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Bordeaux 2022 Primeurs: St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé

Bordeaux 2022 Primeurs: St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé

We are dealing with a very different landscape in this appellation in the 2022 vintage, the St Emilion pack having been lightly (or dramatically, depending on your point of view) reshuffled with the 2022 classification. This is most evident here, in the first of my three 2022 St Emilion instalments, which brings together my notes on all the premier grand cru classé wines.

While there were no promotions to this tier of the classification, in 2022 four have departed. Both Château Ausone and Château Cheval Blanc declined to submit a dossier, effectively bowing out of the classification which they have jointly headed up since 1955, entirely unchallenged until the 2012 iteration when they were joined on the top tier by Château Angélus and Château Pavie. They were soon followed by one of these recently promoted properties, the proprietors of Château Angélus choosing to also leave the classification. Finally, there came the departure of Château La Gaffelière, which was clearly set to be demoted, but proprietor Alexandre de Malet-Roquefort decided his lack of faith in the process precluded continuing at the grand cru classé level, and he too bid farewell.

This leaves my notes below headed up by the newly promoted (from ‘B’ to ‘A’) Château Figeac and the sole survivor from the 2012 classification, Château Pavie. Nevertheless I shall turn first to Château Troplong-Mondot. My visit here offered everything a good primeurs tasting should. A handy parking space for Twingo, complete with parking attendant who communicated solely through pointing. At least up until the point he asked my name, which was confusing as he did not appear to have a list of appointments to hand against which he might check it. Either he had memorised the entire schedule for the day, or he was just waiting for Neal Martin or Jancis Robinson to arrive, perhaps to get their autographs. My money’s on the latter.

St Emilion 2022

Then, on the walk through the cellars, a red carpet, a warm welcome at the end of it (not quite Mouton-Rothschild level, but getting there), and then a meeting with manager Aymeric de Gironde, complete with maps, banter and gossip. And finally, at the end of it all, I took one of the estate’s miniature electric Land Rovers for a spin, recording a time around a makeshift race track/obstacle course, set up outside the cellars for primeurs visitors, of just over 30 seconds. To be honest I was fairly disappointed with the time, and not even the conciliatory “if you had come mid-morning, that would have been our third-best time” could shift my despondency. After all, mid-morning I would probably have been only the third visitor/competitor.

Oh, and somewhere in the middle of all that, I did also taste the 2022 Troplong-Mondot barrel sample.

I turn to this property first because without a doubt Château Troplong-Mondot wins the ‘most improved’ Winedoctor award, which is an award I invented about two minutes ago.

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