La Dame de Montrose
Second Wine of Chateau Montrose
La Dame de Montrose is the Second Wine of Chateau Montrose and is named after Yvonne Charmolüe who ran the estate from 1944 to 1960. Montrose is located in the east of St Estèphe (the northern most of the great Médoc communes), just north of the hamlet of Marbuzet, on a gravel knoll only 800 metres from the Gironde estuary. As far as the great wines of Bordeaux go Château Montrose is somewhat of a youngster having been founded in 1815. However this beautiful vineyard has produced one of Bordeaux's most consistent and respected wines for over 150 years. It is considered to be one of the top St Estèphe's and is known as the “Latour of St Estèphe”.
The Château dates back to 1778 when Etienne-Théodore Dumoulin purchased the gravel ridge Alexandre de Ségur (who owned vast swathes of vineyard in the Northern Médoc and gave his name to several properties such as Château Calon Segur).
Dumoulin's son saw the potential for wine making in the heather covered slopes of the moor named La Lande de l'Escargeon, cleared the scrub and planted his vineyard. He built Château Montrose in 1815, named after the pink haze of heather that had once covered the gravelly knoll. After Dumoulin's death Château Montrose was sold to another enlightened man – Mathieu Dollfus. Dollfus built the estate into a thriving community, offering profit sharing and health care to his employees – an unusual act for those times. His heirs sold Château Montrose to the owners of Château Cos d'Estournel and it then passed on to Louis Victor Charmolue.
In 1925 Montrose passed to his son Albe, and his wife Yvonne who steered Montrose through the Great Depression and the Second World War. When the German forces took Montrose it was used as an artillery base, and the vineyards made a handsome firing range, suffering some bomb damage. Throughout this awful period, Albe courageously continued to make fine wine, but had to reduce the vineyard area and the production. Yvonne was widowed in 1944 and under her care Montrose recovered. She handed over the reins to her son Jean-Louis in 1960 who took on the task of restoring the Château to its former glory. Indeed, he even surpassed it. He introduced new equipment, a new cellar and introduced the Second Wine in 1983 – La Dame de Montrose – named for his mother.
Yvonne Charmolüe sowed the seeds for Montrose's renaissance, and Jean-Louis let them bloom - which has resulted in some highly lauded wines, the 1990, 2003 and now the 2009 receiving 100 point scores from Robert Parker. In 2006 ownership passed to Martin and Oliver Bouygues who employed Jean-Bernard Delmas, once the wine maker at Château Haut Brion.
The vineyards cover 160 acres and the grapes grown are 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. The closeness of the estuary ensures a micro climate that protects against frost, and the vines, which lie on deep clay-gravel soils, roll down the slope towards the river and benefit from a south-easterly aspect. The soil is a mix of gravel, black sand with a subsoil of clay and marl.
The wines age incredibly well and are some of the longest lived in the Médoc. Château Montrose wines are traditionally deeply coloured, austere and powerful when young, but when mature are quintessential St Estèphe clarets. They are highly prized for their prune and cherry fruit flavours and classic, well structured style. La Dame de Montrose is more approachable when young with lush, concentrated flavours and is very much in keeping with the Grand Vin.
Owner: Martin and Oliver Bouygues
Château Website: www.chateau-montrose.com
Oenologist: P Ribéreau-Gayon