Joseph-Hubert von Neipperg bought Clos de l’Oratoire, Château La Mondotte, and Château Canon la Gaffelière in 1971. However, it wasn’t until his son, Stefan von Neipperg arrived in Saint-Émilion in 1985 that the quality of the wines began to improve dramatically, beginning with Canon la Gaffelière.
In 1995, at the renamed 4.45ha La Mondotte von Neipperg—convinced that the limestone/clay terroir could produce great wine—began dramatically reducing yields. Together with the little-known winemaker Stéphane Derenoncourt, he began making small quantities of what has become one of Bordeaux's most sought after wines. These days they have cut back on the 100% new oak and this certified organic 80% Merlot / 20% Cabernet Franc wine made from 60-year-old vines has never been better.
'The 2016 La Mondotte is gorgeous in this vintage. Over the last few years, Stephan von Neipperg has gradually started to pick earlier. Nowhere is that more evident in his wines than at La Mondotte, which in 2016 impresses for its power, tension and energy. Much less obvious than it has been in the past, La Mondotte is arrestingly beautiful at this stage. Bright floral and mineral notes run through a core of dark red and purplish fruit in this stunningly beautiful, expressive Saint-Émilion. In a word: tremendous. Tasted two times. 2021-2041'
97 points, Antonio Galloni
"The 2016 La Mondotte was aged in 70% new oak for 17 months and bottled in May 2018. The nose flirts with overripeness, hints of canned prune tincturing the black fruit, but just pulls back from the brink. There is something slightly ripasso about it. The palate is medium-bodied, rounded and sumptuous in style, delivering lush tannin and black cherries and cassis fruit infused with marmalade and sloes. This is a luscious, luxurious La Mondotte, although I prefer the Canon-la-Gaffelière this year. 2022-2035"
93 Points, Vinous
"So much black truffle and blueberry on the nose. Decadent and aromatic. Wet soil. Indian ink. Full-bodied, polished and so velvety with fantastic depth of fruit and ripe tannins, yet powerful and fresh. Slightly minerally and salty underneath."
97 Points, JamesSuckling.com
St.-Émilion is the star of Bordeaux’s Right Bank, north of the Dordogne River. The rich red wines produced in St.-Émilion, based on Merlot and Cabernet Franc, are less tannic and generally more fruit-driven in flavour than the Cabernet-based wines of Left Bank. Merlot thrives on the plateaus high above the Dordogne, where the soil is filled with sand and clay, a perfect medium for creating opulent, fruit-forward wines. With a typically savoury character, St.-Émilion wines are sometimes called the “Burgundies of Bordeaux.” These refined reds, with loads of finesse, are elegant companions to beef, chicken, pork and duck.
The wines of St.-Émilion were not included in the famous 1855 classification of Bordeaux, which ranked wines of the Left Bank. In 1955, St.-Émilion published its own classification, based on soil analysis, wine quality and reputation of the properties. Unlike the 1855 classification, St.-Emilion’s system requires properties to continuously prove themselves. The list is revised regularly, most recently in 2012. There are two tiers within the classification, Premier Grand Cru Classé and Grand Cru Classé. There are currently just 18 Premier Grand Cru properties and 64 Grand Cru Classé properties.
The St.-Émilion appellation is home to hundreds of individual producers, enhancing the variety of wines made there. Many of the properties remain small, family-run enterprises, unlike the large châteaux of the Left Bank. The area is also the base of France’s controversial micro-châteaux or garagiste wine movement; these innovative winemakers operate outside the traditional classification system, making very high quality (and very expensive) highly extracted wines.