England’s own Neil Martin is fast becoming one of the most important members of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate stable. This year he released his long awaited concisely name book Pomerol, a definitive guide to the unclassified and often difficult to understand world-famous appellation.
Serendipitously, Neil Martin was present at a UK vertical tasting of Trotanoy from 1934-1998 and for those of you who subscribe to the Wine Advocate this is available to view, published on August 23rd 2013. While Petrus is the acme of Pomerol and perhaps the whole of Bordeaux, it appears from the tasting that Trotanoy is close behind, ageing no less gracefully and by Martin’s admission “Venerable, legit Trotanoy is extraordinarily hard to track down, I would say more difficult than Pétrus and perhaps even Lafleur… and before you ask, no, there is bugger all in the château’s reserves.” Highlights of the tasting were the 95 points 1947, 98 scoring 1955, 98 scoring 1964, 97 scoring 1975 and the 96 scoring 1982 (Neil Martin).
Trotanoy’s vineyard is 7.2 hectares, planted 90% with Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, with an annual production of 25,000 bottles. It is globally sort after and as published officially by Parker, who remains the final word on Bordeaux, the 2009 and 2010 are their highest ever scoring wines. Indeed, despite them being young, only bottled in the last one and two years respectively there is already very little in the market and few would bet against these twin vintages becoming timeless legends; Trotanoy taken on empirical evidence could last 70 years in the bottle. We have sourced three half cases of the 98+ scoring 2009 “I don’t know what the 1961 Trotanoy tasted like in its youth, but the 2009 unquestionably surpasses the 1982 (which was the finest effort since the 1961) and eclipses anything made since” and four half cases of the 98 scoring 2010 “Think of this wine  as the 1998 on steroids!” Neil Martin.
Chateau Trotanoy garnered acclaim under its former name Trop Ennuie, which makes reference to the soil as hard to cultivate. It was first planted in 1761, owned through its infancy by the Giraud family. Trop Ennuie can be translated along the lines of ‘too much to bother with’ largely referring to the terroir that defines it today, made up of rich clay and gravel soils, with subtle deposits of iron. It is situated near Petrus, Lafleur, with Le Pin to the south east and Hosanna to the north. Its best terroir is found on the Pomerol plateau, with other fragments found on surrounding slopes. The average age of the vines range from small parcels of 25 years, (owing to some replanting) combined with older vines that are around 60 years of age. In 1953 the vineyards we bought by the owners of Petrus, Jean-Pierre Moueix, from the Pecresse family who were direct descendants of the Giraud’s.
The 2009 and 2010 are wines to savour, their true potential is yet to develop and will possibly be the jewel in the crown of Trotanoy’s legacy. They, like all great vintages of Trotanoy boast a unique purity of fruit, combined with subtlety and balance. The wines see 40-50% new oak for 18 months in barrel, although this can vary slightly to reflect the style of the vintage.
The adage about eating food abroad in restaurants the locals frequent is the way to find the best food of the region and it is equally instructive for wine, in his article Martin states that “When I asked proprietors which Pomerol they most admired, the most common answer was not Pétrus nor Lafleur, but Trotanoy…it became apparent that they viewed this address as the quintessential Pomerol, the benchmark by which many of its neighbours aspired.”
In terms of investment Trotanoy 2009 and 2010 have market mechanics in their favour, global acclaim, short supply and true pedigree. We won’t know which of 2009 or 2010 is their greatest ever effort for a decade, only time will tell.
2009 – 98+ points Robert Parker
“I don’t know what the 1961 Trotanoy tasted like in its youth, but the 2009 unquestionably surpasses the 1982 (which was the finest effort since the 1961) and eclipses anything made since. By far the greatest Trotanoy of my professional career, the 2009 boasts a dense plum/purple color as well as a meaty, earthy nose buttressed by enormous quantities of black fruits, cherries, and spice. Abundant glycerin, viscosity, purity, and elegance are all part of this massive, exuberant, powerful Trotanoy. One of the most prodigious wines of the vintage, it should come into its own in 8-10 years, and last 30-40 years thereafter. Drink 2019-2039” Tasted April 2010
2010 – 98 points Robert Parker
“Think of this wine as the 1998 on steroids! Showing better out of bottle than it did from barrel, this wine has put on considerable weight. It is full-bodied, masculine (as most vintages of Trotanoy tend to be), with loads of earthy, foresty notes intermixed with black and red fruits, a meaty, almost charcuterie note to it, an inky/purple color, some sweetness on the attack, but then the tannins kick in, making the wine seem at least a decade away from accessibility to most consumers. The texture is layered, the purity impressive, and the overall symmetry, balance and integration of all of the wine’s building blocks are flawless. Forget it for 10 years and drink it over the following 35 years. Bravo! Drink 2019 – 2039.” Tasted Feb 2013