Wine Details for 2016 Montrose
|Type of Wine||
: 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
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.
: Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.
For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.
France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.
France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.
: 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!
: 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.
Jeb Dunnuck | 100 JD
Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2016 Montrose is a little youthfully shy to begin, but with coaxing, it unfurls to reveal the most beguiling scents of wilted roses, oolong tea, crushed rocks, wild sage, star anise and candied violets over a wonderfully pristine, well-defined core of crushed blackcurrants, black raspberries and kirsch plus wafts of pencil lead and wood smoke. The taut, muscular, medium to full-bodied palate straddles jaw-dropping intensity and finesse superbly, featuring a solid backbone of ripe tannins and giving a firm frame right through the incredibly long, exquisitely nuanced finish.
Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 99 RP
Now owned by the Bouygues family and managed by Hervé Berland, formerly at Mouton Rothschild, Montrose is one of the finest classed growths. Structured, long-living, this needs time to settle and open up but will be stunning. Pure dark currant and berry fruit, mineral and menthol notes, glossy oak and tannins and a lingering finish suggest this may be the finest Montrose since 1990. (Drink between 2025-2050)
Decanter | 98 DEC
The floral and fresh aromas to this are mesmerizing. Roses and lilacs galore. The pure cab aromas coming from the glass – blackcurrants and blackberries – are so memorable. Full-bodied, deep and profound. The ultra-fine tannins on the palate are so polished and fine-grained. The finish goes on for minutes with subtle yet superb fruit. It’s all about precision and form here. A modern classic for Montrose. Better after 2026.
James Suckling | 98 JS
The 2016 Montrose is every bit as impressive as it was from barrel, maybe more. Tightly wound and vertical, with remarkable intensity, the 2016 is simply magnificent. The tannins are there, but they are nearly buried by the sheer intensity of the fruit. All the elements are impeccably balanced in a wine of pedigree, depth and character. The 2016 is going to need a number of years to be at its best, but it is clearly a very special wine in the making. In a word: dazzling.
Antonio Galloni | 98 AG
While this wine’s tannins are powerful. they are buried in a surprisingly soft texture of rich black fruits. With both structure and ripe blackberry flavors, the wine is already balanced. A juicy aftertaste lifts the tannins, pushing the wine into greatness. Drink from 2025.
Wine Enthusiast | 97 WE
Very pure, with lilac, violet, cassis, bitter cherry and damson plum notes streaming through in lockstep right from the start. A fine chalky underpinning gives the finish a sleek and racy edge. A beautifully precise wine, with a lot in reserve, that could benefit from a little added weight in the cellar. Best from 2025 through 2040.
Wine Spectator | 96 WS