The first vintage under new owner Martin Bouygues, who convinced Jean-Bernard Delmas to come out of retirement to produce this wine, the 2006 Montrose is an undeniable success. A blend of approximately two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon, one-third Merlot, and a tiny dollop of Petit Verdot, the most dramatic difference between the 2006, and wines made by the previous administration is that Jean Delmas produces wines with sweeter, silkier tannins, although analytically, they are as high as those found in the great Montrose vintages of the past. The 2006 is extraordinarily elegant and finesse-styled, but it exhibits stunningly concentrated, sweet blackberry and cassis fruit with hints of flowers and minerals. Full-bodied with a savory, expansive mid-palate as well as sweet, noble tannins, this beauty will benefit from 3-4 years of bottle age, and should drink well for 20-25+ years.
Located on one of the deep gravel promontories of the Médoc, Montrose has long been known for impenetrable wines on release. In 2006, the Charmolüe family, who had owned the vineyard since 1896, sold it to Martin Bouygues, a French construction magnate, and his brother, Olivier. The new owners brought in Jean Delmas, recently retired from his brilliant tenure at Haut-Brion, to direct winemaking. This first release from the new team is a lovely, fragrant cabernet, its deep earthiness and dark mushroom tones the only clues that it's a Montrose. The wine may be compressed in its structure, but it's supple and elegant, with purity and precision to its layers of currant, fennel, blueberry and blackberry. Lively acidity drives the fruit, its freshness lengthening the flavors. Built for 20 or more years of development, this young Montrose makes its beauty apparent from the outset.
*Cellar Selection* Yes, this wine is tannic. To begin with it seems austere and mineral. But then the substrate of black berry juice asserts itself. The fruits are fresh rather than sweet, combining with leather, spice and a presence of new wood. Typical of Montrose, it is hard to appreciate this young, with those tannins needing to open out. But wait 10 years.
There's currant, spice, chocolate and berry character on the nose. Deep, complex and full-bodied, with chewy tannins and a long, flavorful finish. A solid wine. Chewy. Best after 2014.
** Montrose is so typically Saint-Estephe in 2006, with dried spices such cardamom and cloves as well as delicate currants. Full-bodied, with firm tannins and a dense center palate. It needs another three or four years of bottle age to soften.
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