Château Montrose 2015
Château Montrose is a force to be reckoned with. Nicknamed the "Latour of St-Estéphe," these wines are hyper-masculine dynamos with extraordinary concentration. They are often described as, "enormous," with very impressive tannins after decades of ageing. These wines don’t ask for time in the cellar -- they demand it.
This esteemed Second Growth was known as a hunting area before it was acquired by the legendary Alexandre Segur in the 18th Century. Alexandre had a lot of experience in the wine trade. He was the proud owner of Château Lafite, Château Mouton, and Château Latour. Château Montrose was part of a much larger property that Alexandre Segur had acquired called Château Calon Segur. He gave the property to his son who sold it to Etienne Durmoulin.
Eventually, Etienne Durmoulin created Château Montrose because the terroir was different from the surrounding area. Château Montrose received its namesake because of the pink heather that grew on the surrounding hillside. When it bloomed, the hill burst into various shades of shocking pink. The French word for “pink” is rose, and thus the estate earned its name, “Mont Rose,” – or the pink mountain. The estate was classified as a Second Growth in 1855 and acquired by the Charmolue family. Louis Charmolue was born at the esteemed St-Emilion producer, Château Figeac. Château Montrose stayed in possession of the Charmolue family for three generations. Under their leadership, the Château became one of the first properties in Bordeaux to bottle wine at their own estate.
In the 21st Century, Château Montrose was acquired by the Bouygues family after Thomas Bouygues tasted the exalted vintage of 1989 Château Montrose. He loved the wine so much he decided if he ever could, he would purchase Château Montrose someday. His dreams came true when the opportunity presented itself in 2006 and he eagerly bought the estate. The Bouygues family hired a viticultural dream team that included Jean Bernard Delmas, the previous executive director from Château Haut-Brion and Herve Berland of Château Mouton Rothschild as gerant or manager. They made sweeping changes to the estate. Most notably, they wanted Château Montrose to be as environmentally sustainable as possible.
Château Montrose primarily uses geothermal energy to run its operations, with additional solar and wind energy as well. The estate also uses a hail canon that sends out ultrasonic waves to protect the vineyard from damage caused by hailstorms that plague Bordeaux. The team at Château Montrose has also set the goal to be 100% organically farmed by 2025 -- an impressive feat for this 95-hectare vineyard. The porous soil contains 60% of Cabernet Sauvignon plantings, 32% Merlot plantings, 6% Cabernet Franc plantings and 2% Petit Verdot plantings.
These beautifully firm and complex wines can last for decades and are certainly not ones to drink in their youth. Many who have been fortunate enough to taste the 1921 vintage still say it’s in great shape! With the new winemaking team at Château Montrose, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for the future.
"The 2015 Montrose is a blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc that was picked between 15 September and 8 October, the fruit sorted three times using three sorting tables, then an optical sorting machine and finally by hand. Matured in 65% new oak, it possesses some of the best aromatics you will find in the appéllation - billowing blackberry, cassis and boysenberry scents all beautifully defined and seamlessly integrated with the new oak. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, commendable depth and a vibrant bead of acidity that lends this Montrose tension from start to finish. The class comes through strongly in this wine, perhaps the best Saint Estèphe this year. Give this a decade in bottle, more if you can, since Montrose tends to repay cellaring." - Neal Martin, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (4/27/2016, Issue 224), Ratings: 93-95, Drink: 2025-2060
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