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News

CHÂTEAU MONTROSE REVEALS ITS NEW BARREL HALL /

After an exceptional renovation project begun in 2007 and guided by a concern for sustainability, Château Montrose reveals its new face, unique in the Bordeaux region.

Martin and Olivier Bouygues, lovers of Château Montrose wines and confident in the estate’s infinite development potential, acquired this Médoc Grand Cru in 2006 and immediately invested substantial resources in enhancing and embellishing it.

 

An ambitious seven-year renovation programme without any interruption of activity

The project was led by Bouygues Rénovation Privée, experts in very high-end renovation projects, and Yves Grémont, an official French heritage architect. It was carried out by Atelier Bernard Mazières, a Bordeaux firm specialising in winery renovation.
The exceptional project took seven years, from 2007 to 2013, a timespan justified by the wish to respect the estate’s cycle of activity. The renovation met four major challenges set by Martin and Olivier Bouygues:

-to give Château Montrose the finest winemaking facilities, including a new main barrel hall where the premium wine can mature in ideal conditions,

-to identify and take advantage of every opportunity to save and produce energy, especially through a geothermal system and 3,000 m² of rooftop solar panels,

-to respect the environment and significantly reduce the estate’s carbon footprint,

-to preserve the overall architecture of Château Montrose in the typical 18th century Bordeaux style.

 

The main barrel hall, centrepiece of the renovation project

The renovation and extension programme at Château Montrose spans over 10,000 m² of working buildings, offices and reception rooms.
The main barrel hall, where Montrose’s first wine is matured, is the centrepiece of the project, combining cutting-edge technology with traditional XVIIIth century architecture.
Under an 11-metre-high ceiling, with very precisely controlled humidity and temperature and in an atmosphere of almost monastic silence, the 1,000-m² main barrel hall welcomed its first vintage in 2014: Château Montrose 2013.
 

 

Montrose releases with an ambitious 54% price hike / Montrose has released its 2014 vintage with a substantial price increase on the 2013.

Released at €88.80 per bottle ex-negociant, 54.2% higher than last year’s release, the rise marks a substantial premium on the majority of Montrose’s back vintages from the last decade, and is almost as expensive as the current price for the 2005.

Montrose releases with an ambitious 54% price hike

However, the wine is widely acknowledged as one of the best of the whole vintage, with Neal Martin awarding it 95-97 points, noting: “Dare I say, this is one grand vin that comes perilously close to matching the heights of the 2009 and 2010. This is a brilliant Montrose, one of the best you will find on the Left Bank this vintage.”

According to Joss Fowler at Fine & Rare: “It’s a fantastic wine. Is it worth buying? If you’re a fan of Montrose and want one of the wines of the vintage, then yes. If you’re concerned about relative value, then no.”

He added: “It’s an ambitious price but it depends on how much they want to sell of it.”

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History

In the first quarter of the late 18th century, Alexandre de Ségur owned the LATOUR, LAFITE and MOUTON estates. He was known as The Prince of vines » for he promoted his vineyards to a prestigious destiny and bequeathed them to his son, Nicolas Alexandre.

Due to his marriage, Nicolas de Ségur took possession of Château de Calon, and he enthusiastically said: I already make wine at Latour and Lafite, but my heart belongs to Calon. Like his father, he pulled up the estate by setting a high level of requirement and contributed to the prestige of his wines. Then in 1778, under Louis XVI’s reign, he sold CALON to Etienne DUMOULIN. Théodore, Etienne’s son, discovered in his fief a part of land known as « Lande d’Escargeon » covered with heather in pink bloom. Convinced that this deserted heath has hidden value, he cleared the land, planted vines and built a château. Thus was born Montrose which progressively acceded to the Gotha of Medoc’s wines.

 

In 1824, Théodore DUMOULIN sold Calon to Mr LESTAPIS but kept MONTROSE .Thirty one years later, in 1855, MONTROSE is classified Second Great Growth : a resounding success !

