Herve Berland and his team are producing striking wines from one of the northern Medoc's finest terroirs. There has been such precision to the wine-making in recent wines, and 2015 is no exception. This is not a grand Montrose like 2009 or 2010, but it is beautifully poised, nuanced and subtle. Produced from 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc; aromas of damson liqueur, mulberry, fine herbs, crème de mûre and wonderfully perfumed fruit emerge from the bouquet. The palate is fleshy, with fine mineral infused dark cherry fruit and morello cherries; it is sweet and engaging and subtly long. In fact, the tannic quality is quite exceptional; clear, unbridled, haunting flavours linger, suggesting that this is grander than first impressions suggest. A very beautiful Montrose.
Chateau Montrose is one of the youngest estates in the 1855 classification. In fact at the end of the 18th century the land was covered in heather. The land was sold by the Segur family to the Dumoulin family in 1778. By 1815 Etienne Theodore Jnr had removed the heather and had started planting vines. By 1920, Dumoulin had built the modest Chateau that stands there today.
The present owners are the Bouygues brothers. After purchasing the estate in 2006, they enlisted the help of Jean-Bernard Delmas, formally of Haut Brion and more recently, Herve Berland of Mouton Rothschild. This is an estate with great terroir and with lofty ambitions. There have been many exceptional wines over the years, but the 2010, 2009, 2003, 1990, 1989, 1959, 1947, 1945 and 1929 are perhaps the most decorated. The estate always performs well in hotter vintages and has a reputation for producing wines that will age for many decades.
A part of St-Estèphe is separated from Pauillac's Lafite only by a stream.Though St-Estèphe contains some gravel, it is largely renowned for the high clay content of its soils compared with other vineyards on the left bank. These wetter cooler soils favour the Merlot, hence the relatively large proportion of plantings compared neighbouring communes, though Cabernet Sauvignon dominates. The cool soils means the grapes are later ripeing and tend to have high acidities, archetypal St Estèphe is a strong-willed, tannic structured wine to be laid down. The stars of St-Estèphe are Montrose, Cos d’Estournel and Calon-Segur, whilst Haut Marbuzet and Lafon Rochet have been producing excellent value wines over the last few years.