1990 Montrose

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Product ID
1990-montrose

Wine Critic Reviews for 1990 Montrose

The final blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc was harvested between September 14 and October 3. The spring was cold, yet summer was extremely hot and dry – one of the hottest vintages since 1949. The fact that virtually no rain fell in September served as a catalyst to get all the grapes ripe and in cellars. Some bottles of this wine have a definite brett population that gives off the notes of sweaty horses, but this one did not. The ones I have had from my cellar – where I have had it frequently – are quite pure and clean. I suspect that the brett population is in all of them, but unless the wine hits some heat along the transportation route or in storage, the wine will not show any brett. This one tasted at the chateau, as well as those I’ve had from my cellar, have been pristine and not showing the sweaty horse notes that can be in evidence in brett populations that have flourished in the bottle because of external temperatures. This wine has an incredibly complex nose of spring flowers, blackberry and cassis liqueur, scorched earth and barbecue spice. It is full-bodied, majestic and opulent, with low acidity and fabulous fruit. It is close to full maturity. The wine should continue to drink well for at least another 30 or more years, but it is showing secondary nuances in the perfume. The wine is absolutely magnificent, broad, savory and mouth-filling. This is one of the all-time modern legends from Bordeaux as well as Chateau Montrose.

Robert Parker | 100 RP
(Château Montrose) The 1990 Montrose is justly famous, but in my experience, it has only been a hair superior to the underrated 1989 here, and I have never understood the price differential in the market of the two wines. This most recent bottle of the 1990 was drunk out for the night in Napa Valley, where it showed very well indeed, offering up a deep and powerful bouquet of black cherries, sweet cassis, a touch of currant leaf, dark soil tones, cigar smoke and a fair bit of toasty new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and shows off truly exceptional depth at the core, with ripe, moderate tannins, fine focus and grip and a long, well-balanced and complex finish. There is just a touch of brett on the backend here, but it is very modest and does not detract from the very serious pleasure that this wine is beginning to deliver. (Drink between 2016-2050).

John Gilman | 95 JG
Full ruby-red. Wild, exotic aromas of crystallized redcurrant, leather, tobacco and minerals; distinctly exotic, even overripe. Then lush, sweet and opulent, with an atypically velvety texture for Montrose. But extremely young and structured, finishing with powerful tannins and great grip and length. Almost California-like in style; in Bordeaux, they'd refer to the fruit expression of this wine as "original," which is not necessarily high praise. Drink 2008 through 2030.

Vinous Media | 95 VM
Dark in color with decadent aromas of ripe fruit, earth and amazing mint and spearmint undertones, yet there's also an underlying meaty funkiness. Full-bodied, with layers of very ripe fruit and velvety tannins. Massive and caressing. A big, powerful wine. Like velvet.--Non-blind Château Montrose vertical. Drink now. 18,000 cases made.

Wine Spectator | 94 WS

Wine Details on 1990 Montrose

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Producer Chateau Montrose: Much like all of Bordeaux, there is a long, and illustrious history of Chateau Montrose. Originally a hunting ground owned by Alexandre de Segur, who also owned the prestigious properties of Chateau Lafite, Mouton, and Latour; the property was gifted to his son, then sold, finally resting in the hands of Etienne Theodore Dumoulin. He realized the potential of its unique, hillside, gravel terroir, which was carved from the estate of Calon Segur. What Dumoulin noticed then is thought of as one of the best terroirs in all of Bordeaux today. This was the true birth of Chateau Montrose.

By 1815, Montrose was on its way to being one of the top vineyards in Saint Estephe. Often referred to as Mont Rose by the traveling sailors as the hillside that the chateau rests on would turn the color of pink when the heather was in flower. Given pink is rose in French, it was appropriately coined and eventually Montrose was stamped on the Left Bank property by the Dumoulin family. Though the property again sold in 1861, the Dumoulin family was instrumental in birthing this now esteemed estate.

Over the years, the chateau would sell and trade hands a multitude of times; however, never to the detriment of the quality of wine. The estate continued to prosper, offering rich, powerful, full bodied wines that epitomize classic Bordeaux. Eventually, in 2006 the estate would fall into the welcoming hands of Thomas Bouygues. Bouygues had previously tasted the 1989 vintage and was awestruck. He vowed to purchase the property should it ever come up for sale and that was exactly what happened. With an eager and ambitious desire to continue the success of the property he began to install key personnel to oversee vineyard operations and winemaking at Chateau Montrose.

Bouygues hired Jean Bernard Delmas, previous director of Chateau Haut Brion, then brought in Herve Berland as the vineyard manager, who spent four decades at Chateau Mouton Rothschild. Major improvements to the estate began to place with the installation of ultrasonic waves to protect against hail storms, geothermal pumping technology and the addition of solar panels, striving to become as green and energy efficient as possible. The modern era of this Medoc estate was formed and much to the diligent and determined efforts of Bouygues.

