#5 - CHATEAU MONTROSE
2ÈME CRU ST ESTÈPHE 1996
For years, Montrose has been in the shadow of its more decadent, flashy neighbour, Cos d'Estournel. Quietly confident, it is a brilliant performer in notably dry, sunny vintages due to its dense clay soil that allows the vines to remain hydrated. New director Jean-Bernard Delmas is a legend amongst the Bordelais, having run Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion for 40 years, so quality is only likely to get better and better. The 1996 vintage was one of the most outstanding vintages for the Medoc of the 1990s and is certainly long-lived – although many are just coming into their drinking window, they will comfortably go on for another couple of decades. Such a quality wine needs a similarly luxurious accompaniment, and this red is the perfect pairing for a romantic on-deck dinner of Wagyu beef.
"The 1996 Montrose is a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot picked between 23 September and 6 October. It is that loamy character that defines the nose—freshly tilled, damp soil that tinctures the black fruit —that takes you straight to this particular château. This is classic through and through and very well defined. The palate is wonderful with very fine delineation, pitch-perfect acidity, touches of graphite infusing the red and black fruit that dovetails into a very pretty, floral finish. This is clearly one of the great wines of the 1996 vintage and I would be stocking up as much as I could, because it will give 30-40 years of pleasure." - Neal Martin, Wine Critic