La Dame de Montrose 2015
• Domaine: Château Montrose
• Appellation: Saint-Estèphe
• Classification: Second Wine, Second Growth, 2ème Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
Château Montrose is a force to be reckoned with. Nicknamed the "Latour of St-Estéphe," these wines are hyper-masculine dynamos with extraordinary concentration. These wines don’t ask for time in the cellar -- they demand it. For those who wish to experience the viticultural prowess of Château Montrose but are not willing to wait, La Dame de Montrose is the perfect choice. This more accessible second wine has the same power as its counterpart but can be enjoyed in its youth.
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. La Dame de Montrose was created in 1983 as an homage to Yvonne Charmolüe, who ran Château Montrose by herself from 1944 to 1960. In the 21st Century, Château Montrose was acquired by the Bouygues family after Thomas Bouygues tasted the exalted vintage of 1989 Château Montrose. It was his dream to purchase the property, and in 2006 the dream came true. 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.
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. Le Dame de Montrose is made with the same rigorous approach as the grand vin from grapes grown in the same vineyard. Merlot is the dominant varietal in this wine, making it more accessible than the grand vin. There is a distinctively supple, red fruit quality – making it the perfect introduction to one of the most impressive properties in Saint-Estèphe.
"The 2015 La Dame de Montrose is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot that was picked between 15 September and 8 October. It has a perfumed, floral and pure bouquet with black cherries, blueberry and violets, all with commendable delineation for a deuxième vin. The palate is well balanced with a more sumptuous texture compared to its fellow Saint Estèphes, thanks to that lush Merlot that forms the core of this wine. It has commendable energy and feels approachable, therefore with 3-4 years in bottle, you should have yourself a fine if not exceptional La Dame de Montrose." - Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate, Ratings: 88-90, Drink: 2019-2032