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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 103 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.

 Clive Coates / MW, Wine Writer (France)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Montrose . In a tasting of  41 wines 

Montrachet, 2002 Domaine Des Comtes Lafon.
Montrachet, please notice. No Le, as the plot is on the Chassagne side. Here was a wine which took its time to come out of the glass. At first I was a little underwhelmed, but after ten minutes or so, the richness, concentration, and indeed a succulence almost like a red wine, began to appear. We have something which is quite oaky, still quite youthful, full bodied and very classy indeed: the depth unmistakably of a grand cru. Quite splendid!

21d 42min ago

 Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Montrose . In a tasting of  1 wines 

Tertio de Montrose is the newest release of Château Montrose, the third wine of the estate. The vintage 2016 has just been presented on the market. The Château explains: "The ever-increasing quality requirement for Château Montrose and La Dame de Montrose, and the increasingly precise selections, now allow an annual production of a 3rd blend: the Tertio de Montrose. Produced on the exceptional terroir of Château Montrose and vinified by the teams at the property, this wine is the fruit of a classic blend of the great Bordeaux grape varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot."

25d 22h ago

 Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château Montrose . In a tasting of  29 wines 

Penfolds G3 / The very first release of this new, somewhat iconoclastic and yet intrinsically delicious concept, this NV G3 is a blend of Grange 2008, 2012 and 2014, although fans of Grange should not expect it to taste like any of these; G3 possesses a style all its own. Very deep garnet-black colored, it has a full-throttle, up-front nose of incense, fruit cake, chocolate-covered cherries and preserved plums with touches of cinnamon stick, cloves, cigar box and Chinese five spice, plus a waft of potpourri. Full-bodied, velvety, rich and oh-so-decadent, this is true hedonist’s wine, with a very, very long spice-layered finish. To quote Homer Simpson, “Sacrilicious!” It is actually open for business and drinking deliciously right now, though should cellar for a good 20+ years. Only 1,200 bottles were made. 97 points

1m 1d ago

 Stephen Tanzer, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Montrose . In a tasting of  18 wines 

Petrus 1961 / Deep red-ruby color with an amber edge. Utterly singular perfumed, high-pitched aromas of loganberry, cherry and flowers. An awesomely concentrated wine of huge power and depth. Chewy with extract and wonderfully sweet and rich. Shows the strong iron note I often get from merlot on the Pomerol plateau, along with superripe suggestions of cherry liqueur and dark chocolate. Finishes with great grip and length, and a bit less sweetness than the middle palate would suggest. Drink now through 2020.

2m 26d ago

 James Suckling., Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château Montrose . In a tasting of  21 wines 

Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte 2018 / This is incredibly complex with hazelnut, currant, berry and dried-flower character. The impression of a vat of fermenting cabernet. Full body, round and juicy tannins and a long, soft and silky finish. Shows the essence of the fruit here. Fascinating. Layered and complex.
Barrel Sample: 98-99

3m 28d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Montrose . In a tasting of  22 wines 

Crazy, crazy Saturday dinner the 2nd May with friends (we did keep the distance, washing hands, etc.) and enjoyed some extraordinary bottles. We celebrated the liberation of Denmark from Nazis by the Brits, which happened on the 4th May 1945.  So, we mainly tasted 1945s, but wait a minute….


Somebody wise said once – “There aren’t great vintages, only great bottles!” And it was so obvious during the tasting. It was blind and very entertaining one! The wines served were both normal and magnum bottles. All chateau bottled.

6m 16d ago

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

I participated in very interesting tasting in Copenhagen, February 2020, of mainly wines from 1970 vintage, but also some flights “face to face” in vintages 1975 and 1983. Wines were tasted semi-blind, meaning that we had the list with names, but didn’t know two “ringers” which were included in the tasting. We didn’t know either the order of wines served in each flight. Some great bottles showed up confirming indeed their splendid provenance. I simply don’t understand how several well-established wine-critics rate Pichon Comtesse, Mouton Rothschild and Montrose from 1970 that low? We absolutely didn’t complain about wines served that cold Friday evening in February 2020. It was awesome experience!

7m 16d ago

 Neal Martin, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Montrose . In a tasting of  25 wines 

The 1961 Palmer is a wine that tends to deliver upon its gargantuan reputation and we were rewarded with an exemplary bottle here. It has a clear colour with modest bricking on the rim. The bouquet is difficult to encapsulate into words – utterly ethereal. Heavenly definition, almost Burgundy-like in purity with traces of pencil box and pressed violets. It grows in stature with each swirl of the glass and leaves you transfixed. The palate is bestowed beguiling balanced, almost symmetrical, framed by filigree tannin and pitch perfect acidity. Like the aromatics it coheres with aeration, the fruit undiminished by time even if it is no blockbuster. Quite the opposite – this 1961 Palmer is the apotheosis of finesse with just a hint of balsamic on the aftertaste. This Margaux can bring you to tears of joy. Tasted at the 1961 dinner Chairman Miaow’s in Hong Kong.

8m 12d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Montrose . In a tasting of  51 wines 

1998 Château Cheval Blanc; Ruby, pink rim, floral, violets, mint, layered, again impossible to describe fully. Close to perfect balance, playfull and stil relaxed acidity. tannins soft, stunning texture, mouthwatering, just ads and ads with air, incredible length, never ending, I keep raising the score on this as it keeps unlocking more and more secrets. I wish I had cases of this one. 98


Served blind, I was sure it was Petrus, as was most of the table. Wine of the evening!

8m 16d ago

 Jeff Leve, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Montrose . In a tasting of  10 wines 

2009 Petrus is deep ruby with purple tints at the rim of the glass. Spice, plums, blackberries, and blueberries, with cinnamon, clay, mint, mocha, and kirsch, make up the complex perfume. From a blend of 98% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc, the wine is rich, concentrated and packed with surreal levels of glycerin. This viscous, thrilling treat provides a seamless, intensely pure finish of spice, jammy cherries, and chocolate. 100 Pts

10m 7d ago

 James Suckling., Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Montrose . In a tasting of  25 wines 

Masseto 2012 / Fantastic aromas of lavender, rosemary, violets and currants. Full body, a wonderful concentration of fruit yet tense and taunt energy. The new wood is exposed now but will become integrated and polished. Give it three or four years together. The pure merlot magic is there. The 2011 was a perfect wine, and this is very close indeed. Drink in 2019. 99 points

11m 8d ago

 Jeff Leve, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Montrose . In a tasting of  11 wines 

Bordeaux has been on a hot roll lately. Think about it. 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016, 2018 and who knows, even though it is early, 2019 is also looking good!
Each vintage has its own mark, its individual sense of identity and uniqueness of character. 2016 Bordeaux is such a great vintage!  Consider this. Out of all those above-named vintages, there are 2016 wines better than you find in any of those years. And that is really saying something!
In 2016, like in all great years, every appellation produced beautiful wines, and each has its own stars. You can find fabulous wines on both banks and in all price ranges. The Petit Chateaux are superb. Right Bank wines are gorgeous and some of the best wines from the Medoc are potentially the best-ever from their respective vineyards.
2016 has it all. The wines combine concentration of flavor, purity of fruit, zesty acidity, ripe tannins, power, elegance, refinement and richness. The aromatics are complex, and the length and mouthfeel go on and on. The best wines offer the ability to age and evolve for decades!
2016 is the most recent bottled vintage in Bordeaux. The wines are currently available to consumers. If you are seeking to enjoy the best of the best, this article is for you.

1y 28d ago

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