And yet,5 years after his death, his adopted children sold the estate. The new owner, Mathieu DOLLFUS, a visionary businessman, increased the technical potential  with an unconditional enthusiasm. Montrose deserves the best: he modified the château, built houses for the estate workers and new farm buildings; he installed huge bullock pens, stables, and accommodation for the coachmen and invested in an automatic system for horse feed distribution. He took the unusual step of providing social security for his workers with whom he also shared the estate’s profits, a very avant-garde behaviour for that time. This model estate looked like a village with narrow streets, squares, houses and workshops.

Since 2006 , the BOUYGUES brothers , Martin and Olivier, share  this same enthusiasm as theirs predecessors: to pursue with all their heart  the production of this great  and exceptional wine.

 

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Vineyards

Mid earth, such is the etymology of the word Medoc . This peninsula is located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gironde Estuary. Along this estuary, the Medoc vineyard streches out 80 kms long and 5 kms large.

The region is crossed by the 45° parallel and is situated between two water masses that provide a microclimate which is a great advantage to the vine culture. Hence Saint-Estèphe benefits from a quite hot and wet climate, with intense sun exposure and rather mild winters. The medoc vineyard expands on soils shaping small gravel hills. These gravel layers favors an excellent water cycle due to steep slopes : superficial running, infiltration and drain in low areas.

 

The viticulture blossoms perfectly in this microclimate. There are six appellations in the Haut-Medoc area and among them the Saint-Estèphe. Saint-Estèphe is distinguishable from the other appellations of the district by the homogenity of its soils and the proximity to the Gironde. The geological substration takes on the exact shape of the superficial slopes in view of an ideal draining system. Being close to the river, allows Château Montrose to benefit from a natural « air conditioner ».The vineyard is orientated in the direction of dominant winds that dry the leaves and hence ,lessen the impact of diseases (mildiou, oidium, botrytis…).

The 95-hectare vineyard in one single block, extremely unusual in the Medoc, is located on a very well exposed gravelly land, by the Gironde. The vineyard hence overlooks the estuary. The proximity to this vast body of water locally called “river” has a very smoothing climatic impact on the vineyard. The river and its tide mitigate and moderate the climate’s rigor: by mollifying the frost and refreshing blazing summer heat.

Since Montrose’s purchase in 2006, Martin and Olivier BOUYGUES launched a vast renovation program of the site with environmental aims. Both brothers are willing to push Montrose forward as a model and a showcase of new technologies of sustainable development.

A site with a high environmental quality. The companies participating to the construction follow the environmental convention: environment’s respect and appropriate materials

 

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Winemaking

The alcoholic fermentation take place in stainless steel vats and last about 20 days. Several pumping-over are done each day in order to speed up the thin layers / grape seeds/ and juice exchange. Before the malolactic fermentation, and as soon as the running off starts, samples of a same grape variety and identical quality are blended.

As of november, the blend process begins. For weeks, all the samples are tasted in order to refine our selection. The delicacy as well as the powerful tannins form the principal characteristics of Montrose’s wine. For every vintage, we quest for that goal along with the balance of the fruit.

From January, each vintage is barrel-matured in a specific barrel hall. The Premium Wine, Château Montrose, is matured for 18 months in 60% new French oak barrels from eight different coopers.For the second wine, La Dame de Montrose, the proportion of new barrels is 30% and the wine is matured on average for 12 months. The Saint-Estèphe de Montrose is matured for 12 months in 20% new barrels.

During the maturing process the wines are racked every three months or so. The traditional method used at Montrose involves transferring the wine from one barrel to another by gravity so that the clear wine can be perfectly separated from the lees which settle naturally at the bottom of the barrel. Fining is carried out in barrels in the traditional way, with fresh egg whites, in order to refine the wine and soften the tannins.

