2012 Le Saint-Estèphe de Montrose, St Estèphe, Bordeaux
About this WINE
Château Montrose is part of our Spotlight on sustainability series. You can view the full range here.
Château Montrose is one of the leading wine properties of St.Estéphe, and produces some of the longest-lived wines in the Médoc. Montrose had been owned by Jean-Louis Charmolue from 1962 until 2006, when it was sold to Martin and Olivier Bouygues, owner of the eponymously named construction firm Bouygues, is located in the east of the appellation, just north of the hamlet of Marbuzet, on a gravel knoll only 800 metres from the Gironde estuary. The proximity of the estuary ensures a microclimate that protects against frost, and the vines, which lie on deep clay-gravel soils, benefit from a south-easterly aspect.
Montrose's wine is typically a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc and is matured in oak barriques (30% new) for 18 months.
Montrose wines are traditionally deeply coloured, austere and powerful when young, yet possess superb ageing potential, and when mature are quintessential St.Estèphe clarets. Montrose is classified as a 2ème Cru Classé.
St Estèphe is the northernmost of the most important communes of the Médoc and borders Pauillac on its southernmost border, with only a gully and stream separates it from Ch. Lafite. To the north lies the Bas-Médoc.
St Estèphe is defined by the depth of its gravel, which is ubiquitous but of varying depths and occasionally very shallow, when clay predominates. This keeps the soil cooler and wetter than its counterparts so that the wines can appear fresh in lighter vintages, but superbly successful in hot, dry years.
The best châteaux in the south of the commune have the deepest soil and the thickest gravel. Cos d'Estournel has an exceptional terroir with its vineyards being located on a south-facing ridge of gravel with excellent drainage.
St Estèphe is the least gravelly of main Médoc communes and in the north of the commune the vineyards are heavier and more clay-based leading to a rustic style of wine being produced.
The wines can appear austere in youth with a discernable ferric note at some châteaux, but the best typically display good depth of colour, pronounced acidity an tannins in youth and are exceptionally long-lived. At their best, they are the equal of almost any Bordeaux. The well-regarded St Estèphe co-operative controls the production of about half the appellation.
Cos (Ch. Cos d'Estournel), Ch. Montrose, Ch. Calon-Ségur, Ch. Lafon-Rochet, Ch. Les Ormes de Pez, Ch. Beau-Site, Ch. Cos Labory, Ch. Phélan-Ségur
Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.
In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and Australia.
Add to wishlist
For the Grand Vin vintage 2012 has been a resounding success (Rebert Parker: ‘one of the highlights of the vintage’, Steven Spurrier: ‘Latour-like depth, a great classic’.) 2012 is also a year where Montrose negotiated an impressive deal to buy a parcel of vines on absolute prime land from their close neighbour Phelan Segur. A deal that has resulted in some seriously good Cabernet and Merlot entering the Chateau’s armoury and one has clearly boosted the quality of juice in this wine even further. Drink late 2016 to 2021.
A really attractive nose of blackberry, graphite and spice sets this wine off to a lovely start. The fruit here is attractive and ripe, not flamboyant or over the top, but really well judged given they know that this wine is likely to be drunk in the next few years. The palate is concentrated with bramble fruit, a tiny touch of the classic St Estephe roasted earth adds some complexity. With the wealth of fruit that is display it would be easy to miss the fact that the precision to the fruit is achieved by a lovely elegant acidity that leaves the wine on a fresh note and is what makes you want to come back for more.
Matthew Tipping, Fine Wine
wine at a glance
Delivery and quality guarantee