Tasting Notes and Scores
This was not in the tasting at the chateau, but I opened two bottles on my return home, because this is another near-perfect wine from Montrose. It is an unusual two-grade blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot. The wine emerged from another very hot, sunny, dry growing season, with early, generous flowering. Harvest in Montrose took place between September 11 and 28. The wine has never had any issues with brett, making it a somewhat safer selection than the more irregular 1990. Like a tortoise, the 1989 has finally begun to rival and possibly eclipse its long-time younger sibling, the 1990. The wine is absolutely spectacular and in auction sells for a much lower premium than the 1990. That should change. This is a magnificent Montrose, showing notes of loamy soil undertones, intermixed with forest floor, blueberry and blackberry liqueur and spring flowers. It has a full-bodied, intense, concentrated mouthfeel that is every bit as majestic as the 1990, but possibly slightly fresher and more delineated. This great wine should drink well for another 40-50 years.
For many years I have vehemently argued that the 1989 Montrose is a benchmark wine for the estate. Having tasted it several times over the last couple of months, I have never found a single occasion to alter that view. Tasted at the vertical in London, it continues to shine, having never lost any of its luster in recent years. It is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc that was picked from 11 to 28 September. Lucid in color, the aromatics do not hold back with vibrant blackberry, blueberry and black truffle, hints of sous-bois, all with sensational precision that few can match in this vintage (indeed, its precision lends it a veneer of modernity since "precision" is now more commonplace across Bordeaux). The palate is brilliantly balanced with filigree tannin. There is wonderful backbone here, extremely fresh and tensile, crystalline even with an exceptional detail, mineral-rich finish that lingers in the mouth. Difficult to fault, this might well be the greatest 1989 Montrose that I have tasted, and certainly wishing to take nothing away from the 1990 Montrose that I tasted alongside, the 1989 is now the one I would pick. Is this the greatest Saint Estèphe of the 1980s? I would put it within the top five Bordeaux of the 1980s. Could this be inching its way to perfection??? Tasted June 2016.
This is phenomenal and I continue to believe that it is superior to the 1990. Fabulous aromas of roasted fruit, blackberry, tobacco, chocolate and toasted oak. Full and velvety and very, very fresh. Powerful and fabulously structured. This will age for years.--Non-blind ChÃ¢teau Montrose vertical.
This was yet another wine I drunk with wine collector friends in Bangkok – the city is truly buzzing when it comes to wine and when you know where to look! On the nose, there were intense aromas of iron, pot iron and dried fruits, as well as hints of nuts and wet earth. On the palate, it showed a gorgeous texture of ripe tannins and lots of spicy and currant fruit character. A full-bodied, very soft and silky Bordeaux with lots of flavors and a superb finish. Just right now – indeed it seems to be getting younger with age, not older! Decant an hour before. I think it's better than the legendary 1990. It's certainly cleaner and more consistent quality.