For me Château Montrose is wine of the vintage in 2014. It is a towering achievement and surely hot on the heels of the brilliant 2010. The purity and the power are knockout, with layers of fruit, but also great freshness too. If Calon Ségur is St Estèphe’s answer to Lafite, Montrose is clearly its Latour. La Dame de Montrose is impressive, a notch or two down in scale from the grand vin, but this is caressing and aromatic St Estèphe. Château Tronquoy-Lalande is also very much worth considering. It is glossy and exciting and amongst the best I have tasted from this property.
After a wet spring, the warm weather led to a precocious start to budbreak at Montrose. Flowering took place in even conditions at the beginning of June. July was cooler than average and veraison [the colour change in the grapes] occurred later than usual, and took place over a more extended period, as August was also cool and wet at the start. Things picked up considerably in the vineyard by the end of the month. The hot and sunny weather – described as ‘miraculous’ by the property – last until mid-October. The small amount of rain [20mm] arrived on September 17-18, was useful to help the final ripening of the skins.
With extremely favourable conditions – fine weather during the day alternating with cool nights – there was no pressure on the pace of the harvest itself [compared to 2012 and 2013], which was conducted at Montrose in a number of passes. Some parcels were combed through six times, a luxury provided by the dry and sunny end of harvest conditions.
The results do speak for themselves. Montrose is regularly in the top half dozen properties in the left bank. This year I reckon it leads the field. Time will tell. There is no doubt, however, that three of the vintages most extraordinary wines come from St Estèphe – Montrose, Calon Ségur and Cos d’Estournel.
For collectors and investors, unfortunately Montrose also recognises the quality of its wine in 2014 and has priced it accordingly. At the time of blogging, its 88 euro a bottle release price, equates to £850 per case of 12. This is a 50% premium on 2006 and 2008, with only 2005, 2009 and 2010 vintages currently in excess of this. Liv-Ex analysis on this can be found here.
Château Tronquoy Lalande, St Estèphe, 2014.
Deep and saturated; very dark; loaded with extract and matter; black cherry; graphite and genuine depth; glossy and very enticing; freshness too; black cherry and kirsch notes on the palate but with freshness; lots of matter and extract; plenty here and really concentrated; plenty of depth to the fruit; stylish; chew on the finish but tannins ripe. [56% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc, 14% alc, 25% new oak]. Drink 2019-2030. 90-92+
La Dame de Montrose, St Estèphe, 2014
Deep and dark; black cherry and plum tones; lots of fruit and freshness; kirsch and summer compote; lots going on aromatically which suggests a very positive future; some stalky blackcurrant fruit tones too; caressing and positive palate; plenty of matter but round and enveloping tannins; Merlot more dominant on the palate; grip and chew on the finish. [50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, 14% alc, 37% of production]. Drink 2019-2028. 91-93
Château Montrose, Grand Cru Classé, St Estèphe, 2014.
Deep and extracted look; very opaque; tight to the rim; freshness; purple hues; very focused and layered on the nose; really concentrated; perfumed and pretty blackcurrant and cassis tones; very pure and attractive; little more wood evident on the palate but lots of elements; super extract and depth; layer upon layer of fruit; terrific concentration and power here; quite epic. Glossy and caressing. Magnificent wine. Has the whiff of immortality about it. On par with 2010 for me. [61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot, 13.7% alc, 47% of production, 60% new oak.]. Drink 2023-2040. 96-98+