Stephan diligently set about transforming La Mondotte's vineyards by adopting biodynamic practices, with the aim of establishing a self-sustaining and organically farmed vineyard. By 2014, La Mondotte's dedication to sustainability was rewarded with a prestigious 100% organic certification.

Doing More With Less

While La Mondotte's wines and winemaking facilities may be relatively new, the vineyards narrate a tale of age and legacy. A collection of old vines, some dating back to 1939, grace the estate, with an average age of 50 years. Rooted in St-Emilion's limestone soils, these old vines infuse the wines with a unique mineral character. Hailing from a modest 11-acre parcel, La Mondotte's wines are concentrated, rich, and powerful, eloquently demonstrating the heights of quality that can be achieved with uncompromising dedication.

The mastermind behind maximizing the vineyard's potential is the esteemed oenologist, Stephane Derenoncourt. By reducing yields and introducing new oak, Derenoncourt significantly contributed to La Mondotte's overnight success. This remarkable ascent within St-Emilion's classification system, from unranked to Premier Grand Cru Classe B, stands as a testament to Stephan von Neipperg's unwavering commitment to La Mondotte and the evolution of its vineyards.

Rising to the Top

La Mondotte stands as one of the brightest stars on the right bank, instrumental in defining Bordeaux's "garagiste" movement. Its remarkable rise to prominence serves as a compelling case study on how greatness can be achieved with minimal resources. Yet, at the core of La Mondotte's success lies Stephan von Neipperg's passion and dedication to producing world-class wines. With a history of transforming vineyards into exceptional estates, the Neipperg family's expertise shines through in every bottle of La Mondotte.

If you have yet to explore the richness, density, and layers of La Mondotte's wines and the essence of the "garagiste" movement, now is the time to discover what they offer. For veteran collectors and connoisseurs, La Mondotte remains an iconic presence in St-Emilion, deserving of a cherished spot in the cellars of every Bordeaux aficionado. This quintessential St-Emilion garage wine beckons all wine lovers seeking a full-bodied, intensely concentrated, and strikingly pure drinking experience. Immerse yourself in the beauty of La Mondotte and join the ranks of those captivated by its enigmatic charm.

Written by: Craig Headding

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