The wines tasted during « the Primeurs period » correspond to the definite blend of Montrose’s wines. As of the blend, the wine gains its own essence, and the maturing in barrels will only then improve the harmony of the grape varieties. Thus begins the process of maturity of our wine. 60 % of new french oak barrels, supplied by several carefully- selected coopers are used in Montrose, and 40 % in one year old barrels. The average ageing period is 16 to 18 months.

 

For our second wine, DAME DE MONTROSE, the proportion of new french oak barrels reaches about 15 to 20 %. The average ageing is 12 months; so begins a long process of racking rhythm.

This is a very natural process of slow wine decanting, to isolate the fine particles still present in the wine. All the wines are finely racked every 3 months, a very traditional method.

The wine is moved from one barrel to the other by gravity. Once the barrel’s bottom is reached, the workers carefully view, with a candle, the lees coming off the clear part of the wine. The fining is made traditionally, in barrels, with fresh egg whites, in order to refine the wine and to soften the tannins

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Inside information

As with many of its neighbours, there is another building project (with architect Philippe Mazieres) going on here, but nearing completion and expected to be fully ready by September 2013. This is an ode to the green credentials of the Bouygues building company. The whole site reduces up to 50% of the average energy consumption in heating, cooling and lighting, and produces more energy than its consumes. A geothermal refrigeration system uses groundwater, and 3000m2 of photovoltaic panels cover several roof-tops, producing around 400kw of electricity.

They hope to limit using any mains water supply and use instead rain water and recycled water. ‘At Montrose, we are lucky to have a water source below the chateau that remains constant all year at around 14 degrees – meaning that it can be used in the cellar to cool things down in the summer, and warm things up in winter,’ said Delmas in 2011, ‘It avoids the over-use of thermo-regulation, and can also convert to energy, to store it up for use when needed.’

Montrose also recently bought 22 hectares of Phelan Seguar (in 2010, from a plot adjacent to the estate’s own vines, and which was part of Montrose until the 19th century).

The result of rigorous selection at each stage of production, in both the vineyard and the winery, this great, predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon wine is typical of the Saint-Estèphe appellation. Structured and tannic but with all the elegance and refinement of a Grand Cru Classé, with time it develops a delicate and complex bouquet.

The wines have considerable ageing potential and are exceptionally long-lived. Certain vintages (1921, 1929, 1982, 1990, 2009, 2016) are considered legendary. 

Matured for 18 months in 60% new oak barrels, the premium wine accounts on average for 55% of the estate’s total production.

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3 different wines with 110 vintages

Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Montrose . In a tasting of  20 wines 

Domaine de Chevalier 2021- 80% C. Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 5% C. Franc and 5% P. Verdot. It's the first vintage with that much C. Sauvignon in the blend. 13% alcohol. Intense black- and redcurrants, crushed rocks, coffee beans, cigar box, graphite, fresh, fine structure and complexity. Persistent aftertaste. Splendid effort for the vintage. 94-95p.

2m 29d ago

 Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château Montrose . In a tasting of  15 wines 

Château Cos d’Estournel 2021 96–97 points / Deep crimson. Intense dark chocolate, blackcurrant brambly aromas with inky graphite notes. Superbly concentrated wine with deep-set pure blackcurrant, blackberry confit fruits, fine graphite/ vigorous textures, superb mid-palate density and underlying malty/ spicy oak. Very chocolaty with a leafy tannin plume. Superb fruit definition, complexity and precision. 64% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot, 4% cabernet franc, 2% petit verdot. 55% new French oak barriques. 12.74% alc

3m 24d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Montrose . In a tasting of  45 wines 

2021 Château Margaux / Ruby. Cassis, blackberries, anise, floral, violets, spices, dark fruits, anise nose, nuanced, layered, scented and detailed. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, dark fruits, anise, spices, liquorice, nuanced, elegant texture, long finish. 13,1% alcohol. PH 3,64. 97-99

4m 23d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château Montrose . In a tasting of  745 wines 

This years "en primeur" tasting seemed like a journey in time. Bordeaux is back to a more moderate alcohol level and the style is lighter and more elegant. One could say the wines are reminiscent of the 80s, however made with more experience and the modern techniques today. It is not a powerful vintage. The wines are elegant, however the well made ones have an excellent persistence, depth and length. They offer a convincing potential for a long ageing and promote elegance in Bordeaux again. It is a true vintage of terroir although there is a lot of talk about a vintners vintage. However, terroir was the decisive factor in 2021.


