The story of how the current owners, the Bouygues brothers, came to acquire Montrose in 2006 shows the true power and magnetism of this wine. The idea to purchase the Saint-Estèphe estate came about when Olivier Bouygues tasted and fell in love with the famed 1989 vintage, so much so that he announced that were the estate ever to come onto the market, he would buy it.
The 95 hectare vineyard at Château Montrose is planted to 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. The average age of the vines is 40 years old, although some date as far back as 1932.
Its proximity to the largest estuary in Europe means that the temperature is regulated year round and the vineyards still perform exceptionally well in both extreme cold and heat, as experienced in 1991 and 2003.
When the Bouygues brothers took over the estate in 2006, they brought out of retirement and hired Jean Bernard Delmas, the former director at Château Haut-Brion, and in 2012, hired Hervé Berland, who had previously been working at Château Mouton-Rothschild for approximately 40 years. Clearly Montrose has no shortage of First Growth expertise at their disposal.
The wine produced at Château Montrose is characteristically rich and concentrated, with jammy fruit, leather, liquorice, meat and sweet tannins. Parker, describing the 1990 vintage, writes that it is “a huge, corpulent, awesomely-endowed wine” and this is a wine that typically requires 15 or more years of cellaring and, in the best vintages, can excel for up to 50 years.
The estate also produces a second wine called La Dame de Montrose. Unlike the Grand Vin, it is dominant in Merlot and provides an earlier drinking style of wine, although still full of the characteristic power and richness, with real ageing potential, and described by Parker as“...one of the better second wines in all of Bordeaux”.
The estate also produces a third wine called Le Saint-Estèphe de Montrose, the product of younger vines, popular for how approachable it is in its youth.