The 2017 La Dame de Montrose represents 40% of the total production this year. The Merlot, which constitutes nearly half the blend, occupies the driving seat on the nose with copious black cherry, raspberry and cedar scents that blossom in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with a ripe, almost confit-like entry. It feels harmonious with fine tannin, perhaps not the length of say the 2014 or 2016 La Dame de Montrose, a little more compact in style at the moment, loosening up and gaining more harmony by the time of my second visit in mid-April. It certainly has pleasing purity and it should drink well over the next decade. Drinking range: 2019 - 2030 Rating: 88-90 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (May 2018)
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49% Merlot, 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot. Deep crimson. Much more scented than the Tronquoy-Lalande, lovely dark fruit on the nose. But still with that savoury graphite quality of the grand vin. Fully ripe but not sweet. Even a touch floral. Silky texture, tannins are so supple. Lightish but juicy on the mid palate and with a good balance between fruit and freshness even in this lighter mode. Drinking range: 2022 - 2030 Rating: 16.5 Julia Harding MW, www.JancisRobinson.com (Apr 2018)
Composed of 49% Merlot, 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot, the 2017 La Dame de Montrose is deep garnet-purple colored with a very fragrant nose of violets, lavender and dark chocolate over a core of cassis, Provence herbs and smoked meats. The palate is medium-bodied and very refreshing with ripe, very soft tannins, elegant and refined with a perfumed finish. Rating: 89-91 Lisa Perrotti-Brown, RobertParker.com (Apr 2018)
This has more Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend this year, the highest level since 2006, because the Merlot didn't quite make it through the September rains unscathed. The wine is correspondingly powerful with a robust accompanying acidity that promises a long life. The fruit character is savoury, succulent and extremely persistent, with fleshy blackberry alongside touches of redcurrant and a pulsating freshness that keeps on coming. Harvested 12-29 September with twelve days spent actually picking, compared to sixteen days over the last few years, with more hands on deck. They have never been affected by frost, as far as they can remember, and 2017 was no exception. The wind is always such a benefit here. A normal yield of 45hl/ha, 37% of which was for the grand vin. 60% new oak. Drinking range: 2025 - 2040 Rating: 96 Jane Anson, Decanter (Apr 2018)
Looking at the second wine of the estate, the 2017 La Dame De Montrose is a Merlot-heavy blend that includes 43% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% each of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. This deep, inky-colored effort boasts textbook sweet black cherry, damp earth, tobacco, and hints of flowers in a dark, medium-bodied, impressively concentrated package. It’s impressive. Rating: 90-92 Jeb Dunnuck, www.jebdunnuck.com (Apr 2018)
A juicy and savory second wine with blackberry, blueberry and wet-earth character. Medium-bodied, tight and silky. Fresh finish. Rating: 91-92 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (Apr 2018)
The second wine of Montrose has the same picking dates as the grand vin of course. The blend here is 49% Merlot, 43% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% each Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. This shows the strength of Cabernet Sauvignon (or perhaps the weakness of Merlot) in this vintage, as the blend here is usually more based on Merlot. There is a beautifully dusty, fragrant, flower-petal perfume here, with notes of scented black cherry stone. The palate shows real freshness and accessibility, with quite charming, sweet, crushed black-cherry fruits, swirled with a little black olive, praline and toast, within which hides a fine central seam of very soft, elegant tannins. It is freshly balanced, with a harmony and charm which both persist through the finish. That aromatic character should evolve beautifully. Rating: 92-94 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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