x
  • Country ranking ?

    994
  • Producer ranking ?

    28
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now to 2040
  • Food Pairing

    Roast lamb served medium-rare

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's 50 best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

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The Story

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.

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Wine Information

Main characteristics of the vintage 1996

1996 is recognized for its great irregularity (2 days of negative temperatures in November, 4 days in December, none in January. 8 days of frost in February and 3 days at the beginning of March). The bud burst occurred on the 22nd of March for the Merlots and the 24th for the Cabernet: spring was relatively hot with normal rainfall. The first blossoms appeared on May 28th for the Merlot, and the mid-blossoming was noted on June 6th. High temperatures in early June caused a « coulure » on the Merlot. July and August were not too hot but quite sunny with little rainfall allowing the vine to bear the drought. The mid-veraison was noted on August 13th. From August to September 17th, a very dry weather covered Bordeaux. The grapes gradually ripened in excellent conditions, allowing a good concentration of sugar and polyphenols.
Period of harvest: September 23th – October 6th
The wines are characterized by velvety tannins. The Merlots are similar to the 1995. The Cabernets are more homogeneous, richer, with more acidity compared to the previous year.

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Vintage 1996

The 1996s stand as a “classic” Bordeaux year, although – as Jancis Robinson MW has written – not in the “skinny” sense; although Farr Vintners’ director, Tom Hudson, told the drinks business that it was perhaps a “very good” rather than a “truly great” year as it wasn’t uniformly excellent across the region.

By way of a recap, 1996 was a particularly sterling vintage for Médoc wines. The Berry Bros & Rudd website extolls: “This is one of the great post-war vintages for Médoc Cabernet-based wines. They are rich, complex and beautifully balanced wines, packed with ripe, pure fruit and have the structure that will allow the top wines to age well into the next decade and beyond.”

The Right Bank by contrast are described as “distinguished” but “overshadowed” by the ‘95s – which was an especially good vintage for Saint Emilion and Pomerol.

It was also an excellent vintage for white Bordeaux.

Robert Parker’s scores tend to favour the Left Bank, though a few of the very best wines of the Right Bank received very respectable reviews as well.

Only two wines received 100-points: Lafite and Latour, Margaux was rated 99, Léoville Las Cases 98, Ducru Beaucaillou 96 and Pichon-Comtesse 96.

La Mondotte was the highest rated Right Bank wine on 97-points, Ausone was the next best rated on 93 as was L’Eglise Clinet, while Gomerie, Petrus and Le Pin settled for 92 and Cheval Blanc for 90.

With the passage of nearly 20 years, the wines have naturally appreciated and now that they are well into their drinking window demand will almost certainly begin to push prices up even further for the most in-demand among them.

The figures are often impressive, to date Lafite has seen a rise of 657.9% since its release, its second wine Carruades is up 592%, Latour has risen 437%, Petrus 400% and Pichon Baron 240%.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

Deep ruby colour.
Complex on the nose, with aromas of leather, black fruits, and brown tobacco.
Silky and fresh on the palate, with notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, blackberry, and blackcurrant.
1996 is a classic wine, greedy and elegant, complex and open. The tannins are fine, elegant and melted.

On the nose you have black olives, cherries, plums and a touch of leather. The wine opens slightly discordantly, as if the acidity and fruit are somewhat out of synch. Then the underlying palate engaging sweetness emerges, some mint, cassis, and a prevailing balance overcomes the initial bitter notes. It rallied wonderfully with the magnificent Guinea Hen Pate, the red and black fruit with a vein of graphite, the post mid palate roundness are then all evident. The finish is tinged with flowers, spices, licorice and underbrush. I believe it will grow in both balance and appeal. 93 Points

  • 93p
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Information

Origin

St. Estephe, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Excellent

Value For Money

Good

Investment potential

Average

Fake factory

None

Glass time

2h

Drinking temperature

16

Inside Information

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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