Cos d'Estournel's only competition among super-seconds in St. Estèphe, Montrose is a huge, hillside property that owes its greatness to draconian selectivity. It's one of the wines of the vintage, for a comparative song. What’s more? The Wine Advocate says “Possessing great poise and intensity, this is one of the greatest Montroses I have tasted!” Hop on this one!
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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!
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.