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Chateau Montrose 1990

Bordeaux Red Blends from St. Estephe, Bordeaux, France
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0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

Ruby color. Full, deep and fresh on the nose revealing an outstanding complexity: cocoa, candied, quince, even citrus fruits. This wine is fabulously balanced on the palate, very silky, fine texture showing an incredible length with empyreumatic aromas. Extremely well structured, strong personality.

Blend: 64% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 4% Cabernet franc

Critical Acclaim

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RP 100
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Tasted at the Montrose vertical in London, the 1990 Montrose is a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc (almost identical to the 1989 Montrose) and picked between 14 September and 3 October. It has a formidable reputation and for years it overshadowed the 1989. That said, it is well known that there are incidences of brettanomyces that compromise some bottles and the one bottle in London showed just a tincture of this. It still merited a score of 97/100, though it only served to highlight the ethereal delineation of the 1989. Then literally a couple of days later. I was served blind a magnum of the 1990 Montrose in Cape Town, which had been purchased on release and stored in perfect conditions. Now, here was the real deal, unfettered by any infection, a regal Saint Estèphe. It shows approximately the same evolution as the 1989 in bottle, but unsurprisingly showed less bricking in magnum format. The bouquet is cut from a different cloth to the 1989 and attests to that warm vintage: hickory, clove, undergrowth and wild fennel, later garrigue-like scents and terracotta, the latter two more pronounced on the bottle format compared to the youthful magnum. The palate is full-bodied and powerful, yet the balance is perfect, a ballerina-like poise with the structure of the Forth Bridge. It is a multi-layered Montrose that offers enormous length, fresh and vibrant with the magnum demonstrating tangible mineralite and tension as it fans out on the crescendo of a finish—a fanfare for Saint Estèphe in all its glory. Improving all the time in the glass, this example of 1990 Montrose is a privilege to behold. One can speculate whether larger formats are a "safer bet" in terms of experiencing this behemoth without any brettanomyces. Perhaps. However, if you do come across the 1990 Montrose like this, you are in the presence of a king. Tasted January 2017. Rating: 100(?) Points.
WS 94
Wine Spectator
Dark in color with decadent aromas of ripe fruit, earth and amazing mint and spearmint undertones, yet there's also an underlying meaty funkiness. Full-bodied, with layers of very ripe fruit and velvety tannins. Massive and caressing. A big, powerful wine. Like velvet.
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Chateau Montrose

Chateau Montrose

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Chateau Montrose, St. Estephe, Bordeaux, France
Video of winery
Established as a Second Growth in the 1855 classification, Château Montrose enjoys an exceptional geographical situation in Saint-Estèphe, facing the Gironde estuary. Its 95-hectare (235-acre) vineyard thus benefits from the moderating influence of the vast water mass nearby during very hot summers and harsh winters. The vineyard is in a single sweep, a rare and priceless advantage in the region. The soil, consisting of deep gravel over clay, favours natural drainage and ensures that the vines benefit from a slow and regular water supply from the water reserves in the subsoil.

An extensive renovation program with very strict environmental objectives has been carried out at the estate since it was acquired by Martin and Olivier Bouygues in 2006, reflecting the new owners’ determination to perpetuate the quality of the wine and make Château Montrose a model of skilled winemaking and sustainable development.

Under the direction of Hervé Berland since 2012, the estate has 68 employees in the vineyard and winery, all of whom share the same philosophy: respect for the terroir and a constant quest for excellence. That philosophy is manifested in meticulous vineyard practices, very precise parcel selection and use of only the best grapes to make the premium wine, Château Montrose.

The other qualities are used to make the second wine, La Dame de Montrose, and the third wine, Le Saint-Estèphe de Montrose.

St. Estephe

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Deeply colored, concentrated, and distinctive, St. Estephe is the go-to for great, age-worthy and reliable Bordeaux reds. Separated from Pauillac merely by a stream, St. Estephe is the farthest northwest of the highest classed villages of the Haut Medoc and is therefore subject to the most intense maritime influence of the Atlantic.

St. Estephe soils are rich in gravel like all of the best sites of the Haut Medoc but here the formation of gravel over clay creates a cooler atmosphere for its vines compared to those in the villages farther downstream. This results in delayed ripening and wines with higher acidity compared to the other villages.

While they can seem a bit austere when young, St. Estephe reds prove to live very long in the cellar. Traitionally dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, many producers now add a significant proportion of Merlot to the blend, which will soften any sharp edges of the more tannic, Cabernet.

The St. Estephe village contains two second growths, Chateau Montrose and Cos d’Estournel.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

JFG119818_1990 Item# 119818