A stand-out wine in the appellation of St Estèphe. A classical blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc, it is full of sweet dark fruits with hints of mocha. This is a beautifully polished wine, showing huge class, with its stylish rounded tannins and the fine generosity of sweet fruit which coats the palate. The gently fresh finish gives lift and life to what will be a very suave wine in years to come.
The 2015 Montrose is a blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc that was picked between 15 September and 8 October, the fruit sorted three times using three sorting tables, then an optical sorting machine and finally by hand. Matured in 65% new oak, it possesses some of the best aromatics you will find in the appéllation - billowing blackberry, cassis and boysenberry scents all beautifully defined and seamlessly integrated with the new oak. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, commendable depth and a vibrant bead of acidity that lends this Montrose tension from start to finish. The class comes through strongly in this wine, perhaps the best Saint Estèphe this year. Give this a decade in bottle, more if you can, since Montrose tends to repay cellaring. Drink: 2025 - 2060
Blueberry, black currant, fresh basil and lemon grass flavors. Full body, velvety tannins, clean finish. Spices. Depth.
The 2015 Montrose is silky, super-finessed and nuanced, all qualities that are unusual for a wine that is usually much more of a powerhouse. Black cherry, smoke, leather, graphite, crème de cassis and licorice notes open up in the glass, yet the wine comes across as raw and not fully formed. The 2015 appeared to put on a bit of weight over the two weeks I followed it, but I don't see the depth, structure and personality of the very best versions.
Deep florality and wonderful black fruit. Surprisingly smooth and silky at first then the classic firmness becomes plain towards the finish. It has more natural richness than most in 2015 – a superbly made wine from a great terroir.
(67 Cabernet Sauvignon, 29 Merlot, 4 Cabernet Franc) | 13.4% alc. Powerful and yet restrained, this is a tangy, firm, taut Montrose with very clean, focussed fruit and a direction which is unquestionable. The oak is stunning and refreshing and while it is nearly all new oak, the fruit sings and the attack and balance are stunning. The precision and weightlessness are thrilling and you sense that the tannins are built to last 50 years – this is stunning sleight of hand. Hervé Berland (CEO) explained that by shortening the cuvaison and being desperately careful with extraction he was able to make a much more precise wine. Careful addition of press wine, of optimum quality, allowed them to build and intense but not heavy wine. This continued tinkering and fine-tuning as well as a gradual cutting back on Merlot has allowed Montrose to soar. This is an epic wine.
Well, well, well. How good is this? St. Estèphe was supposed to be the least favoured commune in the Médoc in 2015, but this is a brilliant wine that’s up there with the best releases of the vintage. Perfumed, dense and super concentrated, with compact tannins, notes of cassis, blueberry and liquorice and very fine tannins. Drink: 2025-40
For years Montrose has been in the shadow of its more decadent, flashy neighbour, Cos d'Estournel.Quietly confident, it is a brilliant performer in notably dry, sunny vintages due to its dense clay soil that allows the vines to remain hydrated. In 2003, this was particularly true as many deemed it wine of the vintage. They have a new director, Jean-Bernard Delmas, a legend amongst the Bordelais having run Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion for 40 years, so quality is only likley to get better and better.
St Estèphe is the most northern of Médoc communal crus. Its unique terroir is made up of layers of gravel which are supported by a dense clay base. This subsoil retains water in dry seasons and works particularly well with Merlot, a largely planted variety which is used to flesh out Cabernet Sauvignon. This clay base also creates powerful, textured tannins which enable St Estèphe to stand out from the pack. Like St Julien, it is one of the four most important communal appellations of the Médoc which does not contain any first growths, despite its southern border being a stone'sthrow from Château Lafite. Nonetheless, it is home to some excellent châteaux making fine wines such as Cos d'Estournel, Montrose, Calon Ségur and Lafon Rochet.