Tasting Notes Montrose 2017
The 2017 Montrose is a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. Deep purple-black in color, the nose is a little closed at first, but with coaxing, it opens to reveal remarkable earth and exotic spice notes of crushed rocks, black truffles, star anise, cassia and fenugreek over a core of crème de cassis, blackberry preserves, violets and blueberry pie with touches of cigar box, charcuterie and black soil. Medium-bodied with a rock-solid frame and an exquisitely ripe, very fine-grained texture, it has wonderful freshness with electric energy and a very long, minerally finish. Possessing great poise and intensity, this is one of the greatest Montrose's I have tasted!
This is pure and tight with gorgeous cabernet sauvignon character of blackcurrants, blueberries and crushed stones. Full-bodied, yet compacted and polished. It shows a long and beautiful tannin texture at the end. Just rolls off the palate.
The 2017 Montrose represents 37% of the total production this year and it was cropped at around 45hl/ha. It has a little more volume and intensity compared to the Cos d’Estournel that was tasted immediately prior to my visit. Blackberry, raspberry, cedar and pressed flowers bloom in the glass, though there is a noticeable change with aeration after 20 minutes – hints of juniper and bay leaf, rendering a more nuanced and complex array of aromatics. The palate is medium-bodied with edgy tannin and it feels a little chalky in the mouth, yet also tensile and certainly extremely focused. There is already a palpable sense of energy in situ, well structured and vivid, though not as complex or as nuanced as the 2016 Montrose on the finish since the growing season forbade that. I appreciate the pastille-like purity on the aftertaste and the potent tang of cracked black pepper and graphite that hang around for 45 seconds after the wine has departed. It is a fine, very classic Montrose and I suspect more approachable than those of yesteryear. Tasted twice at the château.
The 2017 Montrose is wonderfully polished and nuanced. Silky tannins and mid-weight structure confer finesse to a Montrose that possesses superb harmony from start to finish. All the elements fall into place effortlessly. In 2017, the Grand Vin (35% of the production) is 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. Because of the late season rains, Montrose has more Cabernet Sauvignon than is typically the case. The winemaking team opted for a large number of smaller-lot vinifications (82 instead of 50-ish, to be exact), in order to optimize picks according to ripeness. Although alcohol alone can never tell the whole story of a wine, at 13.5% alcohol, Montrose has a very attractive freshness to it. The Grand Vin represents about 37% of the chateau's production. The 2017 is all class.
This has nice breadth, with cherry and cassis notes moving through atop light tobacco and warm earth flavors. Very bright savory and iron elements add lift and cut through the finish. Tight, but everything is in place.—J.M.