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Château Monbrison


Address: 1, Allee de Monbrison, 33460 Arsac

Telephone: +33 (0)5 56 58 80 04



Château Monbrison originally formed half of Château Desmirail in the nineteenth century before coming into the hands of Monsieur de Monbrison, after whom the Château is obviously named. In 1922 Robert Meacham Davis bought the property and his children and grand children are the present owners. Laurent Vonderheyden has managed the estate for the past fifteen years. For me this is lovely Margaux wine at an affordable price. It relies on elegance, perfume and pure fruit rather than extraction. The 2009, like a great many of the appellations wines, is a great success here. It is also great value too.

Vineyard/Soil: 13 hectares planted with 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot on gravel soils.

Winemaking/Elevage: Fermentation in enamel lines stainless steel vats with temperature control, fermented warm at 32-33C, followed by long cuvasion [maceration] and then barrel aged in up to 50% new oak in the best years.

  • 2015 Deepish; purple at edge; lovely pure aromatics; pretty fruit and very Margaux; seductive; cool blackcurrants on the palate with some cherry tones; nicely done; lovely freshness; little chewy on the finish but the fruit is here; likely a good value buy. [57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot]. Drink 2020-2028. 89-91
  • 2014 Mid depth; vibrant edge; attractive blackcurrant Cabernet tones; pure; less worked and fresher style; some delicacy on the palate; freshness; more delicate; not as rich as some; tight at present; doubtless will fill out but freshly styled [read grippy at present]. [72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot]. Drink 2020-2028. Tasted 31 March, 2015 at UGC. 85-87
  • 2013 Mid depth; translucent at centre; some perfume and light blackcurrant aromatics; cool palate; elegant but with quite high acidity; freshly styled and grippy too but [thankfully] not extracted. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot]. Tasted UGCB April 2014. Drink 2018-2025. 85-87
  • 2012 Mid depth; some spice and wet rock notes; easy entry but less flesh on the bones than some; nevertheless elegance and some style with attractive sap. May flesh out in bottle. Drink 2016-2025. 86+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep colour; some fresh Cabernet fruit; spices; palate spicy, less lush than many; feels more angular and tannic. Dry on the finish. Not a success for Monbrison on the basis of this sample. Inconsistent notes. 85-86? UGC April 11, 2013 [Earlier note] Deep, vibrant edge; legs; some pure fruit, some violet perfume; nice layers here; fat Merlot; vibrant palate with some acid and maybe a little angularity from the Cabernet coming through, 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot and 3% Petot Verdot. 13 degrees. 87-88 Tasted UGC April 9, 2013. Drink 2018-2030
  • 2011 Mid depth; some violet lift with resin and ink; nice clean palate; fresh style; not that lean and boney. Elegant and not extracted. Drink 2014-2021. 87 UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier] Mid depth; quite hard note on the nose, cassis too and some blackcurrant on aeration; weight; stone fruit; but hardness beneath. Feels lean.  85-86 UGC Apr ’12 Drink 2020-2025
  • 2010 Quite dense; some chocolate; plum; feels deep; more blackcurrant notes on the palate; slightly stewed character; chewy finish with grip. Less exciting here than in ’09. Solid rather than memorable. 87/100 [Earlier] Deep and dark; little more traditional; some stalky notes but with violets and blackcurrants; richness here and some sumptuousness on the palate; fragrance and attractive too; good life here again; depth and fragrance. Good length. Should be a good buy. 87-88+/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 [Second tasting] Quite dense, legs; cool, some violets, fresh and cassis too; palate grippy with strong acid needs a bit more flesh. Quite chewy this sample. Promising if the tannin melds a bit. 87-89/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 at UGC. Drink 2015-2025
  • 2009 Deep and dense; legs; ripe looking; thick, some liquorice but feels deep; this wine has certainly gained weight during elevage maybe at the expense of finesse but nevertheless lots of blackcurrant fruit, liquorice and mocha tones; this is a very good buy in 2009. Chewy and grippy on the finish but lots of ripe fruit here. Overall impressive effort. 90-91/100 [Earlier] Deep colour; tight to edge; stalky and floral nose; more typical of Margaux; not overdone; a little high toned; blackcurrants; palate sweet, nice entry, fine and elegant; quite perfumed. Good structure with good acid. Not showy but very fine Margaux. You can drink this, not a big point scorer but I’d buy it for its fragrance and lovely balance. 92+/100 [Second] Dense colour; rich; intense; floral violets, perfume and fragrance; very attractive nose; not big and extracted but very sumptuous and full; palate fresh with good structure; tannins not overdone. This is very fine Margaux and one of the best values I’d imagine in this commune. Not as big as the last three[which were Rauzan Ségla, Lascombes and Marquis-de-Terme ’09 for reference!] but extremely fine and in a more traditional less extracted style. Well done! 92-93+/100 [13.7% alcohol, 59% Cabernet Sauvignon 36% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot] Tasted 30th March and 1st April 2010. Drink 2015-2030
  • 2008 Mid red; some depth; some resin bit a bit dumb; violets on the palate with blackcurrants; chocolate notes; some angularity here but better than Prieure Lichine tasted previously. Some depth and chew here with acid. This will come together.  86-88/100 UGC Oct ’10 Drink 2013-2018 
  • 2007 Mid red; quite elegant nose; some violets and perfume and spice; palate well structured and quite soft. Attractive and well styled, elegant and balanced. 86-88/100 Drink now-2017

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