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Château Montviel Pomerol 2004

Château Montviel 2004

Sometimes when I return from the Bordeaux primeurs I seek out a Bordeaux antidote, a wine with more freshness and zip than all the dark, sweet, tannin-laden barrel samples I have been tasting and spitting. More often than not I turn to the Loire Valley, no surprises there, for something white, the more minerally the better. Savennières, anyone?

It is perhaps a sign of the high quality offered by some corners of Bordeaux in the 2015 vintage that, on returning home to Scotland, I just wanted to keep the Bordeaux ball rolling with some other wines from this, the most preeminent of all wine regions. So I have been drinking St Emilion and Pomerol all weekend (as well as a couple of pints of Summer Lightning from the Hop Back Brewery – perhaps that was my real antidote), and whereas the wines from St Emilion were, while good enough, really nothing to write home about, this lone representative from Pomerol gave out a little more joy.

Château Montviel Pomerol 2004

Château Montviel is one of Pomerol’s many minor properties, in the more peripheral parts of the appellation. You won’t hear it mentioned as the same breath as Petrus or Le Pin, and that is a reflection of the terroir. The truly famous names of this appellation sit up on the clay and gravel of the plateau, but there are interesting domaines at the foot of the slope as well, on the far side of the D1089 that runs along the foot of the slope, and on the sandy slopes that run down to the Barbanne. Some of these domaines pump out the sort of wine we expect from these sandy soils, but some over-perform, giving us a good-value window onto the wines of Pomerol. Those gathered around the little hamlet of Le Grand Moulinet, still within sight of the Église Saint-Jean (although you have to peer through the trees to glimpse it), including Clos René, Château L’Enclos and of course Château Montviel seem to do particularly well at punching above their weight.

Sitting in Château Le Gay last Friday a barrel sample of the 2015 Château Montviel (both properties were acquired by the late Catherine Péré-Vergé, and are now in the hands of her son Henri Parent) was showing real promise, which in the context of the vintage was of no real surprise to me. But then, I was coming to the end of my seventh day of primeurs tastings, so I was certainly getting to grips with the vintage; I will begin my Bordeaux 2015 reports for subscribers tomorrow. So on my return from Bordeaux I pulled this more mature bottle from the cellar, to see how it is getting along. The two vintages are not remotely similar in style, but that’s not the point.

The 2004 Château Montviel still has, as it approaches twelve years of age, a dark, deeply pigmented core, with an oxblood rim. It has a maturing and very minerally nose, a touch flinty, with some notes of smoky roasted almond as well as black bean, liquorice and black olive complexities. These are the sorts of nuances I really enjoy finding in maturing Pomerol, and these aromas carry through onto the palate which is cool and reserved, with a firm and crunchy structure that to me feels quite typical of the vintage. It has a dry composition, with a long, bright and slightly sour acidity which shows quite strongly in the finish. A pretty wine, firm and grippy, still rather reserved and youthful in terms of its structure, and capable of doing yet more in the cellar yet I think. 16/20 (11/4/16)

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