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

La Mondotte: From Rags to Riches

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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