TN: 1995 Montus Madiran Cuvee Prestige (and a couple of Riesling QPRs)

Started off the day with 2007 Selbach Piesporter Michelsberg Riesling…one of the great Riesling QPRs out there. Perfect aperitif wine with just a touch of sweetness, oh so smooth. Then switched over to 2008 Hesketh Riesling Scissorhands…a bone dry style Riesling from Australia. This paired well with the Poached Salmon and Tuna Tartare appys. Hesketh is a fairly new producer being brought into the US, which according to the importer, has no desire to have the WA (while Jay was covering Australia) review the wines.

With Braised Short Ribs (my wife’s first crack at it and she hit a home run, IMO), I popped a magnum of 1995 Montus Madiran Prestige. This tasted like what every great older Bordeaux ought to taste like. I decanted it for about 45 minutes, and it had a little funk on the nose, that I liked, very “earthy” undertones in the mouth, and a great finish that lingered. Delicious wine. I would recommend buying it, but it is probably hard to find these days. I wonder if more current releases are as delicious?

I’ve loved this wine since I first had it paired with roast duck w/ lentils at an IWFS function in January 2006. Last I had it though was for dinner on the 19th August 2008 paired with a rustic steak frites. It was excellent:

1995 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige (Madiran) > - From Madiran in Southwest France, this is made up exclusively of tannat. This wine, typical of the reds from this area, is darkly intense (as you can easily in the picture), masculine and robust, with smoothly rolling muscle underneath earthy leather, dense, brambly dark fruit/blackberry, licorice, cedar and touch of violets and a dose of pepper (more in the bouquet - which subsided with aeration) and well-integrated woodiness.

The Doc had decanted it when my wife and I arrived and didn’t tell me what it was. A quick sniff in the decanter yielded a blast of pepper and cedar over the fruit so I thought it to be a Rhône. By the time my steak arrived, I took my first sip and pronounced it to be a Madiran.

These wines don’t fool around. They’d probably whack you on the head if you look at them the wrong way. I usually describe these wines, as well as the reds of Cahors, as “wines that put hair on one’s chest”. Massively tannic, but, in this case, the tannins were so smooth - one could say “molten”. Great depth, superior balance and a kilometric finish.

Despite its apparent oversupply of testosterone, however, the wine was smooth mid-palate, albeit clearly concentrated and viscous. I believe this could probably hold its plateau for another 10-15 years. With the steak, it was superb. Truly a macho wine.

Addendum> : I just checked my old notes and now realize that I’ve had this wine twice before - the first sometime in January 2006 - at an IWFS function. Said notes are pretty consistent:

Chateau Montus Cuvee Prestige 1995 (Madiran) - 100% Tannat.
Brooding inky, dark black-red-violet, well-muscled, incredible tannins but relatively smoothed out. Mildly spiced moderately round black fruit with leather, tobacco and wood. Nicely knit at this point. Had it with a boldly-flavored twice-roasted duck with lentils. Good match (made by Bernie Sim, president of the Philippine Chapter of the International Wine & Food Society) as the dish drowned out my '99 Haut Marbuzet. Quite surprised that my wife liked this hugely tannic wine so much, specially the pairing.

I must mention that the steak came with lots of roasted/caramelized whole shallots and garlic cloves - rarely done in Manila - which was a most excellent touch. Assuming my wife or friends pick this venue, I’d return just for this dish. While the others (especially my wife) were much more taken by the apricot lamb stew than I, it was more than decent. Granted the restaurant is barely off the starting line at this point, the staff could certainly do with a lot more proper training.

Great note! I also was expecting more tannins, but this wine was great after just a short time in the decanter!

The 95 Montus Prestige is awesome. Last time I tried it about 6 months ago, I felt it was still years away from peak. The 95 “regular” Montus is in a really good place right now.

I’ve really enjoyed the 97 Montus Prestige. The 2001 seems destined for great things, but is way too young at this moment. I believe Alain Brumont discontinued the Cuvée Prestige after the 2003 vintage, preferring to focus on the regular Montus, which now commands a higher tariff, and the high-end, single-vineyard, luxury cuvée called La Tyre.