The Bouygues Portfolio, 2022

A visit to Château Montrose regularly provides an encounter with vinous joy. It is the top-notch quality of the grand vin that naturally receives most adulation, the efforts put in place by technical director Vincent Decup (pictured below) and his team, backed by the financial clout of the Bouygues family who acquired the property in 2006, have long paid dividends. Bordeaux is never just about the grand vin though (well, it isn’t to me, anyway), especially when super-strict selections and super-high prices mean second wines are today actually worth investigating. I also relish the chance to taste the second wine, La Dame de Montrose, one of the region’s most intriguing and cellar-worthy second labels. It has even found its way into my cellar over the years.

And, as an alternative to the second label, it would also be unwise to overlook the latest from Château Tronquoy-Lalande, another Bouygues estate acquired the same year, and always offered for tasting alongside the grander labels. It has the same seamless grip, the same black and brooding presence, and while the impact might be a little lighter on the palate, the same could be said of the price tag’s effect on the cardiac rhythm, and on the wallet.

The Bouygues Portfolio: Montrose, La Dame de Montrose, Tronquoy-Lalande

Sadly, as a consequence of the travel restrictions in place to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, until my recent visit to Bordeaux in December 2021 (hurrah!) I hadn’t been able to visit for two years, the last time I thumbed the doorbell prior to that being back in December 2019. During the pandemic the directors of the estate – headed up by chairwoman Melissa Bouygues and CEO Hervé Berland – elected not to send out any primeurs samples, to anybody, a position which I respect, even if it does leave me a little disconnected with the property and its wines. The Bordeaux 2019 primeurs came and went, and no Château Montrose. The Bordeaux 2020 primeurs also flew by, and again no Château Montrose. I was rapidly turning into a Montrose-free zone.

So when the team from Château Montrose turned up in London last October, their arms overflowing with bottles representing the last four vintages of Château Montrose, La Dame de Montrose and Château Tronquoy-Lalande, it should come as no surprise that I was first in line to taste. In each case I was able to revisit the 2017 and 2018 vintages, before checking out 2019 and 2020 for the first time. I publish all these notes below, but first a few over-arching thoughts on the wines.

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