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Chateau Montrose (3 Liter Bottle) 2003

Bordeaux Red Blends from St. Estephe, Bordeaux, France
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Winemaker Notes

Considered one of the top Saint Estephe, Montrose is prized for its classic Claret style, big fruit and full, well-structured taste.

Dense, deep, purple color with a ruby reflection. Very complex nose offering aromas of ripe red berries, currants, mocha, liquorice, and peony. Complex and very fresh palate loaded with black fruit, chocolate (cocoa with silky tannins). Fabulous wine, full-bodied and very structured. Fresh. Beautiful length with neat, velvety tannins. Splendid aromatic complexity.

Blend: 62% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot

Critical Acclaim

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RP 98
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2003 Montrose was served blind in Bordeaux on two occasions. Picked between 11 to 26 September, it is a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. It remains one of the outstanding wines of a very black and white vintage. Without knowledge of the vintage, I was hesitant to suggest 2003, because though there is clearly fruit intensity locked up inside this Saint Estèphe, it is counterbalanced by the estate's trademark masculinity and austerity. So both on the nose and the palate it reaches this happy medium: pure blackberry, graphite and roasted herbs on the nose, perhaps even more elegant than I have observed on previous bottles. The palate is medium-bodied rather than full bodied with sturdy tannins couched in layers of seamless blackberry and cassis fruit, offset by scents of tobacco and graphite. As usual it has immense length and depth, a Montrose that is really just a few chapters into what is sure to be a longer "book" than many other 2003s. It is not a perfect Montrose, but a couple of hairs' breadth away. Tasted February 2017.
JS 97
James Suckling
After the 2009, this is the most exciting Montrose ever made, with intense aromas and flavors of plums, blueberries, spices, tobacco and cedar. It’s full-bodied with extremely refined tannins but a dense, delicious palate. Better in 2016, but why wait?
WS 95
Wine Spectator
Dark color. Aromas of blackberry, toasted oak, spice and tobacco. Loads of plum. Medium- to full-bodied, with very integrated and refined tannins. Long. This really builds on the palate. This is better than the 2000 and 1990.
WE 95
Wine Enthusiast
Thought by many tasters to be the wine of the vintage at the time of the 2004 barrel tastings. Has it retained that status? It is certainly a hugely powerful wine, monumental even. It is also finely balanced, with great dark tannins working in partnership with brooding black fruit. The question is whether it is too big, too powerful: only time will tell.
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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. While 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/or 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 can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can 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, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

ENGMONTDMG_2003 Item# 127566