2021 Château Montrose, St Estèphe, Bordeaux
This has depth on the palate, inky purple with grilled almond, fennel, cassis, blackberry, bilblerry, waves of fruit set against strong, austere tannins that give excellent structure but not a lot of generosity. This is a serious, signature Montrose that is not an early drinker. Juicy on the finish, one to recommend. 55% new oak. Pierre Grafeuille has come on board as director since March 1, and will be taking over fully from Hervé Berland as of October 1.
Drink 2028 - 2044
Jane Anson, janeanson.com (May 2022)
A brilliant achievement, the 2021 Montrose is reminiscent of a purer, more precise, modern-day version of the estate's 1996. Unwinding in the glass with aromas of blackcurrants, pencil shavings, sweet loamy soil, black truffle and nicely integrated new oak, it's full-bodied, layered and concentrated, with terrific depth at the core, lively acids and a seamless, harmonious profile. Exhibiting beautifully refined tannins and an impressive sense of completeness, it's a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot—standing out as one of the few top wines of the vintage that actually includes more Merlot and less Cabernet than in recent years.
William Kelley, Wine Advocate (Apr 2022)
The 2021 Montrose is very clean and precise on the nose. You could almost describe it has clinical, crushed stone infusing the black fruit and briar. It is not as intense as the previous two vintages, which is to be expected, though the Cabernet Sauvignon is expressive. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit and fine acidity; a Monrose that is very tensile and focused. Moderate grip and volume, this is a more slimline version of recent vintages, a reflection of the growing season. Maybe it just misses the bravura finish that one has almost come to expect from this estate, yet it has the potential to become an aristocratic, classic Montrose.
Drink 2025 - 2050
Neal Martin, vinous.com, (May 2022)
A very classy and refined Montrose with excellent length and a compact, medium-bodied palate, showing fine, silky tannins and a fresh, bright finish. Lots of currant, blackberry and tar at the end, as well as some graphite. 62% cabernet sauvignon, 31% merlot, 6% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (May 2022)
Dark and minerally through and through. Good fruit concentration. Hint of barrel but integrated. Velvety attack, the tannins dense but finely framed. Long, cool finish. Evident potential for ageing.
Drink 2030 - 2050
James Lawther, jancisrobinson.com (May 2022)
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.
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Cabernet Sauvignon 62%, Merlot 31%, Cabernet Franc 6%, Petit Verdot 1%
This is almost a return to Montrose’s restrained classicism of the 1990s. But there is a polish and finesse evident of the progress made here since then. Surprisingly, the harvest was done by 6th October, but there was no rush; everything was ripe. The wine’s airy architecture recalls 2014, because of its sapid freshness and firm tannin. But it’s also graceful and intense; its precise cool fruits float above the tensile support of those tannins. It builds in intensity with each taste – a very fine result. Drink 2028-2050.
Our score: 18.5/20
Berry Bros. & Rudd, April 2022
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