Ch Montrose 2ème Cru St Estèphe 2014
A very polished wine, with hints of cedarwood, coffee bean and spice on the nose. In the palate the initial attack is one of power and intensity, and then the richness of the fruit takes hold to reveal a wine of subtlety underneath. Beautifully integrated and very long.
Deep opaque colour, with floral summer fruit aromas. A full and muscular wine, with intense dark fruit flavours and hints of vanilla and cocoa. The tightly entwined tannins provide tension and power, whilst the finish is uplifting and very fresh. Strong potential.
The Château Montrose 2014 is a blend of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot that represents 47% of the total production. It was picked from mid-September via five or six tries through the vineyard. The aromatics represent a clear step in quality from the second wine, attired with far more precision and focus, much more purity with scents of blackberry, boysenberry and blue fruit, now with touches of violet and vanilla. It is beautifully defined and actually, at least at this juncture, closely aligned with Cos d’Estournel 2014. The palate is medium-bodied with filigree tannin that underpin layers of pure mineral-rich black fruit. There is an enthralling sense of energy and precision here and it fans out remarkably on the finish. Dare I say, this is one grand vin that comes perilously close to matching the heights of the 2009 and 2010. This is a brilliant Montrose, one of the best you will find on the Left Bank this vintage. Tasted on five separate occasions, twice at the château.
47% of production. 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot. Very muted nose. Seems rich and heavy but not that expressive aromatically. Big and bold and ambitious with a good balance between fruit and tannins. Acid reasonably well in check. And very definitely St-Estèphe. Pretty brutal – without the charm and glamour of Cos – but probably very true to the archetype. Good tannin management but nothing at all confected or too modern. Inky finish. Drink 2024-2040
As sleek and tightly coiled as they come, with wonderful purity and cut to the red and black currant and red and black cherry fruit. The long iron spine is thoroughly embedded and a gorgeous echo of charcoal lingers at the very end of the lightly pebbly finish. Everything finally seems to be coming together here.
This is a fabulous young red with blackberries, currants and wet earth. Full body, firm tannins. Very long finish. It really takes off.
The 2014 Montrose is one of the most intriguing wines of the vintage. An elegant, beautifully layered wine, the 2014 Montrose comes across as incredibly silky and polished. The typical Montrose power, richness and breath take a backseat to a total sense of refinement, as the 2014 is a remarkably nuanced and noble wine. Beams of acidity and minerality give the finish its salivating energy and brightness. Given that Montrose is slow to develop, my sense is that the 2014 is not ready to show all of its cards just yet. Today, it's all about potential, and there is plenty of that here. Sweet red cherry plum, dried flowers and spices are some of the notes that are laced into the exquisite, alluring finish. The blend is 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot that represents 47% of the total production.
Dense, irony Cabernet nose and deep chalky fruit typical of Montrose. Rich but with clarity and precision, robust yet elegant – one for the long term Drink: 2022-2045
(61 Cabernet Sauvignon, 30 Merlot, 8 Cabernet Franc, 1 Petit Verdot) This wine shows an intense nose and a lovely, initial burst of both red and black fruit with no trace of greenness in sight. The Merlot component here seems to be fit, slippery and also spicy. There is stunning fruit here with a classic Saint-Estèphe combination of charm and austerity. The tannins are racy and mouth-watering and the texture, while not as luxuriant as some, is spot on. This is a charming Montrose which will start to drink sooner than most vintages, but it will really soften and open out after a decade. I know that more tannin will build in this wine during its time in barrel but this will not overpower the fruit. I tip Montrose as one of the quiet stars of the vintage.
Alongside Cos, this is a king amongst St Estèphe estates. At 76% cabernet Sauvignon, the 2017 has the highest proportion of this variety in the blend since 2006. The estate is building a new winery, and now has 90 tanks at its disposal to vinify individual plots. The dexterity in the cellar rewards in the glass; this is dense, dark and structured, with great purity and precision. There is a fine balance between silky fruit and a fresh, salty, toasty length with a touch of vanilla spice. The chalky tannins give it a long, elegant finish. This was the high point of the appellation.
