2023 Château Trotte Vieille, St Emilion, Bordeaux

2023 Château Trotte Vieille, St Emilion, Bordeaux

Product: 20231015968
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2023 Château Trotte Vieille, St Emilion, Bordeaux

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Blend: 53% Cabernet Franc; 44% Merlot; 3% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Trotte Vieille’s calling card is old-vine Cabernet Franc, with some dating back to pre-Phylloxera. The estate makes one extraordinary cuvée from the oldest vines; just 135 bottles are produced (though never yet sold), with the rest added to this wine. There is no doubting the progress here since the new cellars in 2021. This wine is exceptionally perfumed, with sweet violet and iris. The vines are in the heart of St Emilion’s astéries limestone, whose energy lifts the final palate with a floral, herbal character of tarragon and fennel. This is complex and very interesting.

Drink 2032 - 2052

Our score: 17/20

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Critics reviews

Neal Martin, Vinous92-94/100

The 2023 Trotte Vieille has quite a floral bouquet, with plenty of raspberry and crushed strawberry fruit and hints of potpourri emerging with time. The palate is medium-bodied with sapid red fruit and fine structure. Though it doesn't possess the sheer horsepower and length of the previous vintage, it has an animated, peppery finish that lingers in the mouth. Proprietor Frédéric Castèja actually prefers this to the 2022, and I can see why.

Drink 2027 - 2047

Neal Martin, Vinous.com (April 2024)

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Antonio Galloni, Vinous93-95/100

The 2023 Trotte Vieille is a seriously impressive wine. Dark, resonant and explosive, the 2023 packs a huge punch. A blast of dark fruit, herbs, menthol, spice and licorice saturates the palate, with pretty floral and savory notes that play off all that richness. Superb.

Drink 2030 - 2053

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (April 2024)

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Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW96-98+/100

The 2023 Trotte Vieille is deep garnet-purple in color. The first impression is WOW! It prances out of the glass with showy notes of ripe black plums, mulberries, and blackberry pie followed by hints of candied violets, cedar chest, cinnamon stick, and clove oil. The medium to full-bodied palate delivers electric tension, with super-fine satiny-smooth tannins and intense black fruit and baking spice layers, finishing long and fragrant. Along with the 2022, this is the best Trotte Vieille I've tasted.

The blend is 53% Cabernet Franc, 44% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, with an alcohol of 13.5%. “The new vat room was finished in 2021 for Trotte Vieille,” commented owner Frédéric Castéja. “This made a big difference to what we could achieve this year. The aim was to respect the fruit, keep the freshness, and make wines that are not too tannic and aggressive when young. This is the opposite of the wines from the 1990s.”

Drink 2029 - 2055

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent (April 2024)

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James Suckling98-99/100

Wow, this is really something. It is full and powerful with truly impressive depth of fruit. Yet, it remains agile and structural, with flexed muscles, balanced by a sense of floating. Well defined and poised. 53% cabernet franc, 44% merlot, and 3% cabernet. Will it be better than 2022?

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (April 2024)

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Dark nose, such a TrotteVieille signature scent. Fragrant, spiced blackcurrant, deeply scented and heady notes on the nose. Structured and supple, this has energy and movement but with a layered structure and filling texture, so precise but it’s the texture that captivates - nothing harsh, not too tart or too acidic, round and plump but not overly plush with a soft chew to the tannins, this is fabulous!

Gorgeous purity and precision and an elegant length. Well balanced with a gorgeous lick of minerality and saltiness. Supremely stylish, feels complete but just toned down a notch, and all the better for it.

100% new oak. Quite accomplished. 3.4-3.5pH.

Drink 2034 - 2048

Georgina Hindle, Decanter (April 2024)

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About this WINE

Chateau Trotte Vieille

Chateau Trotte Vieille

A 1er Grand Cru Classé (B) St. Emilion château which has been owned by the négociant house Borie-Manoux since 1949. The company also owns Château Batailley in Pauillac and Château Beau Site in St-Estèphe and is now run by Philippe Castéja. Trotte Vieille (the trotting old lady) refers to the legend of an old woman who lived here in the 18th century and spent her time trotting around in search of local gossip.

The property is located on a plateau east of St-Emilion and the 10-hectare walled vineyard is planted with Merlot (50%), Cabernet Franc (45%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (5%). The grapes are hand-harvested and then fermented in small, temperature-controlled concrete vats. The wine is matured in oak barriques (80% new) for 18 months. It is bottled unfiltered.

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St Émilion

St Émilion

St Émilion is one of Bordeaux's largest producing appellations, producing more wine than Listrac, Moulis, St Estèphe, Pauillac, St Julien and Margaux put together. St Emilion has been producing wine for longer than the Médoc but its lack of accessibility to Bordeaux's port and market-restricted exports to mainland Europe meant the region initially did not enjoy the commercial success that funded the great châteaux of the Left Bank. 

St Émilion itself is the prettiest of Bordeaux's wine towns, perched on top of the steep limestone slopes upon which many of the region's finest vineyards are situated. However, more than half of the appellation's vineyards lie on the plain between the town and the Dordogne River on sandy, alluvial soils with a sprinkling of gravel. 

Further diversity is added by a small, complex gravel bed to the north-east of the region on the border with Pomerol.  Atypically for St Émilion, this allows Cabernet Franc and, to a lesser extent, Cabernet Sauvignon to prosper and defines the personality of the great wines such as Ch. Cheval Blanc.  

In the early 1990s there was an explosion of experimentation and evolution, leading to the rise of the garagistes, producers of deeply-concentrated wines made in very small quantities and offered at high prices.  The appellation is also surrounded by four satellite appellations, Montagne, Lussac, Puisseguin and St. Georges, which enjoy a family similarity but not the complexity of the best wines.

St Émilion was first officially classified in 1954, and is the most meritocratic classification system in Bordeaux, as it is regularly amended. The most recent revision of the classification was in 2012

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Merlot/Cabernet Franc

Merlot/Cabernet Franc

Merlot and Cabernet Franc are grape varieties commonly used in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in the Bordeaux region of France. When these two grapes are blended, they can create a wine that combines the best characteristics of each variety.

Merlot is known for its smoothness, soft tannins, and ripe fruit flavours. It often contributes black cherry, plum, and chocolate flavours to the blend. The grapes are relatively easy to grow and ripen earlier than other Bordeaux varieties, making them versatile for blending.

Cabernet Franc, on the other hand, adds structure, depth, and complexity to the blend. It typically brings aromas of red fruits such as raspberry and strawberry, along with herbal notes like bell pepper and tobacco. These grapes have thinner skins and can be more challenging to cultivate, requiring specific growing conditions to reach their full potential.

When Merlot and Cabernet Franc are combined, the result is a well-balanced wine with various flavours and aromas. The blend often exhibits a Bordeaux wine's medium to full body, along with a smooth texture and moderate tannins. The specific flavour profile can vary depending on the proportions of each grape in the blend and the terroir and winemaking techniques employed.

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