About this WINE
Château Tronquoy-Lalande is a 30-hectare estate in St Estèphe on Bordeaux’s Left Bank. The property is owned by the Bouygues family, proprietors of nearby Ch. Montrose. In her book Inside Bordeaux, Jane Anson calls Tronquoy-Lalande “one of the most reliable buys of the appellation.”
The Bouygues family bought Tronquoy-Lalande in 2006. Their portfolio also includes near-neighbour Montrose, Clos Rougeard in Saumur-Champigny and a majority stake in Domaine Henri Rebourseau in Gevrey-Chambertin. Hervé Berland, formerly Managing Director at Ch. Mouton Rothschild, oversees all the estates. Tronquoy-Lalande’s Operations Manager, Yves Delsol, has been here for decades.
The 30-hectare vineyard surrounds the château. Soils here are deep gravel and clay. Plantings are a majority of Merlot (52%), with 39% Cabernet Sauvignon and the balance split between Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.
A new winery was completed here in 2010.
St Estèphe is the northernmost of the most important communes of the Médoc and borders Pauillac on its southernmost border, with only a gully and stream separates it from Ch. Lafite. To the north lies the Bas-Médoc.
St Estèphe is defined by the depth of its gravel, which is ubiquitous but of varying depths and occasionally very shallow, when clay predominates. This keeps the soil cooler and wetter than its counterparts so that the wines can appear fresh in lighter vintages, but superbly successful in hot, dry years.
The best châteaux in the south of the commune have the deepest soil and the thickest gravel. Cos d'Estournel has an exceptional terroir with its vineyards being located on a south-facing ridge of gravel with excellent drainage.
St Estèphe is the least gravelly of main Médoc communes and in the north of the commune the vineyards are heavier and more clay-based leading to a rustic style of wine being produced.
The wines can appear austere in youth with a discernable ferric note at some châteaux, but the best typically display good depth of colour, pronounced acidity an tannins in youth and are exceptionally long-lived. At their best, they are the equal of almost any Bordeaux. The well-regarded St Estèphe co-operative controls the production of about half the appellation.
The most widely planted grape in Bordeaux and a grape that has been on a relentless expansion drive throughout the world in the last decade. Merlot is adaptable to most soils and is relatively simple to cultivate. It is a vigorous naturally high yielding grape that requires savage pruning - over-cropped Merlot-based wines are dilute and bland. It is also vital to pick at optimum ripeness as Merlot can quickly lose its varietal characteristics if harvested overripe.
In St.Emilion and Pomerol it withstands the moist clay rich soils far better than Cabernet grapes, and at it best produces opulently rich, plummy clarets with succulent fruitcake-like nuances. Le Pin, Pétrus and Clinet are examples of hedonistically rich Merlot wines at their very best. It also plays a key supporting role in filling out the middle palate of the Cabernet-dominated wines of the Médoc and Graves.