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Panos’ epic tasting of 16 vintages of Chateau Montrose: 2012 – 1970


On January 24, 2017, Panos Kakaviatos (Wine Chronicles) hosted another epic Bordeaux tasting featuring the wines of Chateau Montrose.  Hervé Berland, CEO, graciously donated 15 vintages of wine with three guests donating the 1989 vintage thus presenting us with an array of 16 different wines spanning from 2012 back to 1970. The tasting itself was held at Ripple, home of many fabulous wine dinners, which closed its doors this year.

I hold Chateau Montrose in high regard having tasted the old-school vintages 1959, 1964, and 1966 several times as well as the legendary, contemporary vintages of 1990 and 2010 at The Heart’s Delight lunch with the Ambassador of France, Gérard Araud and Herve Berland of Chateau Montrose.

This is unequivocally one of my favorite tastings that Panos has organized over the five years I have been attending.  The quality level is very high in general with the 1990, 2003, 2005, 2009, and 2010 vintages particularly outstanding.  My glass of 2000 was not up to par and the 1989’s variable due to provenance otherwise I am sure they would be outstanding as well.  These are all balanced wines full of flavor and depth, rather than massive tannic structure, which allows them to develop at a slow pace.  Even the 1976 provided ample, if not surprising pleasure.  I left the evening very impressed.

The wines were tasted in flights:
2012 + 2008 + 1995
2010 + 2009 + 2003
2005 + 1990 + 1989 + 1976
2000 + 1986 + 1985
1998 + 1982 + 1970

I have presented my tasting notes in reverse chronological order.  Please find them below.

2012 Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe
There is a subtle, dark nose with notes of soil and sweet confection. There is an immediate presence of acidity in the mouth with dense and polished flavors of red and black fruit. There is a bright mineral underpinning which develops into graphite. All of this is surrounded by a hint of fat.  ****

2010 Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe
A vintage with the most Merlot. A racy, lively nose. There is black, lively fruit in the mouth this is certainly a bit wine yet it is balanced. The lovely ripe structure supports black fruit, cassis, and notes of new oak. It is lipsticky with flavors that cling to the mouth through the long aftertaste. Nice wine. ****(*)

2009 Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe
Those nose is mute but this is a sexy wine in the mouth. There are dark, focused flavors of red fruit. It is a racy, inky wine which really packs in the flavor. There is a strong structure of very fine-grained tannins yet the richness of the fruit largely covers it up. ****(*)

2008 Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe
The nose is more lifted with cassis, flowers, and meat. A redder wine with more apparently structure and fine extract for texture rather than the density of 2012. The power hints the back of the throat with concentrated blue fruit yet remains balanced throughout. My favorite of 2012 and 1995.****

2005 Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe
There are some deep, meaty aromas but the nose is generally subdued. The mouth meets a ripe, gentle entry of red fruit, ripe oranges, and citric structure. It is lipsticky with vintage perfume, a fresh finish and long aftertaste. It does not have the weight of other vintages but is well done for future development. ****(*)

2003 Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe
There are aromas of tobacco smoke. This is a balanced wine with the flavors of focused ripe and slightly sweet fruit packed in. The flavor builds intensity with hints of maturity. This is a savory wine with subtle weight yet significant, satisfying depth. ****(*)

2000 Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe
This remained very closed with hard flavors, and polished wood.  Clearly not right.  😦  Not Rated.

1998 Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe
There are greenhouse infused flavors in this short wine. **

1995 Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe
There are deep berry aromas of wet soil and meat. With watering acidity this is lighter on the tongue yet still expansive in the mouth. It has a dry, linear style that leaves fine, dry structure on the gums. There is good mature flavor, some herbaceousness and ample acidity and structure to keep it alive. ****

1990 Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe
The incredible nose is very aromatic with citrus, flowers, greenhouse aromas, and leather. There are ripe red fruit flavors, vintage perfume, and sweet earthy depth. This is tense wine that drives you to return to the glass. Hard cherry aromas mix with animale funk.  *****

1989 Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe
Donated by a guest.  This is still youthful with a tighter nose and more muted expression compared to the 1990. There are fresh flavors in the mouth, a tea note, cola tannins, and stand up acidity. ****

1986 Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe
Slightly dusty with vegetal aromas. In the mouth it is a hard wine with vintage perfume and spearmint. Perhaps a bit similar to 1985 in flavor. ***

1985 Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe en magnum
It is a very mature nose. The saline, cool blue fruit is simple and weighty yet the round aspect is satisfying.  ***(*)

1982 Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe en magnum
I think my pour is from the mediocre magnum.  This has subtle depth on the nose, reminiscent of the 1990. In the mouth it has a touch more fruit but shows flat and metallic with some earth. ***

1976 Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe
A gentle wine but in great shape. There are more greenhouse infused flavors than the other vintages. It is still firm with watering acidity and structure that frames everything. The aftertaste is perfumed. ***(*)

1970 Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe
There are firm flavors of red and black fruit with some rough yet enjoyable texture in the finish. The tannic structure is prominent, like a cats tongue. Short finish but satisfying up to it. ***

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