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Château Tronquoy-Lalande 2017

Château Tronquoy-Lalande 2017

Château Tronquoy-Lalande is an estate I discovered through its association with a much more renowned château, it being in the same ownership as Château Montrose. The proprietors are the Bouygues brothers, who bought both properties in 2006.

Not for them the usual route into the region, getting a foot in the door with a minor property before stepping up to buy the classed growth estate next door, à la Gérard Perse at Château Pavie (who started with Château Monbousquet), or Jacky Lorenzetti at Château Pédesclaux (he bought Château Lilian Ladouys first). Olivier and Martin Bouygues snapped up Château Montrose first, in April 2006, adding neighbouring Château Tronquoy-Lalande to their portfolio in October.

Of course, I suspect half my readers are better associated with the Bouygues family as the new proprietors of Clos Rougeard, the leading estate in Saumur-Champigny, which they acquired in 2017. But that’s a story for another time.

Château Tronquoy-Lalande 2017

Since taking on Château Tronquoy-Lalande the new owners have lavished it with attention, kicking off with a three-year €10-million renovation of the château and facilities, with a focus on the latter, including a new cuverie, new equipment including a press and an array of thermoregulated stainless steel vats, and new barrel cellars. The winemaking is overseen by Yves Delsol, and the results of his work, combined with this investment, are tangible in the wines today.

The 2017 vintage was a complicated one for Bordeaux, with very heterogeneous quality, a consequence of the frost. Those properties protected from the icy air, namely those with altitude (on the highest points in St Emilion and Pomerol) or a favourable local climate (along the banks of the Gironde), were protected, and many produced excellent wines. Elsewhere the story was much more variable, and quality was hard-won, the product of extra work in the vineyard identifying and marking out the frosted vines, and a meticulous selection at harvest time.

The official line at Château Tronquoy-Lalande is that the estate escaped the frost entirely, nevertheless it is clear that the 2017 Château Tronquoy-Lalande is not cut from the same cloth as the best vintages here, which include 2018, 2016, 2014 (which was stronger up here in St Estèphe than it was elsewhere on the Médoc) and 2010. Freshly decanted, it has a modest depth of colour, somewhat concentrated at its core, with a cherry crimson rim. Aromatically it has moved on a little from my last tasting a couple of years ago, now displaying a warm sense of degradation to the curranty fruits, spiced with notes of dried cranberry, rosehips and chalk dust. There follows a quite taut style on the palate, cool and acid-fresh, medium-bodied but confidently framed by the acidity and a quickly fading frame of soft, lightly chalky tannins which feels as though they are close to resolution. With its pretty cranberry and rose fruits this is drinking quite well now, although I suspect it will improve in bottle for another few years, and will remain fresh for a few more after that. The declared alcohol is 13.5%. 90/100 (10/1/22)

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