Wednesday 13 February 2013

22 Vintages of Wines From Alain Brumont - Part I

I was invited to this tasting by the Swedish importer VinUnic. I have tasted the wines from Montus from time to time over the years. And bought them too, according to my cellar list I bought the 1990 Cuvée Prestige in 1997 for 22 Euro. Will open one of those in the coming weekend, see why below...

It was a privilege to get to taste so many bottles at the same time from the same producer, really getting a sense of the character of the winemaking. Alain Brumont was present and gave his view on what he was aiming for, the history of the estate and the quest of making Tannat into a world class wine.
More info here.

Before we sat down to an extended lunch we got to sample Louis Roeder Brut from a 6 liter bottle, the perfect size for a bottle of Champagne... I didn´t take any note, but from memory it was a fine sipping Champagne with the right amount of zest to get the taste buds in shape.

Before the two big verticals of Cuvée Prestige and La Tyre, we got to taste two wines on their own.

2008 Pinot Noir d´Alain Brumont
This is the first commercial vintage of this new wine from Brumont. The first replanting of Pinot Noir in this region was made by Brumont in 1996 and 10 years of work has lead up to this wine. And what a beaty it is! The nose flows up from the glass with impressive notes of fresh rasberries, wild strawberries, herbs, licorice and christmas spices. It has a lovely sweetness to the fruit. Very, very good.
The taste is young, cool and spicy with lots of sweet rasberry and lingonberry fruit paired with a cleansing acidity and a long, lingering finish. This has potential to become really fine. I think it need 5+ years in the cellar to unfold.
91p   (tasted 2013/02)

1994 Château Montus Cuvée XL
The next "lonely" bottle was this cuvée, made only in great years, starting with the 1989 vintage. It has been 11 vintages released up to the 2008. The name comes from the 40 months on oak it gets, first 18 months in barriques and 22 months in 600L barrels.
The nose is open, mature and a tad dry with notes of blueberries, fresh stables, undergrowth and warm herbs. Medium deep and fine. On the nose this is fully mature.
The taste on the other hand tells you that there still is a healthy dose of tannins left to shed. And then? For now there is notes of frozen blueberries, cranberries, autumn leaves, cigarett ashes and some smoky notes. The finish is long and ends dry, too dry I think for longer aging. With food it is excellent, but I wouldn´t cellar this more.
87p   (tasted 2013/02)

Then it was time for the first vertical - Cuvée Prestige in 11 vintages. Cuvée Prestige is a selection of the best terroir of Montus and it gets 14-16 months in new barrels.

1985 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige
A deep, mature, interesting nose with notes of dry blueberries, rasberries and some volatile cherry notes. Then some cigarr ashes and undergrowth emerge. This has kept well. A bit funky from time to time but with lots of interest.
The taste is tight, mature and dry with a nice mix of rasberries and blueberries alongside notes of fresh stables, autumn leaves and some dog fur (in a positive way). The tannins is still noticable at the end of the taste. Has character. Lovely with food. Really, really good.
91p   (tasted 2013/02)

1990 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige
This one opens nice but soon it is obvious that there is something wrong with it. Corked? Maybe, or maybe not, opions vary, but not as it should be.
Will open one of my bottles this weekend for a thorough check up - any excuse to open a bottle of wine is a good one...:-)
No rating   (tasted 2013/02)

1994 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige
A fine, cool, earthy nose with notes of lingonberries, red currants and red cherries. Some flowery notes. On the lights side of things but nice.
The taste is tight, sturdy and dry with notes of lingonberries, saw dust, autumn leaves and cigarett ashes. It is a bit hollow in the middle taste. The finish is medium long and dry. The fruit isn´t on par with the structure.
82p   (tasted 2013/02)

1995 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige
A broad, warm, fine nose, and with notes of black currants, blueberries, fresh stables and leather, this resembles a Bordeaux big time. Very fine sweet fruit. Deep and fine. Hot gravel and some mushrooms notes. I like this!
The taste is young, tight and impressive with the still perky tannins taking a good grip around my taste buds. But there is great fruit here also - red and black currants, blueberries and some cherry flavours. The finish is long and structured. Needs another 5+ years in the cellar. Great wine.
92p   (tasted 2013/02)

