Chateau Montrose (again) at the Landmark

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Ian Hampsted, Nov 5, 2018.

  1. This is the third Chateau Montrose tasting we have attended in five years with CEO Herve Berland at the Landmark on Saturday afternoon. He claimed that no Bordeaux estate has invested more in recent years in upgrading its facilities. He brought along a superb line up, just of the GV, and for the first time the highly lauded 14-15-16 triumvirate with his imprimatur.

    2016 - perfect ripeness, perfectly ripe silky tannins, superb precision, terrific texture and poise, and an incredibly long finish. Pure, long, racy, effortlessly brilliant. Nothing forced. It is powerful but has elegance and finesse. After a while it becomes more expressive with pure dark red and black fruits. This is a brilliant wine, and sets a new benchmark for Montrose - 97-99

    2015 - a vintage slightly marred by too much September rain, assuaged by the superb drainage by the river. It is a little rounder and softer than the 2016, slightly less precision, but still an outstanding wine. Silky, classic, ripe and with a superb finish. Both wines show their quality on revisiting - 95-97

    2014 - lauded in the context of a vintage with an up and coming reputation but with noticeably less intensity, ripeness and sunshine in this wine. But once you adjust to this it is a beautifully judged wine, well made and with a very good finish. It is going through an awkward stage now but will evolve into a most satisfying and classy glass of claret. 92-94

    2011 - a very difficult growing season with everything bar hail. Not much ripeness or concentration with woody, vanilla, licorice notes. A pleasant luncheon wine, it really suffers in comparison with what came before it. 88-90

    2010 - this is big and brooding, massive, majestic, big-framed, showing a tiny bit of evolution on the nose but seems to be more closed down than the last two times we tried, where it’s brilliance was more on show. This may have lost its crown to the 2016 but it is a superb wine, which moved the game on from the 2009, 2005, 1990 and 1989. However with a 30% premium over the 2016 (£2000 vs £1500 ib) the younger specimen offers better value. 96-98

    2009 - this was rounder and had a nice opulence and ripeness, but lacked the completeness of the 2010 and had surprisingly raspy tannins and seemingly abrupt finish. Only 90-92 but probably atypical. On the previous two occasions it was a lot better, but still some distance behind the 2010.

    2008 - this is showing some genuine evolution and ‘friendship’ with a nice relaxed entry of cinders and ash with a cool-fruited languid palate, good balance and a long aftertaste. Not as ripe or as big as the 2010. More refined than the 2005, which is a bit of a bruiser by comparison. 92

    2005 - a bruiser yes but a terrific wine...some more evolution and leathery notes, but another big, powerful and dense wine on the palate, still with a boatload of rumbustious tannins, but ripe and gravelly, with spices, black fruits and dark chocolate notes. Already a lot of fun, a wine with great potential if you can hold off 5-10 years. 95

    2003 - this bottle had a reassuringly dark, albeit translucent colour, round, velvety, ripe but not overripe with chewy tannins, with good balancing acidity. A very good bottle which provided a lot of pleasure. 95

    1998 - whilst this has an austere persona, this is a well resolved, nicely balanced pleasant bottle of claret. But it took a long time to get to this relatively modest status. But this has an understated class, and it would go ever so well with a roast. 91

    1995 - this is similar to the 1998 but a lot better. It is perfectly resolved unlike many 1995s and has a lovely richness and ripeness. A delightful 1995. 93

    1982 - quite a pleasant modest wine, with a less pleasant cheesy vegetal note. A dismal failure in the context of this great vintage. It was telling how may people left this wine in their glass. 85
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
  2. Ian, any guidance on the drinking window for the '15/'16? Probably too far in advance, but might just be tempted.
  3. Thanks for the notes - I've got the 14 so will hold fire for (freaking ages) a while :)
  4. Mark and Tom

    I think the 14/15/16 will be drinking well in ten years from now. The younger two have such ripe silky tannins, and the 15 is almost approachable now. Like the 14 the 15 and 16 may close down a bit.

