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Château Troplong-Mondot 1994

Troplong-MondotLast weeks wine, the 1989 Roederer, was a moment of indulgence. I suppose this week's wine could be described in the same manner, although in a way it also fits in with one of my original aims for my Weekend Wine feature. My original intent was to include some very young wines in my weekly tasting schedule, wines which I had just received into my cellar. At the time I was thinking particularly of the 2003 Clos des Papes, about which there was more than a little controversy; some felt it was one of the greatest wines out of Châteauneuf du Pape in recent times, whilst others thought it an alcoholic and raisined monstrosity. I still have an unopened six-pack lying in the cellar, so I suppose with regards to my intentions for that particular wine, I have failed.

The 1994 vintage from Troplong-Mondot might not be quite as recently released as the 2003 Clos des Papes, but nevertheless it is a wine recently arrived in my cellar. Purchased at auction only a couple of months ago, seven bottles are still lying on the floor of the cellar waiting to be stacked away. The eight bottle, however, has been standing up waiting for a suitable moment. With last night's roast lamb, that time had come.

Troplong-MondotThe 1994 Troplong-Mondot was one of ten wines from the estate tasted not that long ago by the committee reviewing the St Emilion classification, who examined the 1993 - 2002 vintages. The result of the tasting was that Troplong-Mondot was elevated to the position of Premier Grand Cru Classé, although as all Bordeaux drinkers know the classification was subsequently nullified following a legal challenge, an event I have previously covered on this site, in fashions both serious and rather more tongue-in-cheek. There are also some positive reviews of the wine to be found on a number of blogs and fora, so I was hoping for something good. The wine has a very darkly coloured core, having a red-black hue which extends almost all the way out to the rim, which still has a deep colour. The nose is at first reserved and claretty, with notes of violets and iron, in a rather pure, dusty-powdery style. There is a very good weight on the palate, the wine showing a gentle fleshiness and substance behind a layer of floral flavour. Underneath it all, a slightly harsh, bitter structure, a firm tannic grip and forthright acidity. But there is substance to balance it out, and a good, savoury character. There isn't a lot of length at the finish, but there is plenty of grip. It isn't a blockbuster, but the composition is good and it is certainly approachable now, especially with roast lamb (or similar), but it will also improve over the next five to ten years I think. I certainly do not think I will have any trouble drinking my other bottles. 17+/20 (5/11/07)

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