Chateau Montrose (6-Pack OWC Futures Pre-Sale) 2018
Blend: 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The top wine of the estate as well as one of the wines of the vintage, the 2018 Château Montrose is 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc brought up in 60% new French oak. Crème de cassis, smoky oak, graphite, and violet notes all emerge from this magical Montrose that has thrilling purity, building, layered tannins, integrated acidity, and a blockbuster finish. Deep, concentrated, and built for the long-haul, yet with the sexiness of the vintage, it’s in the same league as the 2016 and will be drinkable in just 4-5 years and keep for 40+. Barrel Sample: 97-99
Barrel Sample: 96-98
This is wonderfully rich, with the precision of 2016 but the seductive quality of 2009. It feels architectural in the way that truly great vintages do in the Médoc, and it seems to have consumed its alcohol rather effortlessly. There's plenty of liquorice and exuberant but well buttoned-down brushed damson and cassis pit notes that maintain the signature of Montrose. You can see the concentration in the legs and in the depth of the colour. 20% press wine was added, which is typical here, but the vintage yielded an extremely low 25hl/ha, due partly to drought, partly to mildew and partly to coulure - with drought accounting for most of that/ The Cabernets were affected more than the Merlots, which meant careful sorting was essential. 2% Petit Verdot makes up the blend. Phenolic count of 81IPT. Drinking Window 2028 - 2042. Barrel Sample: 97
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 Chateau 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, Chateau Montrose.
The other qualities are used to make the second wine, La Dame de Montrose, and the third wine, Le Saint-Estèphe de Montrose.
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.
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.
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.
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.