It is not often that we have the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine (INAO) to thank for the birth of a new, interesting and exciting domaine. In modern times, such creations are often the work of impassioned individuals, not uncommonly mavericks working on the boundaries of the appellation system, or indeed completely outside it. Nevertheless, the INAO was most certainly responsible for the birth of La Mondotte in the 1990s. Or, to be more specific, it was their handling of a request from the proprietor of the vineyard in question, one Comte Stephan von Neipperg, which was the moment of conception. The end result of this minor regulatory fracas was the creation of an estate which, less than two decades later, turned the accepted order within St Emilion on its head.
This profile details how and why the estate came into being, as well as looking at what makes the vineyards and the wines made here so remarkable. The key players in this story are probably well known to all of us. First though, a little history.
The origins of the estate are not crystal clear, although I do have some information on a number of previous proprietors. As the name might suggest, the estate is located quite close to Château Troplong-Mondot, the secteur of Mondot in St Laurent des Combes being home to both these estates, not to mention neighbours Château Bellevue Mondotte and the lesser-known Château Bellisle-Mondotte. Looking back to the latter years of the late 19th century, there was active viticulture in this secteur, and there were a number of vignerons working the land.
The earliest record dates to 1868, when the authors of Cocks et Féret documented two vignerons at La Mondotte, these being Madame P. Métayer (spelled Mestayer in later editions) and Madame Verneuil, who were respectively turning out at least 10 and 8 tonneaux per annum. This pair remained proprietors in 1874, by which time Madame Verneuil had been widowed, and in 1883. By 1886, however, the Mestayer portion had been acquired by Jean Loizeau (1840 – 1915), while the Veuve Verneuil soldiered on.