One of the first châteaux that comes to mind whenever the term “Super Second” is uttered is Château Montrose. We are delighted to feature a consignment direct from Montrose’s cellars in our upcoming Bordeaux Auction (lots 735-798), and we’d like to take a moment to highlight the estate’s history and recent innovations.
Situated on slopes overlooking the Gironde River in St-Estèphe, the 95-hectare, single-block vineyard of Château Montrose occupies one of the most premiere locations in the Médoc. The estate’s higher elevation, exceptional exposure and proximity to the Gironde Estuary foster an idea microclimate that protects Montrose’s vineyards from harsh weather. Its soil consists of an ideal mixture of gravel, large stones from the Pyrenees Mountains, and iron-rich sand atop a bed of clay and limestone. Altogether, this terroir allows Montrose to produce some of the finest and most reliable wines in Bordeaux.
The land of today’s Montrose spent much of its history as a scrubland covered by dense pink heather, earning it the nickname “Mont Rose.” In the early 1800s, Etienne-Théodore Dumoulin purchased the property with the belief that its location and unique gravel terroir had the potential to yield extraordinary wine. Dumoulin’s hunch was quickly proven correct—in 1855, Château Montrose became one of the youngest estates to be classified as a Second Growth.
Montrose has since lived up to (and arguably even exceeded) its classification as one of the finest wines in Bordeaux. After Dumoulin’s death, the estate passed to the Charmolüe family, who began a tradition of constant improvement and investment in the property that has been furthered by the estate’s newest owners, brothers Martin and Olivier Bouygues. Since purchasing Montrose in 2006, the Bouygues have invested in the construction of new state-of-the-art, green facilities for the property, and have enlisted the expertise of renowned geologists, vignerons, and 1er Grand Cru Classé managers. Most recently, Hervé Berland (former director of Mouton Rothschild) was bought on as CEO upon the retirement of the legendary Jean-Bernard Delmas.
Born and raised in Bordeaux, Berland brings 35 years of experience to Montrose. After graduating from the Hotel and Catering Management School of Paris, he joined the Baron Philippe de Rothschild group in 1977 as export manager for Europe, and was soon after promoted to Export Director. He was eventually appointed Commercial and Communication Director for Chateau Mouton Rothschild in 1996, which he left in 2012 to join Chateau Montrose. Together, the Bouygues and Berland have spearheaded revitalization efforts including a plan to replant the entire vineyard over a 40-year period, increasing vine density to 9,000 vines per hectare in order to produce the best fruit, and implementing exclusive hand-harvesting at peak maturity. Berland oversees a work environment in which vinegrowers, winemakers, technical specialists and academic authorities all work together to produce the best wine possible.
Although the style of Montrose has evolved over the years, the caliber of the wine has always been consistently exceptional. In the estate’s earlier years, its owners crafted the wine in a powerful, austere style that required years of cellaring and patience to reach its potential. Today the wines of Montrose today are considerably more approachable in their youth. However, they remain one of the most concentrated, robust, and powerful wines in the region.