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.
This is really spicy and flavorful with a solid core of fruit and chewy tannins that are polished and very long, providing this wine with super structure and tension.
(97-98) points, JamesSuckling.com (May 2021)
A true blockbuster in the vintage is the 2020 La Mondotte, which comes from a tiny 12-acre parcel of limestone soils located near Troplong Mondot, Pavie, and Larcis Ducasse, on the upper limestone plateau. Emerging from the talented team of Stephan von Neipperg and brought up in new barrels, it has a wonderfully pure, clean, medium to full-bodied style offering integrated oak, a straight, focused texture, and incredible purity in its darker berry fruits as well as notes of gravelly earth and liquid violets. It’s common for the wines from the upper plateau to show more perfumed ethereal aromatics (as opposed to more richness from wines on the hillside), and this is incredibly perfumed, elegant, and aromatic while still offering density, structure, and length. It’s going to take 7-8 years to hit maturity, but it should see its 30th birthday in fine form.
(96-98) points, JebDunnuck.com (May 2021)
The 2020 La Mondotte is inky and powerful, but also very much closed in on itself. Inky blue/blackish fruit, spice, lavender, gravel, new leather and coffee all take shape with a bit of air. Like all of Stephan von Neipperg's 2020s, La Mondotte deftly marries textural richness with energy. The result is a deep, potent La Mondotte that has so much to offer. The clean, vibrant finish is a thing of beauty. Superb.
(95-97) points, Vinous (June 2021)
The 2020 La Mondotte does not mess about, delivering a payload of ripe, opulent blackberry, cassis, India ink and figgy scents, exotic but very sensual and managing to retain impressive delineation. The balanced palate presents succulent tannins and a satiny texture. There is real depth to this La Mondotte, yet the acidity keeps it light on its toes, and there is impressive salinity toward the finish. This constitutes one of the finest La Mondotte releases in recent years. Chapeau!
(95-97) points, Vinous (May 2021)
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.