Highest rated vintages for Montrose
A colossal effort, the 2009 Montrose represents a hypothetical blend of the monumental duo of 1989 and 1990 combined with the phenomenal 2003. With 13.7% alcohol (an all-time high at Montrose), it is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot and the rest tiny quantities of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Some structure and minerality can be detected in the background, but the overall impression is one of massive blackberry, black currant and mulberry fruit intermixed with forest floor, damp earth, crushed rocks and a hint of spring flowers. Full-bodied with sweet but abundant tannin, Jean-Bernard Delmas believes this is the greatest wine he has made during his short tenure at Montrose since retiring from Haut-Brion. This wine will undoubtedly shut down for a decade, then unleash its power, glory and potential perfection. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2050+.
I have had the 1990 Montrose on four separate occasions over the last several months, and I have consistently rated it either 99 or 100. Three of the bottles came from my cellar, and one was tasted at the chateau. None of them revealed any brett, which is not the case with bottles that were exposed to heat, or had bad storage issues. The wine remains a blockbuster, an inky/ruby/purple-colored effort revealing stunning concentration, amazingly high glycerin, and abundant amounts of sweet black fruits intermixed with notions of earth and spice. It is a fleshy, full-bodied St.-Estephe with atypically high amounts of fatness and fruit extract, but it is settling down nicely and seems set for another 2-3 decades of longevity. Many have felt the 1989 Montrose is better, and it is getting closer to meriting a three digit score, but it remains more tannic and backward. Release price: ($350.00/case)
This is considered to be among the greatest vintages ever made in Montrose, right up with the 1929, 1945, 1947, 1959, 1961, 1989, 1990 and 2009. Harvest was October 15 to 17. The wine has really come on since I last tasted it, and it needs at least another 10 years of cellaring. The blend was 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. The wine is opaque black/blue, with an incredible nose of blueberry and blackberry liqueur, with hints of incense, licorice, and acacia flowers. Tannins are incredibly sweet and very present. The wine is full-bodied, even massive, with great purity, depth and a finish that goes on close to a minute. This is a 50- to 75-year-old wine that will repay handsomely those with good aging genes. (Note: The Chateau Montrose website gives an aging potential of 2020-2100.)
A candidate for a perfect score, the 2003 Montrose has been a superstar since the first time I tasted it in barrel. Showing no signs of weakening, it is an amazing wine from this fabulous terroir. It boasts a deep blue/purple color as well as a stunning perfume of blueberries, black currants, blackberries, licorice and camphor. Dense, full-bodied and rich with an unctuous texture, well-integrated, melted tannins, and a long, heady finish, this big, brawny, super-intense, gorgeous 2003 is just beginning to enter its plateau of full maturity. It should remain there for at least two decades.
This was not in the tasting at the chateau, but I opened two bottles on my return home, because this is another near-perfect wine from Montrose. It is an unusual two-grade blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot. The wine emerged from another very hot, sunny, dry growing season, with early, generous flowering. Harvest in Montrose took place between September 11 and 28. The wine has never had any issues with brett, making it a somewhat safer selection than the more irregular 1990. Like a tortoise, the 1989 has finally begun to rival and possibly eclipse its long-time younger sibling, the 1990. The wine is absolutely spectacular and in auction sells for a much lower premium than the 1990. That should change. This is a magnificent Montrose, showing notes of loamy soil undertones, intermixed with forest floor, blueberry and blackberry liqueur and spring flowers. It has a full-bodied, intense, concentrated mouthfeel that is every bit as majestic as the 1990, but possibly slightly fresher and more delineated. This great wine should drink well for another 40-50 years.
In 2005, a very serious drought year stressed most vineyards in Bordeaux, which are all dry-farmed. The volume of rainfall was less than half the average of the previous 30 years. The clay subsoils at Montrose have always played a major role in not only dry years, but also in extremely hot ones, such as 2003, as they retain more moisture. The grapes were harvested between September 23 and October 9. This is a very powerful, full-bodied wine that is quite tannic, but the tannins are relatively velvety. The wine is rich, complex, majestic, multi-dimensional and also avoids any of the austerity that some 2005s possess. It has done quite well in its bottle evolution and should turn out to be a great Montrose, capable of lasting 30 to 50 years.
Originally rated 96, this wine confirmed its early rating, although again, the backwardness and still very obvious tannins suggest another 7- to 8-year wait. Dense ruby/purple, with a bouquet of blueberry, crushed rock, and some floral notes, the wine is medium to full-bodied , rich, powerful, but again very tannic and still strikingly youthful. For a wine that is already 10 years of age, it remains infantile. This blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot is indeed a special wine and should hit its prime in about 2020 and last at least 30 years afterward.
One of the superstars of the vintage, this classic Montrose is not as showy or opulent as the 2010, 2009 or 2003, but it offers a dense purple color followed by gorgeously sweet black raspberry and black currant fruit intermixed with loamy, earthy, forest floor notes, a floral component and a long, full-bodied finish. The 2008 was fashioned from yields of 44 hectoliters per hectare which is slightly less than the 2010's 45 hectoliters per hectare. Forget it for 5-8 years and drink it over the following 20+.
This was a very strong year for the Medoc, as opposed to Graves and the Right Bank. The vintage has a very irregular reputation, but not so much for the Cabernet Sauvignon grape in the Medoc. Harvest occurred September 23 and finished October 6, a relatively short period, even at a large estate such as Montrose. The wine has sweeter tannins than the 1995, but doesn't have quite the ripeness noticeable in 2003, 2005, 2009 and 2010. This wine is the classic, or more traditional style of Montrose, with dusty loamy soil notes intermixed with blackcurrant and blackberry fruit. Licorice, underbrush and floral notes were all present in this wine, which has good acidity and is not far from entering its plateau of full maturity. This was a year where Montrose used a lot of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend – 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.
The first vintage under new owner Martin Bouygues,who convinced Jean-Bernard Delmas to come out of retirement to produce this wine, the 2006 Montrose is an undeniable success. A blend of approximately two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon, one-third Merlot, and a tiny dollop of Petit Verdot, the most dramatic difference between the 2006, and wines made by the previous administration is that Jean Delmas produces wines with sweeter, silkier tannins, although analytically, they are as high as those found in the great Montrose vintages of the past. The 2006 is extraordinarily elegant and finesse-styled, but it exhibits stunningly concentrated, sweet blackberry and cassis fruit with hints of flowers and minerals. Full-bodied with a savory, expansive mid-palate as well as sweet, noble tannins, this beauty will benefit from 3-4 years of bottle age, and should drink well for 20-25+ years.