The 2017 Montrose represents 37% of the total production this year and it was cropped at around 45hl/ha. It has a little more volume and intensity compared to the Cos d’Estournel that was tasted immediately prior to my visit. Blackberry, raspberry, cedar and pressed flowers bloom in the glass, though there is a noticeable change with aeration after 20 minutes – hints of juniper and bay leaf, rendering a more nuanced and complex array of aromatics. The palate is medium-bodied with edgy tannin and it feels a little chalky in the mouth, yet also tensile and certainly extremely focused. There is already a palpable sense of energy in situ, well structured and vivid, though not as complex or as nuanced as the 2016 Montrose on the finish since the growing season forbade that. I appreciate the pastille-like purity on the aftertaste and the potent tang of cracked black pepper and graphite that hang around for 45 seconds after the wine has departed. It is a fine, very classic Montrose and I suspect more approachable than those of yesteryear. Tasted twice at the château. Drinking range: 2022 - 2045 Rating: 94-96 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (May 2018)
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76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot, harvested by their regular team of 100 Spanish pickers who stay at the property – up from 60 in 2014. There's work in the vines when they are waiting to pick. During harvest (12–29 September this year) there's 170 for lunch! Deep crimson. Sober but intense black fruit. On the palate, elegant and attractive dusty character, incredibly fine tannins, so supple, refined, juicy and long. Not opulent but not at all dry. Should have a long drinking window. Drinking range: 2025 - 2045 Rating: 17.5 Julia Harding MW, www.JancisRobinson.com (Apr 2018)
The 2017 Montrose is a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. Deep purple-black in color, the nose is a little closed at first, but with coaxing, it opens to reveal remarkable earth and exotic spice notes of crushed rocks, black truffles, star anise, cassia and fenugreek over a core of crème de cassis, blackberry preserves, violets and blueberry pie with touches of cigar box, charcuterie and black soil. Medium-bodied with a rock-solid frame and an exquisitely ripe, very fine-grained texture, it has wonderful freshness with electric energy and a very long, minerally finish. Possessing great poise and intensity, this is one of the greatest Montrose's I have tasted! Rating: 96-99 Lisa Perrotti-Brown, RobertParker.com (Apr 2018)
The Grand Vin 2017 Château Montrose is 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. It has a sensational Cabernet Sauvignon profile and offers abundant blue fruits, sweet black cherries, leafy herbs, and liquid violet-like aromas and flavors. These carry to a medium to full-bodied, concentrated Saint-Estèphe that has remarkable purity, a rock solid mid-palate, integrated acidity, and a great finish. It certainly shows the cooler, pure side to the vintage, yet has plenty of textural richness and depth. It should be drinkable with just short-term cellaring and age beautifully. Rating: 93-95 Jeb Dunnuck, www.jebdunnuck.com (Apr 2018)
This is pure and tight with gorgeous cabernet sauvignon character of blackcurrants, blueberries and crushed stones. Full-bodied, yet compacted and polished. It shows a long and beautiful tannin texture at the end. Just rolls off the palate. Rating: 96 - 97 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (Apr 2018)
This has nice breadth, with cherry and cassis notes moving through atop light tobacco and warm earth flavors. Very bright savory and iron elements add lift and cut through the finish. Tight, but everything is in place. Rating: 91-94 James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator (Apr 2018)
In this vintage the team at Montrose were able to enhance the precision of their selection even further than before, following the installation of additional small vats, some with a volume of just 13 hectolitres, so that they now have 82 stainless steel vats in total. The harvest was thus picked in 82 lots, coming from 89 hectares of vines currently in production, so nearly one hectare per vat. The fruit was picked from September 12th onwards, finishing on September 29th, although there were in fact just twelve days of active picking. The rapid completion of the harvest is down to the expansion in the picking team, previously up from 60 to 80, and now up again to 100 members. The grand vin takes 37% of the crop, less than 40% being the in-house target, and it is strong on Cabernet Sauvignon, at 76% of the blend, the last time a vintage had this sort of contribution from this variety was back in 2006. The balance is 20% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. It has a very fine and very lightly dusty concentration on the nose, with notes of white flower petals and grained black cherry fruit, wrapped in a subtle praline toast. There follows a remarkably broad and composed palate, fresh and pure, possessing a supple texture and breadth, carrying notes of black olive and damson fruits, with a little hedgerow complexity, along with a deeply buried bed of ripe, polished and velvety tannins. This is a wine of real charm and precision, with both elegance and structure, and a medium-bodied finesse. And it is long, with an elegant tannic grip in the finish. Rating: 94-96 Chris Kissack, www.thewinedoctor.com (Apr 2018)
St Estèphe Deuxième cru 1855 Wine production St Estèphe developed much later than further south in the Haut-Médoc - indeed, the vineyards of Château Montrose were not planted until 1815, when it was then part of the Calon-Ségur estate. Only 40 years later, not only had Montrose seperated from its parent, it had surpassed it, being one of only two St Estèphe estates to be awarded 2nd Growth status in the 1855 classification. Montrose sits nearer the river than Cos d'Estournel on classic Haut-Médoc gravel soil - the last outcrop as you head north. The 65ha of vines are 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. The Grand Vin spends 18 months in wood (70% new). A second wine was introduced in 1983 - La Dame de Montrose - aged in wood for 12 months (20% new). Montrose is a noted performer in weaker vintages, possibly because of a generous micro-climate which allows slightly earlier picking than most of the Haut-Médoc. The wines age brilliantly.
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