The 2017 Montrose represents 37% of the total production this year and it was cropped at around 45hl/ha. It has a little more volume and intensity compared to the Cos d’Estournel that was tasted immediately prior to my visit. Blackberry, raspberry, cedar and pressed flowers bloom in the glass, though there is a noticeable change with aeration after 20 minutes – hints of juniper and bay leaf, rendering a more nuanced and complex array of aromatics. The palate is medium-bodied with edgy tannin and it feels a little chalky in the mouth, yet also tensile and certainly extremely focused. There is already a palpable sense of energy in situ, well structured and vivid, though not as complex or as nuanced as the 2016 Montrose on the finish since the growing season forbade that. I appreciate the pastille-like purity on the aftertaste and the potent tang of cracked black pepper and graphite that hang around for 45 seconds after the wine has departed. It is a fine, very classic Montrose and I suspect more approachable than those of yesteryear. Tasted twice at the château. 2022 - 2045
The 2017 Montrose is a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. Deep purple-black in color, the nose is a little closed at first, but with coaxing, it opens to reveal remarkable earth and exotic spice notes of crushed rocks, black truffles, star anise, cassia and fenugreek over a core of crème de cassis, blackberry preserves, violets and blueberry pie with touches of cigar box, charcuterie and black soil. Medium-bodied with a rock-solid frame and an exquisitely ripe, very fine-grained texture, it has wonderful freshness with electric energy and a very long, minerally finish. Possessing great poise and intensity, this is one of the greatest Montrose's I have tasted!
Deep crimson. Sober but intense black fruit. On the palate, elegant and attractive dusty character, incredibly fine tannins, so supple, refined, juicy and long. Not opulent but not at all dry. Should have a long drinking window. (JH) Drink 2025-2045
This is pure and tight with gorgeous cabernet sauvignon character of blackcurrants, blueberries and crushed stones. Full-bodied, yet compacted and polished. It shows a long and beautiful tannin texture at the end. Just rolls off the palate.
The 2017 Montrose is wonderfully polished and nuanced. Silky tannins and mid-weight structure confer finesse to a Montrose that possesses superb harmony from start to finish. All the elements fall into place effortlessly. In 2017, the Grand Vin (35% of the production) is 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. Because of the late season rains, Montrose has more Cabernet Sauvignon than is typically the case. The winemaking team opted for a large number of smaller-lot vinifications (82 instead of 50-ish, to be exact), in order to optimize picks according to ripeness. Although alcohol alone can never tell the whole story of a wine, at 13.5% alcohol, Montrose has a very attractive freshness to it. The Grand Vin represents about 37% of the chateau's production. The 2017 is all class.
This has more Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend this year, the highest level since 2006, because the Merlot didn't quite make it through the September rains unscathed. The wine is correspondingly powerful with a robust accompanying acidity that promises a long life. The fruit character is savoury, succulent and extremely persistent, with fleshy blackberry alongside touches of redcurrant and a pulsating freshness that keeps on coming. Harvested 12-29 September with twelve days spent actually picking, compared to sixteen days over the last few years, with more hands on deck. They have never been affected by frost, as far as they can remember, and 2017 was no exception. The wind is always such a benefit here. A normal yield of 45hl/ha, 37% of which was for the grand vin. 60% new oak. Drinking Window 2025 - 2040
Very commanding and linear on the nose, this is a focussed and direct wine with masses of intent and it takes no prisoners on the nose and palate. There is a chiselled feel to Montrose with enormous length and determination and no trace of fat or glycerol to be found on its lean, taut frame. It is interesting to see here what happens when there is no disease pressure, no particular hydric stress and also a dry and temperate summer. The organic viticulture at this Château allows the soils to express themselves fully through the vines and so this is perhaps one of the most ‘naked’ and unadorned Montrose vintages in a long time. It will mature slowly and always retain a degree of drama and minerality, reflecting its elevated position in Saint-Estèphe.