2010 Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe, Bottle (750ml) RP100/LP100
1990 Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe, Case of 12 btls RP100

Chateau Montrose: A Grandeur in the Medoc

Chateau Montrose, lauded as “a jewel within the northern Medoc” by Wine Spectator, proudly ranks among Bordeaux's top estates, arguably reigning supreme in the Saint-Estephe region. Initially designated a "second growth" in Bordeaux's renowned 1855 classification, this property has surged ahead, crafting wines that rival the illustrious "first growths." Montrose has earned its well-deserved title of "super second" for consistently delivering exceptional quality wines that offer remarkable value in the Bordeaux landscape. Since 2009, Chateau Montrose has received a remarkable nine perfect 100-point scores from respected critics worldwide. As Wine Spectator aptly notes, "Montrose has been consistently producing its finest reds over the past two decades." The best part for consumers? The prices have yet to catch up to the soaring quality.

Historical Roots

Chateau Montrose, with its roots reaching back to 1815, is one of the youngest estates within the 1855 classification. Back then, Theodore Dumoulin, who had previously inherited the Calon-Segur estate along with surrounding land from his father. He soon recognized the untapped potential in an area known as the "Lande de l'Escargeon." By 1824, Dumoulin had divested the Calon-Segur estate but wisely held onto 108 acres of newly planted vines, which would later become Chateau Montrose. By 1832, Theodore Dumoulin had expanded the estate to 188 acres, single-handedly laying the cornerstone of Chateau Montrose.

After Dumoulin's passing in 1861, his adopted children inherited the estate, only to sell it five years later to Mathieu Dollfus. Under Dollfus's stewardship, Chateau Montrose underwent a remarkable transformation. He rejuvenated the entire estate, from the cellars to winemaking facilities, and even constructed a small village for the Chateau's workers. Dollfus was a pioneer of his time, providing his workers with modern benefits such as profit sharing, healthcare, and maternity leave - a groundbreaking move in the 19th century. Additionally, he introduced railroad tracks to facilitate the easy loading of wine barrels onto departing ships. Dollfus also introduced what is believed to be the first second label in Bordeaux, bottled as Vin de Dornach.

Within two years of Mathieu Dollfus's passing, the estate changed hands once again. In 1896, the Charmolue family, known for their extensive history in Bordeaux, including ownership of Chateau Cos d'Estournel, took ownership of Chateau Montrose. Over three generations, Montrose became one of the pioneering estates to bottle its own wine. Historical sales catalogs reveal that the 1904 Chateau Montrose was indeed bottled at the Chateau itself.

A Modern Renaissance

In 2006, the Charmolue family sold the property to Thomas Bouygues and his brother Martin, ushering in a new era for Chateau Montrose. Under their guidance, the estate underwent an impressive 55-million-euro renovation, culminating in 2013. The primary objective of this renovation was to make the property environmentally conscious, incorporating solar, wind, and a sophisticated geothermal energy system. Additionally, the Bouygues brothers modernized the cellars and winemaking facilities, introducing a unique tool: an ultrasonic hail cannon, employed to safeguard the vineyards during hailstorms.

Vineyard Excellence

Today, Chateau Montrose boasts an expansive 237-acre vineyard, one of the largest in the Medoc. The vineyard is predominantly planted with 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot. These vines have an average age of 40 years and are divided into four blocks, further subdivided into 100 individual parcels. Sustainable vineyard management techniques are employed, with aspirations to achieve full organic status by 2025.

Precise Winemaking

Winemaking at Chateau Montrose is an exercise in precision. Employing various temperature-controlled vats of different sizes, vinification is conducted on a parcel by parcel basis. In 2016, they initiated experiments with gravity-fed systems, with plans to transition to a 100% gravity-fed process. The wines are aged in approximately 60% new oak barrels for an average of 18 months, depending on the vintage. Remarkably, their second wine has been in production since 1860!

Exceptional Value

Had Chateau Montrose existed centuries earlier, like Chateau Haut-Brion, the 1855 classification might look significantly different today. As renowned wine critic Neal Martin ponders, "imagine how rapidly its reputation ascended before the 1855 Classification. Could a few more decades have elevated Montrose to the highest echelon?" Unfortunately, that remains a mystery. However, as things stand today, Montrose stands as one of Bordeaux's most exceptional values. This "super second" consistently performs at a level on par with established first growths but remains accessible to collectors and connoisseurs at a fraction of the cost. For those seeking a harmonious blend of price and quality, Chateau Montrose is the definitive choice.

Written by: Craig Headding

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