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Bordeaux 2015: Château Montrose

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

IMG_0862Château Montrose occupies a wonderful position in St Estèphe, a single continuous vineyard that slopes gently toward the Gironde estuary. Legend has it that the name ‘Mont Rose’ derives from the pink coloured heather that used to occupy the spot before it was turned over to vine. Montrose, along with Latour and Mouton Rothschild, produces some of the boldest, most age-worthy red wine on the planet. The 2015 here is impressive. It’s a whisker off the remarkable wine made at Montrose in 2014, though quite different in style.

There has been much investment here at Château Montrose since the property was purchased by the Bouygues brothers [Martin and Olivier] in 2006. Not only has money been spent in the vineyard and cellar but much thought has gone into reducing the environmental footprint of the property. Montrose’s director Hervé Berland is a worthy successor to Jean-Bernard Delmas and you can feel the ambition here to make the very best possible wine, ambition currently being realised.

The 2015 is impressive, the product of a fine growing season, though partially rained on here in St Estèphe during September. Still Château Montrose’s vineyards are well-drained and being situated on a hill [a hill in Médocian terms] the exposure also lets it benefit from drying winds. The harvest began on September 15 and ended on October 8.

Montrose 2015 is delicious and lush with plenty of volume. It has excellent length. Its harmony and balance make it seem as if it has less scale than the 2014 tasted at the same stage last year [from memory], but it makes up for that in terms of sheer beauty. This Montrose represents only 31% of the harvest, a pretty severe selection. Second wine La Dame de Montrose displays a lot of black cherry fruit and has enticing freshness. There’s more Merlot in the blend [the plum and black cherry notes] and La Dame accounts for 41% of production. The rest goes into the property’s third wine.

Prices at Montrose are up on 2014 [so snap up any of that previous vintage you still see remaining – the wine is a belter]. If you can afford the mark-up [34% in UK terms] 2015 has a uniquely seductive beauty, and after elévage may even pip 2014 who knows. While we’re not quite at the scale of the remarkable duo of 2009 and 2010 here, there is something of an echo of those vintages in these last two from Montrose. It will be fascinating to see how they both develop down the years.

Château Tronquoy-Lalande continues to impress. This is a joyful, creamy St Estèphe in 2015. This property has gone from strength to strength in recent years and is good value for money given the price to quality ratio.

The following wines were tasted at Château Montrose on Monday 4th April, 2016

Château Tronquoy-Lalande, St Estèphe

Deep and arterial; very black; concentrated at edge; opaque at centre; lovely sweet black cherry and blackcurrant tones; creamy notes; really joyful; full palate with lots of freshness and sap; black cherry; mineral notes; schist almost; chewy fruit; lots of extract but nicely done. [55% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 13.8% alc]. Drink 2023-2030. 89-91

La Dame de Montrose, St Estèphe

Deep and attractive; opaque at centre; lovely creamy cherry notes; very exciting; very plush indeed; round palate; plenty of weight but also the elements held up in the air by freshness and acidity; a wine on tiptoes; minerality on the finish; stones; nice sap on the finish. [55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 13.4% alc]. Drink 2023-2030. 90-92+

Château Montrose, Grand Cru Classé, St Estèphe

Deep and arterial; colour right up to the rim; vibrant purple; lovely lush qualities; deep – very deep indeed; legs; black fruits – ripe black cherries; some smoke – but remarkable purity; very layered; [volume seriously turned up in this wine]; pretty profound stuff; very full – certainly – round too; lots of matter and extract but not extracted; powerful. 65% new oak. Lovely wine – almost the equal qualitatively of 2014 [but stylistically very contrasting reflecting the very different growing season]. Lovely grip and length. [67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2025-2045. 95-97

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