There’s a fine line between pleasure and pain, especially in the world of wine. Thankfully there are critics to guide us in our selections. This wine, the 2005 Château Troplong Mondot St-Emilion has pleasure written all over it, and dark undercurrents within.

Robert Parker gave it a perfect score in the Wine Advocate in June 2015. For him, drinking it was an emotional experience. He wrote: “The 2005 Troplong Mondot is a blend of 90% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc. It was emotional tasting this wine, thinking of the late Christine Valette, who made this compelling wine while battling with considerable courage against an insidious disease. It is a great effort and a superstar of the vintage. Dense purple, it offers notes of white chocolate, blackberry, cassis and licorice as well as a hint of truffle and some subtle background oak. Full-bodied, multi-layered, and spectacularly pure and rich, it is a tour de force, and a great tribute to an incredible woman. Remarkably youthful, this wine probably needs another 4-8 years of bottle age, and should keep for 20 or more years. Kudos to the late Christine Valette!”

Other critics rank it very high. Antonio Galloni gave it 98 points on Vinous in November 2015. He wrote: “The 2005 Troplong Mondot is simply magnificent. Rich, opulent and beautifully layered in the glass, the 2005 is another wine that takes hold of all the senses with its engaging personality and sheer sensory overload. Black fruit, mocha, bittersweet chocolate, new leather and spices flesh out in a captivating, riveting wine that shows the modern style of Bordeaux at its very best. This is a pure pleasure bomb.”

Elsewhere, Stephen Tanzer wrote: “A blockbuster of a wine with a three-dimensional texture and outstanding weight but with almost magically ripe acidity giving great precision to the flavors and drawing out the finish. Incredible melting tannins saturate the palate and front teeth. Wonderfully suave wine, the best I’ve ever tasted from this chateau.” [Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar (6/2008)]. And in 2012 Jancis Robinson wrote, “Dark, intense and savoury. Very dry finish. Exaggerated but offers some pleasure rather than pain. Extreme in every sense! Bit of heat. Great for cocoa lovers.”

Are you up to the challenge?