1990 Montrose, St-Estèphe

SKU #950283 100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 I was served blind a magnum of the 1990 Montrose in Cape Town, which had been purchased on release and stored in perfect conditions. Now, here was the real deal, unfettered by any infection, a regal Saint Estèphe. It shows approximately the same evolution as the 1989 in bottle, but unsurprisingly showed less bricking in magnum format. The bouquet is cut from a different cloth to the 1989 and attests to that warm vintage: hickory, clove, undergrowth and wild fennel, later garrigue-like scents and terracotta, the latter two more pronounced on the bottle format compared to the youthful magnum. The palate is full-bodied and powerful, yet the balance is perfect, a ballerina-like poise with the structure of the Forth Bridge. It is a multi-layered Montrose that offers enormous length, fresh and vibrant with the magnum demonstrating tangible mineralite and tension as it fans out on the crescendo of a finish—a fanfare for Saint Estèphe in all its glory. Improving all the time in the glass, this example of 1990 Montrose is a privilege to behold. One can speculate whether larger formats are a "safer bet" in terms of experiencing this behemoth without any brettanomyces. Perhaps. However, if you do come across the 1990 Montrose like this, you are in the presence of a king. (NM)  (3/2017)

95 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Full ruby-red. Wild, exotic aromas of crystallized redcurrant, leather, tobacco and minerals; distinctly exotic, even overripe. Then lush, sweet and opulent, with an atypically velvety texture for Montrose. But extremely young and structured, finishing with powerful tannins and great grip and length. Almost California-like in style; in Bordeaux, they'd refer to the fruit expression of this wine as "original," which is not necessarily high praise. Drink 2008 through 2030. (ST)  (7/2002)

94 points Wine Spectator

 Dark in color with decadent aromas of ripe fruit, earth and amazing mint and spearmint undertones, yet there's also an underlying meaty funkiness. Full-bodied, with layers of very ripe fruit and velvety tannins. Massive and caressing. A big, powerful wine. Like velvet. (JS, Web-2006)

Jancis Robinson

 This is a famous wine, though not all bottles seem in perfect condition. At first, the nose was not utterly pure and precise, but it seemed to clean itself up in the glass. It was definitely sweeter and richer than any Montrose I can think of and was pleasing, flattering and easy to drink with some very fine tannins and just a little dustiness on the finish. 17.5/20 Points  (9/2009)

K&L Notes

Rated 100 Points from Robert Parker Jr. on six different occasions for the Wine Advocate (and a few other tastings for Hedonist's Gazette), the current online average for 1990 Montrose is $592 (as of Jan 2017). Current stock comes from a single collector, delivered to us in original cases. Latest Robert Parker review (besides Neal Martin's Wine Advocate review above, also 100 points) is from August 2014: "The final blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc was harvested between September 14 and October 3. The spring was cold, yet summer was extremely hot and dry – one of the hottest vintages since 1949. The fact that virtually no rain fell in September served as a catalyst to get all the grapes ripe and in cellars....This wine has an incredibly complex nose of spring flowers, blackberry and cassis liqueur, scorched earth and barbecue spice. It is full-bodied, majestic and opulent, with low acidity and fabulous fruit. It is close to full maturity. The wine should continue to drink well for at least another 30 or more years, but it is showing secondary nuances in the perfume. The wine is absolutely magnificent, broad, savory and mouth-filling. This is one of the all-time modern legends from Bordeaux as well as Chateau Montrose."

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By: Steve Bearden | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/1/2017 | Send Email
Tasted at a recent Bordeaux dinner, this was a standout among a slew of venerable properties from great vintages. Blind I might have guessed this to be from the 2000 or 2003 vintage due to the volume of youthful plump fruit, freshness and underlying power. At 26 years of age this is amazingly plush and seamless with a silky texture to the dense middle and effortless length to the finish. This is a very special bottle deserving of a place in every serious collector's cellar.

By: David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/1/2017 | Send Email
The 1990 Montrose isn't just a 100 point wine, it's a 100 point wine from an era when Bordeaux was still in its old school phase. There was less pressure back then to make a modern and consumable product, one with ripe fruit and silky tannins that that masses could easily embrace. When you drink the 1990 Montrose, you get a level of secondary depth and complexity that I rarely taste in modern era Bordeaux. There are delicate herbal nuances, hints of violets, and an essence of cassis so pure and fragile that it almost dances across the palate. We had a bottle at dinner after the UGC tasting this past January, and even having tasted a number of great Bordeaux that afternoon, the 1990 Montrose still stood head and shoulders above the rest. It's a supreme wine from a supreme vintage, and it's a wine that truly merits both the price and the reputation. More importantly, it's a wine with a long, long future ahead of it. That's what any 100 point wine should offer.

By: Ralph Sands | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/31/2017 | Send Email
Fantastic wine just entering the drinking window, ripe fruit with hints of cheese rind on the nose that tells you its a great one. Good acidity and searing mineral qualities with a hint of iron keep the wine fresh at 25 plus years.
Drink from 2015 to 2030

By: Clyde Beffa Jr. | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/31/2017 | Send Email
100 points Robert Parker-back when 100 points meant a lot. This wine does not disappoint. I tasted 2 bottles on 2 separate days in january 2017. Both bottles were perfect. Quite rich and full-bodied with a mouth coating flavor of cassis and some toasty oak. This is an intense wine and really does deserve 100 points--i was quite skeptical before tasting these two bottles. A fifty year wine for sure.
Drink from 2017 to 2040

By: Ryan Moses | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/30/2017 | Send Email
One of the most singular wines for Bordeaux and the appellation of St. Estephe, the 1990 Montrose was a joy to taste. Perfectly open but still with room to grow, this Grand Vin is stunning now at 26 years past the vintage. The aroma alone is enough to get lost in, but the wine is extraordinarily poised, elegant, and composed. This bottle came directly from our in-stock parcel (as of Jan 2017) that we received in the original cases and shows that properly stored stocks of this bottling live up to the billing.

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

France

- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of France.
Sub-Region:

Bordeaux

- View our bestselling Bordeaux.
Specific Appellation:

Saint Estephe

- The northern-most of the Medoc communes, St. Estephe is quickly becoming one of the favorite areas for both high quality and great value Bordeaux reds. While it has fewer classified growths than the other communes, it also boasts some of the hottest up and coming chateaux of the last several. The most famous chateaux are the second growths Montrose and Cos d'Estournel with Calon Segur (3rd growth), Lafon Rochet (4th growth), and Cos Labory (5th growth) rounding out the cru classe wines. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the area, but plantings of Merlot are on the rise resulting in rounder, fatter, flashier wines than in years past.