Of the 95-hectare Bordeaux vineyard, 88-90 hectares of which are always in production, contains 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. The gravely, clay soil, the elevation at which the vines are planted and the influence of wind and moisture from the Gironde gives Montrose its own unique micro-climate. The grand Left Bank terroir is expressed through the wine itself, as it boasts a powerful, bold and opulent character. 19,000 cases are produced annually and are quickly pried from the market by enthusiast and collectors alike, wanting to bolster their cellars with prestigious wines. Proud and careful hands have tended to Chateau Montrose over a rich and exciting history and is today recognized as one of the top estates in all of Bordeaux.
Region Bordeaux: Even among the greatest and most reputable wine regions on the planet, Bordeaux stands above the rest. The winemakers of this region have a single-minded dedication to the fine art of viticulture and their efforts never fail to show. If you consider yourself a fine wine enthusiast, you owe it to yourself to visit Bordeaux - life changing. Whether you wish to drink some inspirational and gripping wine as soon as possible, or you want to add some masterpieces to your collection, no region on Earth is a more obvious choice.

The noble and beautiful Garonne and Dordogne rivers surge through southwestern France, enriching the soil in a way very few other places can boast. The limestone-based earth is rich in calcium, and the almost oceanic climate conditions give the staple Bordeaux grape varietals vigor and flavor like nowhere else. For their illustrious reds, Bordeaux winemakers rely on a proven combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Meanwhile, a sip of their excellent white wine hints at the use of Semillon, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc.Each of these varietals carries a unique identity, making every quality wine a character piece to rival Citizen Kane. It can be incredibly hard to choose only a few wines to collect for your cellar!
Country France: Words fail us when trying to adequately portray France's place in the world of wine. It's downright impossible to imagine what wine would feel and taste like had it not been for France's many, many viticultural pioneers. Fine wine is the blood of France's vigorously beating heart, and it finds itself in many aspects of French culture. With a viticultural history that dates all the way back to the 6th century BC, France now enjoys its position as the most famous and reputable wine region on the planet. If you have a burning passion for masterfully crafted, mouth-watering, mind-expanding wines, then regular visits to France are probably already in your schedule, and for a good reason.
Type of Wine Bordeaux Red: Picture in your mind a combination of cedar, lead pencil, blackcurrant, plum and mineral aromatics, and texture that caresses your palate like a playful lover. The experience is thrilling from the first whiff to the final seconds of a tannic, generous finish - that is what you'll get from a Bordeaux Red
Varietal Red Bordeaux Blend: The inhabitants of the Bordeaux region of France have been cultivating wine-grapes for thousands of years. Ancient Roman ruins litter the vineyards from Saint Emilion to Graves where the art of blending Bordeaux varietals has been practiced and perfected over a very long history. Bordeaux’s climate, terroir and soils, though varied, provide the optimal growing conditions for the red grape varietals planted in the region.

Rarely listed on the labels as “blend,” the red wines of Bordeaux are perhaps the most artfully designed and celebrated in the world. The calculated art of blending the native Bordeaux varietals is impressively accomplished in the most famous winegrowing region in the world. The phrase Bordeaux Blend which seems to have been coined by British wine merchants in the 19th Century relates as much to wines made from the blend as to the grape variety combination itself.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and occasionally Carmenere are the lead characters in the creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. Each plays a part in their own fashion and implemented in various combinations and percentages in each appellation within Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux Blends are majorly composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, roughly making up 90% of all Bordeaux Blends. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (occasionally Carmenere) are also important components and vital to the production of the region’s red wines.

For simplicity, the winegrowing region of Bordeaux can be divided into three main appellations producing Red Bordeaux Blends; the Left Bank (Medoc), Right Bank and Pessac-Leognan (Graves). The Left Bank has a terroir comprised of a wide variety of gravel, stones, sand, limestone and clay soils on a natural terrain of gentle slopes. This sets the stage perfectly for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the dominant grape of the Left Bank. For example, Chateau Lafite (Paulliac) is composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Right Bank is dominated by clay and limestone with sand and gravel, but the clay in the Right Bank is distinctly its own and adds to the health, growth and vitality of the vines of the varietals grown here. Right Bank wines are typically 80% Merlot-based, which are often denser, richer and mature earlier than those of the Left Bank (with exceptions – Petrus for example). Merlot is a vital component to Pomerol winegrowing and making. Cabernet Franc also plays a major role in the Right Bank, most notably, in Saint Emilion, where the infamous vineyards of Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc are planted to 55% and 52% Cabernet Franc, respectively. Chateaux that produce wines with a majority of Cabernet Franc are considered “old school” producers, but have perfected the use of Cabernet Franc, which was originally used as a blending grape.

Pessac-Leognan (Graves) enjoys a temperate climate, natural hygrometry influenced by the ocean, and has a terroir composed of gravelly soil over a clay subsoil on sloping, hilly terrain. Natural drainage due to the hilly terrain as well as the gravelly soil structure are perfectly attuned to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape vine, which prospers under these conditions. Pessac reaps the benefits of having the terroir of both the Left and Right Bank as it contains gravel and clay. The clay sub-soil allows the growth and success of Merlot, as well as Cabernet Franc. It is home to the only First Growth not in the Medoc. The 50-hectare vineyard of Haut Brion is planted to 45.4% Merlot, 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.

The percentage of Petit Verdot and Malbec may be lesser in quantity, but not in quality. They are vital to the region’s creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. The combination of Bordeaux varietals is legendary in the region, around the world and has influenced winegrowers worldwide to plant and vinify wines which resemble those of Red Bordeaux Blends.

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