Good medium-deep ruby-red. Superripe, roasted aromas of black raspberry, chocolate and licorice. Wonderfully dense, sweet and lush, with an early roundness rare for this wine. A monumental St. Estephe with almost confectionery sweetness. Wonderfully horizontal, palate-saturating wine with huge but thoroughly ripe, lush tannins. It's hard to believe that a wine this rich and deep could be carrying just 13.2% alcohol. The only thing missing here is the floral topnote of 2005, but that's a quibble in this baking-hot vintage, as Montrose's cooler, water-retentive clay-rich soil handled the extreme heat and drought as well as any chateau in the Bordeaux region. The final blend is 63% cabernet sauvignon, 33% merlot, 3% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot.
Robert Parker 98
The 2003 Montrose was served blind in Bordeaux on two occasions. Picked between 11 to 26 September, it is a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. It remains one of the outstanding wines of a very black and white vintage. Without knowledge of the vintage, I was hesitant to suggest 2003, because though there is clearly fruit intensity locked up inside this Saint Estèphe, it is counterbalanced by the estate’s trademark masculinity and austerity. So both on the nose and the palate it reaches this happy medium: pure blackberry, graphite and roasted herbs on the nose, perhaps even more elegant than I have observed on previous bottles. The palate is medium-bodied rather than full bodied with sturdy tannins couched in layers of seamless blackberry and cassis fruit, offset by scents of tobacco and graphite. As usual it has immense length and depth, a Montrose that is really just a few chapters into what is sure to be a longer “book” than many other 2003s. It is not a perfect Montrose, but a couple of hairs’ breadth away. Tasted February 2017.
Anticipated maturity: 2020-2050