1996 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige
With a young, fresh, intense nose with lovely sweet fruit, a lot of warmth and an impressive depth, this is my favourite of the older vintages. The lingonberry and red currant sweetness is amazing and the notes of fresh stables, leather, minerals, cigarr and fresh meat gets me salivating. Stunning!
The taste is young, tight and takes you on a roller coaster ride with lots of sweet fruit and polished, albeit brutal tannins. Although broad over its shoulder it manage to come across as very civilized. Give this 5+ years and it will shine.
93p   (tasted 2013/02)

1997 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige
The 1997 opens with mature scents of blueberries, black currants, herbs and some warm grass. It is a bit foursquare and the herbal note is a tad to green.
The taste is tight, seedy and warm with notes of cranberries, blueberries and road dust. The tannins are, in comparison to the other vintages, a bit on the soft side. This isn´t for keeping longer. Good but simpler than most of the others.
84p   (tasted 2013/02)

1998 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige
This youngster has a deep, tight, powerful nose with beautiful notes of warm black currants, blueberries, hot earth, cigarett ashes and some wood notes. Deep and fine. This is good.
The taste is tight, young and intense with fine sweet fruit in the shape of red cherries, red currants and blueberries. There is some additional notes of forest floor, cigarr smoke and fresh stables. Somewhat laid back, even elegant. This should turn out nice in 5+ years.
91p   (tasted 2013/02)

1999 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige
A big, sweet, tight nose with lots of sweet black fruit and notes of mushrooms, balsa wood and stables. It is a bit all over the place on the nose. Needs to settle down.
The taste is big, tight and more intense and focused than the nose, with a fine cherry sweetness to the fruit alongside notes of earth, mineral and hard cherry candy. Some cigarett ashes in the finish. The taste is very good but the nose is, today at least, a bit angular. Wait and see.
88p   (tasted 2013/02)

2000 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige
A young, deep and intense nose with notes of sweet lingonberries, hot earth, blueberry bushes, leather and ski wax - the latter not a fault but and interesting complement! Very, very fine. Very deep.
The taste is young, tight and seedy with impressive fruit, massive tannins that the fruit can handle and a long, long finish that ends with a lovely hard cherry candy taste. This is for hiding in the cellar for 7+ years, but I can´t help being very impressed today. Great wine.
93p   (tasted 2013/02)

2001 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige
I had a hunch beforehand that the 2001 would stand out among the Cuvée Prestige´s, and if didn´t "win" by much, it was the best wine in this vertical.
The nose is gorgeous in its intensity, purity and balance. The fruit is sweet and perfectly ripe. Notes of blueberries, red cherries, minerals, forest floor and cigarr oozes out of the glass. Still very young of course, but really, really fine.
The taste is tight, intense and very structured, in a hedonistic way, it that makes any sense? Lovely notes of blueberry bushes, hard cherry candy, licorice, fresh meat and some smoky notes. Lots of power in the long finish. Hide this away for 8+ years and you probably will have a breathtaking wine when you open it. I know I will.
95p   (tasted 2013/02)

2002 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige
I like it when winemakers proudly state - "the best vintage ever" - often the latest one....but the caption "exceptionnal year unlike the rest of France" on the 2002 makes me worried...
And rightfully so - the nose is tight, a bit too warm/cooked with notes of hot earth, balsa wood and some fur notes. There is some warm cherry fruit in here too, but I think this is unbalanced.
The taste is seedy, warm and long with notes of dry licorice, hot earth, gravel and cherry jam. The finish is rather long but the alcohol is noticable in the finish. Again, unbalanced. Won´t get any better I think.
77p   (tasted 2013/02)

The vertical of Cuvée Prestige was a great opportunity to taste through a splendid expression of the Tannat grape. Thanks to Alain Brumont for creating such wonderful wines and to VinUnic for the invitation.
And a special thank you to the very professional staff of Operakällaren where the tasting were held - stunning food and service.
More impressions here.

In Part II the notes of the 9 vintages of La Tyre will be posted.

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