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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.
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.
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.
For many the 1964 vintage conjures up images of a truly unique year. It was that in Burgundy, but not Bordeaux, even though the French minister of agriculture declared it to be the vintage of the century in Bordeaux. He made his declaration before the autumn rains began to fall. The vintage was, at any rate, a very good one, quite reminiscent of the 1962, whose large crops produced excellent wines.
The mild, wet winter was followed by a warm spring. The ideal conditions enjoyed during the germination period stayed dry and hot throughout the summer. The grapes ripened beautifully all the way until 8 October, when three weeks of extremely heavy rains pushed into Bordeaux, causing the greatest damage in Médoc, primarily at Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe. Some of the region’s producers had managed to bring their entire harvests in before the rains. One of these fortunate ones was Château Latour. One of the less fortunate was Château Lynch-Bages, which finally brought its harvest in on 24 October. This vintage, however, favoured the right bank’s Merlot-driven wines, which ripened well before the rains. There are very few drinkable wines at this time. Once again, the Cheval Blanc and Pétrus rise above the other, also in price. An interesting development in 1964 was Mouiex’s acquisition of shares in Pétrus.