You could say that Château Montrose is a typical St Estèphe in 2013. It is muscular and structured with density as well as acidity and grip. It is bold for the vintage. Yet this serious effort is exactly that. It is solemn and lacks a bit of charm and immediate appeal. It is certainly a longer-term wine than many in the vintage. The estate compares it to 1998. La Dame de Montrose has fruity aromatics and a structured palate with plenty of grip. Chateau Tronquoy-Lalande is vibrant and sappy.
One of the things that is immediately evident if you visit Château Montrose is the remarkable terroir, a large continuous bloc of vines growing on a plateau of pebbles, stones and clay, sat reasonably high up, well above the surrounding area, that slopes gently towards the river Gironde. This enviable terroir seems to allow Montrose to have the best of both worlds: make excellent in good vintages, produce truly exceptional wine in hot vintages , but, equally, turn in a surprisingly good hand in difficult vintages. In 2013 this well-ventilated land, reasonably high up [in Médoc terms at least], was helpful in keeping the grapes dry and the Cabernet Sauvignon free of botrytis. It also enabled another late vintage here, extracting every final degree of ripeness, with the final harvest completed on October 16.
With the difficulties on the Merlot [reduced yield through coulure and millerandage in 2013] and its greater susceptibility to the season’s rot, it is certainly the Cabernet Sauvignon that comes through in the blend [68% of the mix]. If this accounts for its structure and gravity, it also accounts for its currently rather solemn, po-faced quality. Still Montrose is nothing if not long-lived, so perhaps this is one 2013 that really will need age in bottle to show its best.
The following wines were tasted at Château Montrose on March 31, 2014.
Château Montrose, Grand Cru Classé, St Estèphe
Deep and saturated; lively and vibrant at the edge; blackcurrants and expensive oak aromas; quite closed on the day but depth apparent; some cassis and clean, fresh blackcurrant tones on aeration; dense and chewy palate which needs to settle; boldly structured with lots of grip and acidity. Sappy finish with quite a bit of chew. Feels long term effort if rather serious and lacking in immediate charm. [68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 13% alc, 60% of production]. Drink 2020-2035. 90-92
La Dame de Montrose, St Estèphe
Mid depth; little looser at the edge than Montrose itself; legs; lots of fruit on the nose, red fruits – raspberries and redcurrants – also some sweet cherry tones; warmer and more overt than Tronquoy-Lalande; lots of fruit and material; some sweetness; acidity and structure evident – structure more obvious than usual. Finishes with grip and chew. Strutured and grippy La Dame. [69% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 13% alc, 28% of production]. Drink 2018-2028. 86-88
Château Tronquoy-Lalande, St Estèphe
Deep colour; vibrant at edge; fresh looking; cassis, some cranberry and sweet cherry; attractive and perfumed aromas; little saline touch; spicy characters on the palate, full-ish with good tension; vibrant with zap at the end. Good effort. [52% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 13% alc, 89% of production]. Drink 2018-2028. 85-87+