Professor Axel Marchal has presented the 10 key points of this vintage on the occasion of the Union des Grands Crus press tasting:


"1. The start of the growing season was marked by severe frost on the 7th and 8th of April.


2. Wet and gloomy weather in May slowed down the vine growth although a providential window of fine weather helped flowering unfold in ideal conditions in early June.


3. Thunderstorms in June slowed down the onset of water stress.


4: Cool, dull weather in July increased the threat of vine diseases.


5. Véraison (colour change) was observed in mid-August, while vine growth had not stopped yet.


6. Thanks to a cool summer, the dry white wines are brilliant, lively and aromatic.


7. The wonderful Indian Summer allowed the red grape varieties to ripen in ideal conditions and preserved aromas.


8. The Merlots are fresh and aromatic while the Cabernets from the finest terroirs are well-structured with good balance.


9. The development of Botrytis cinerea in Sauternes was delayed by the cool summer and eventually triggered by rainfall in mid-September.


10. Despite low yields, the botrytised sweet white wines are of excellent quality."


It will be exciting to see the evolution of this vintage which produced in many cases yields on a very low scale. Arguably it will be a vintage praised for it finesse in the future. A vintage rated on finesse and persistence rather than on sheer power and opulence.

4m 26d ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Editor of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Montrose . In a tasting of  22 wines 

Heitz Martha's Vineyard 1974. Still a big, powerful wine that sums up the richness of this perfect Napa vintage. It is densely fruity, spicy with an enormous black plum and minty fruit character to go with the acidity. It's concentrated while still showing such wonderfully pure fruit. This is a monumental, eternal wine!

5m 17d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Montrose . In a tasting of  36 wines 

2019 Le Pin  /  Excellent density, liquid silk or liquid cashmere, long, sophisticated, decadent and kinky, and fantastic midpalate. Heavenly stuff. 99p

7m 25d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Montrose . In a tasting of  20 wines 

2020 Le Pin 99-100p / Barrel sample. Great density, liquid silk or liquid cashmere, long, sophisticated, so decadent and with fantastic midpalate. Heavenly stuff

8m 11d ago

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Wine Writer (South Korea)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Montrose . In a tasting of  29 wines 

1982 is an iconic vintage for Bordeaux, and for many wine lovers, it’s a reference point as a modern, ripe year that was delicious from the onset. The top wines are still holding up well and show no signs of fading. However, some of the lesser wines are starting to show its age. This ripe vintage has given us a wide drinking window, regardless of the specific appellation and terroir. For those that still have some top 1982 Bordeaux in your cellar, there is no rush to pull the cork. A long life ahead awaits these beauties.

10m 29d ago

 Prem Kumar  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Montrose . In a tasting of  1 wines 

Colour medium purple. Nose was a bit tight at the begining but opened up very nicely after awhile. Aromas of blackcurrant and cherries with hints of leather and earth. Medium bodied with some elegant tannins. Flavours of dark fruits, cassis, cherries with hints of minerals. Finish was a little short. 

1y 3m ago

 Prem Kumar  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Montrose . In a tasting of  1 wines 

Deep purple colour with some dark red hues at the edges. Aroma a little tight at first but opened up very nicely. On the nose was black fruits, cedar and spices. A balanced flavourful wine. Concentrated flavours of blackberry, dried fruits, cassis with hints of cedar, leather and spices.  

1y 3m ago

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