    The 16 Montrose is on a par quality wise with Pichon Lalande at a similar price. The Pichon will eclipse the 96 and may go onto eclipse the 82. LLC is probably the pick but 40% more expensive.
    Tom King likes this.
  5. Thanks for a great write up Ian.
  6. Yes indeed, thanks Ian, interesting and informative.
  7. Great notes, Ian. Ta
  8. Shame they didn't show the '04 and '01 actually - was there any discussion about vintages not presented?
  9. Thanks Ian - very informative write up. Might be time to start on my '95s
    Anyone had a recent experience with the 2000?
    Montrose probably holds my personal record for a bargain - when TEE were selling off their 'better' wines
    Managed to get the '02 at £9.40. Not sure on it's storage but worth a punt I thought
    Neil Holland likes this.
  10. Alex - not really apart from oblique references to the legendary 1989 and 1990...Herve was politely in awe of these wines, which of course he had no hand in fashioning, but he left the impression that the estate has moved on to even greater heights under his tutelage. He said he left Mouton to take on new challenges and who are we to doubt him?

    Regarding the 01 and 04 - and 02 for that matter - in my experience they are very strong wines in the context of these vintages. You only hear good things about them.Montrose had a good decade in the noughties.

    Stephen I had the 2000 a couple of years ago I think the last time Herve presented and it was still quite a tannic behemoth. I am not sure if it will always remain austere or whether it will evolve into a beautiful wine the way some 2000s seem to be doing. I own a case of this as well as cases of 1996 and 2008 and am not even thinking of releasing them anytime soon. I drank my 1989s far too early and only have one left.
    Alex Jagger likes this.
  11. thanks for the notes Ian. Really interesting on the '82. I had similar experience of GPL '82 from Magnum quite recently. Slightly underwhelming, and very much outshone by a Mondavi Reserve Napa Cabernet '79 also from Magnum. Maybe it's the continued weight of expectation around '82. I've had a couple of '02 Montrose ex-Tesco both of which were very solid.
  12. Great write up Ian. A question:
    Young (but certainly) not ready vintages seem to often get very high notes and glorifying comments early on while once they are mature, the reviews are often still very good/excellent but don't quite seem to match the early high praise. Not new, I remember 2003 being praised as the wine of the vintage... Marketing hype? Not quite delivery stellar expectations? Wines getting better? Change in fashion/wine expectations (pre Parker, Parker, post Parker...wood, extraction,...)? ...
    What's your take?
  13. Now that's a bargain compared to the decent discounted price I paid TEE - £28.
    Opened a bottle earlier this year.
    Very dark, rubied rim; dense, packed nose, reined in black currants; stern, serious, plenty of robust tannins, foursquare; compact, a scrawny finish. A throwback to Montrose past, uncompromising. If the fruit holds this will age a decade or more. A big if.........90 points.

    And for what it's worth, my most recent TN for '96. Others thought it wasn't any where near ready.
    • 1996 Château Montrose - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe (06/05/2015)
      'Cool' nose; sleek, classy, accessible. Extended finish, stylish. For drinking now & the next decade +. (94 pts.)
    Posted from CellarTracker
    Ian Hampsted likes this.
  14. I rather crudely thought that the point about St Estephe in 2003 was that the more water retentive clay based soils were a bit more helpful for the conditions of the vintage?
    Ian Hampsted and Simon Grant like this.
  15. The one time I tried the '03 it wasn't 'proper' Montrose. I have no interest in repeating the experience - would probably prove I have an irrational dislike of '03s.
  16. I think that’s right James. Montrose is very well equipped to deal with a vintage like 2003. It has the clay, the water tables, the drainage and it is literally right next to the river. Montrose is the best 2003 I have tried, and Saturday’s example was a good one. The one prior to that looked about 35 years old, but this one had a more vibrant colour.

    Antoine otherwise I am generally pretty down on 2003 clarets, the problem being that in some cases the fruit got fried before it ripened. Having said that some estates did very well. Apparently Lafite and Latour 2003s made stellar 2003s, but the fact that they are so quaffable now raises alarm bells.

    A couple of weeks ago a friend of ours held a ‘Judgement of Noize’. I referred to it as the ‘Judgement of Tottenham Court Road’ which sounds more pithy. Anyway the winner in the claret section was Leoville Lascases 2003 which beat a Dominus 1991 into second place. Ducru 2013 was last and an out and out shocker. But it just goes to show.
    James Davis likes this.
  17. Just checked the price. Ambitious.
  18. I hope we are able to switch your 2003 glass to half full in the new year, sir!!

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