Jane Anson, janeanson.com (May 2023)
About this WINE
Located in the Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux appellation, Château Montlandrie is owned by Denis Durantou, a highly respected winemaker known for his meticulous attention to detail and commitment to producing high-quality wines.
The history of Château Montlandrie dates back to the 18th century, and the estate has been in the Durantou family since 1983. Denis Durantou, known for his work at Château l'Eglise-Clinet in Pomerol, acquired Château Montlandrie with a vision to create exceptional wines that showcase the unique terroir of the Castillon region.
The vineyards of Château Montlandrie span approximately 12 hectares (30 acres) and are planted with a blend of grape varieties, including Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyards benefit from a favourable mesoclimate, with a combination of clay and limestone soils that contribute to the elegance and complexity of the wines.
Denis Durantou's winemaking philosophy at Château Montlandrie focuses on preserving the purity of the fruit and expressing the terroir. The grapes are harvested by hand and undergo meticulous sorting to ensure only the best quality fruit is used. The vinification process combines traditional techniques with modern precision, including gentle extraction methods and careful ageing in French oak barrels.
The wines of Château Montlandrie are known for their elegance, balance, and age-worthiness. They often exhibit ripe fruit flavours, such as blackberries and plums, subtle spice notes, and well-integrated tannins.
Cotes de Castillon
To the east of the St Émilion wine appellation, and on the north bank of the Dordogne, Côtes de Castillon has been the site of considerable interest and investment since the early 2000s. Wine production is significant, yielding over 1.5 million cases per annum and quality is quite variable, ranging from the everyday from the sandy and light gravel soils to imposing, aspirational wines benefiting from considerable investment, and made from the clay and limestone vineyards on higher slopes.
The style of these latter wines is akin to good St Émilion, and the wines use predominantly Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In common with other regions recognised to produce interesting and good-value wines, several well-known St Émilion proprietors have invested in the appellation over the past decade, among them Gérard Perse of Ch. Pavie, Stephan Von Neipperg of Canon-la-Gaffelière, and consultant Stéphane Derénoncourt.
Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
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.