|Subregion||France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > St Estèphe|
This great second growth vineyard is majestically situated overlooking the Gironde in the Southern section of St Estephe. Recently purchased and re-invigorated by the Bouygues family, Montrose is on top form. Hervé Berland, formerly of Mouton Rothschild, is now in charge and large amounts of money have been spent on stunning new facilities. Outstanding wines were produced here in 2009, 2010 and 2016 as well as a potential wine of the vintage in 2014. The 2018 could be right up there with these. The grapes were 20% smaller than average giving greater concentration. The blend is 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. We were told that this vintage has the precision of 2016, the structure of the 2010 and the pleasure of the 2009. It certainly reminded us of the awesome 2009 tasted recently "10 years on".
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The 2018 Montrose is a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Very deep garnet-purple in color, it needs a good amount of air to unlock the vibrant scents of crushed blackberries, preserved plums and cassis with suggestions of star anise, cedar chest, underbrush, Indian spices and iron ore, plus an emerging waft of violets. The full-bodied palate features the most exquisitely ripe tannins, offering a rock-solid backbone with tons of freshness lifting the taut, muscular fruit, finishing long and mineral laced. Going back to this wine over a period of hours and then days further reveals a Montrose of great opulence, richness and depth. Incidentally, the IPT level this year is 82, which indicates a very high level of tannins, and yet they are so, so ripe. The alcohol is around 14.5%. But sit back, close your eyes and forget the numbers—this is pure hedonism in its youth with a fantastic 40+ years of cellaring ahead of it, during the course of which do not be at all surprised if you are blown away by a three-digit experience. Drink 2024-2064.
Tasted blind at Southwold 2018. Deep, opaque ruby colour. A dark, brooding nose of forest fruit, bitter cocoa and graphite - there is a real sense of underlying power here. The palate is broad shouldered and defined by its structure. Rich, chewy but ripe tannins are persistent in this powerful wine. Pushing through is a dense, precise core of blackcurrant and dark cherry. Driven and backward, this is a hark back to more classical Bordeaux. It will require great patience in the cellar but the deep, smoky, earthy character lingers for minutes. An outstanding vin de garde.
Purity and beauty on the nose with blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, crushed-stone and violet character. A full-bodied red with masses of polished tannins and intense flavors of currants and blackberries. Juicy finish. Super depth to this. Goes on for minutes. Try after 2027.
This is wonderfully rich, with the precision of 2016 but the seductive quality of 2009. It feels architectural in the way that truly great vintages do in the Médoc, and it seems to have consumed its alcohol rather effortlessly. There's plenty of liquorice and exuberant but well buttoned-down brushed damson and cassis pit notes that maintain the signature of Montrose. You can see the concentration in the legs and in the depth of the colour. 20% press wine was added, which is typical here, but the vintage yielded an extremely low 25hl/ha, due partly to drought, partly to mildew and partly to coulure - with drought accounting for most of that/ The Cabernets were affected more than the Merlots because of the later harvesting (which ran from 17 September to 5 October), which meant careful sorting was essential. A good 3.7pH has definitely helped it maintain its balance and sense of minerality, but for me the 2016 remains the one to beat. 2% Petit Verdot makes up the blend. Phenolic count of 81IPT.
Drinking Window 2028 - 2042
Tasted blind. Very popular with the tasters today. Dark crimson. Rich and treacly on the nose. Very sweet and exotic. All that sweet fruit and all that tannin underneath. Pretty superlative. Sui generis. 14.5%
Drink 2028 – 2052
72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot. Harvested 17 Sept to 5 Oct. Barrel sample.
Black core with narrow purple rim. More obvious oak than on La Dame de Montrose but still with hints of violets alongside pure cassis intensity. Almost a mintiness in the ripe (but not in the least overripe) black fruit. Oak spice and fruit spice. Amazingly juicy even with the density and concentration of both fruit and tannins. Needs lots of time but has great harmony and length. Powerful without being aggressive. Very oaky at the moment but has the stuffing and the wonderful fruit to hold its own. (JH) 14.5%
An inky purple in the glass, this is rich and powerful on the nose, with toasty oak, roasted coffee and cocoa layered over the dense and ripe cassis fruit. The palate is muscular and dense, the grippy, chalky tannins coating the mouth and adding real depth. The fruit is opulent, ripe but fleshy rather than jammy, giving great purity and drive. Cassis, blackberry and black cherry all add to the heady mix of flavours that include cumin, vanilla and star anise. The boldness of structure endures in tandem with the explosive fruit through to an enduring finish. A real triumph in 2018, very impressive.
The top wine of the estate as well as one of the wines of the vintage, the 2018 Château Montrose is 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc brought up in 60% new French oak. Crème de cassis, smoky oak, graphite, and violet notes all emerge from this magical Montrose that has thrilling purity, building, layered tannins, integrated acidity, and a blockbuster finish. Deep, concentrated, and built for the long-haul, yet with the sexiness of the vintage, it’s in the same league as the 2016 and will be drinkable in just 4-5 years and keep for 40+.
(72 Cabernet Sauvignon, 20 Merlot, 6 Cabernet Franc, 2 Petit Verdot) | 14.7% alc | Harvest took place between 17th September and 5th October My tour of epic Saint-Estèphe estates continued at Montrose where I was greeted by yet another incredible wine. With fantastic fruit and excellent balance this is a completely distinctive and very opinionated Montrose and it errs on the theatrical given its generosity and impact. Incredibly expressive but also impressively balanced, too, the only real concern at Montrose was trying to regulate the extraction from the grapes during vinification such that the tannins were not too raw. There was so much potential at harvest, but they managed to only take the silkiest tannins and freshest acidity and so the balance here is pinpoint accurate. 2018 Montrose will be a favourite for fans of overtly demonstrative wines and as this Château is usually such a strict and statesmanlike fellow, I feel that this vintage will broaden its appeal and widen its fan-base like no other.
This is a big and muscular wine with great structure and depth of fruit. Blackberry and blueberry character. Hints of fresh leaves. Cool earth. Incredible depth, yet so polished. Concentrated.
Composed of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, harvested from September 17 to October 5, the 2018 Montrose has a very deep purple-black color and opens with tantalizing notes of crème de cassis, Black Forest cake, hoisin and mocha with nuances of molten licorice, fertile loam, cast iron pan and incense. Big, rich, full and powerful in the mouth, the voluptuous fruit has a rock-solid backbone of very firm, very ripe tannins to match with tons of freshness and an epically long, exotic spice finish. A magnificent monster of a Montrose!