The 2003 Montrose was served blind in Bordeaux on two occasions. Picked between 11 to 26 September, it is a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. It remains one of the outstanding wines of a very black and white vintage. Without knowledge of the vintage, I was hesitant to suggest 2003, because though there is clearly fruit intensity locked up inside this Saint Estèphe, it is counterbalanced by the estate's trademark masculinity and austerity. So both on the nose and the palate it reaches this happy medium: pure blackberry, graphite and roasted herbs on the nose, perhaps even more elegant than I have observed on previous bottles. The palate is medium-bodied rather than full bodied with sturdy tannins couched in layers of seamless blackberry and cassis fruit, offset by scents of tobacco and graphite. As usual it has immense length and depth, a Montrose that is really just a few chapters into what is sure to be a longer "book" than many other 2003s. It is not a perfect Montrose, but a couple of hairs' breadth away. (NM)
After the 2009, this is the most exciting Montrose ever made, with intense aromas and flavors of plums, blueberries, spices, tobacco and cedar. It’s full-bodied with extremely refined tannins but a dense, delicious palate. Better in 2016, but why wait?
Good medium-deep ruby-red. Superripe, roasted aromas of black raspberry, chocolate and licorice. Wonderfully dense, sweet and lush, with an early roundness rare for this wine. A monumental St. Estephe with almost confectionery sweetness. Wonderfully horizontal, palate-saturating wine with huge but thoroughly ripe, lush tannins. (ST)
Thought by many tasters to be the wine of the vintage at the time of the 2004 barrel tastings. Has it retained that status? It is certainly a hugely powerful wine, monumental even. It is also finely balanced, with great dark tannins working in partnership with brooding black fruit. The question is whether it is too big, too powerful: only time will tell. (RV)
Dark color. Aromas of blackberry, toasted oak, spice and tobacco. Loads of plum. Medium- to full-bodied, with very integrated and refined tannins. Long. This really builds on the palate. This is better than the 2000 and 1990. Only time will tell if it's better than the 1989. Best after 2011. (JS)
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