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Red Bordeaux - 2003 - Montrose

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Tasting Notes

A candidate for a perfect score, the 2003 Montrose has been a superstar since the first time I tasted it in barrel. Showing no signs of weakening, it is an amazing wine from this fabulous terroir. It boasts a deep blue/purple color as well as a stunning perfume of blueberries, black currants, blackberries, licorice and camphor. Dense, full-bodied and rich with an unctuous texture, well-integrated, melted tannins, and a long, heady finish, this big, brawny, super-intense, gorgeous 2003 is just beginning to enter its plateau of full maturity. It should remain there for at least two decades.

Score: 99

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate  Maturity: 2014-203401 August 2014

The grapes were harvested between September 11 and 26. The blend in 2003 was 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot (a very high percentage), 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. The wine, unlike most 2003s, has a freshness and liveliness provided by their extraordinary terroir. This wine can be drunk now. It has a dense bluish/purple color to the rim and an extraordinary nose of blueberries and mulberries, with blacker cassis and blackberry entering the picture. Scorched earth, spice and licorice are all present in this magnificent, full-bodied, opulent wine that is very Montrose, very classic and somewhat atypical of the vintage. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2040.

Score: 99

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate  Maturity: 2015-204001 August 2014

In total contrast was the young, enormously endowed, potentially monumental 2003 Château Montrose. Inky purple to the rim, with amazing concentration, high but noble, sweet tannins, this is entirely too young to drink, but I enjoyed it and think, along with the 1990 and 1989, it is one of the three greatest wines I have ever tasted from Montrose. It has at least 30-40 years of life ahead of it and will certainly be strutting its stuff long after I’m pushing up daisies.

Score: 100

Robert Parker, Hedonists Gazette, erobertparker.com  Maturity: 2009-204931 January 2009

The enormous 2003 Montrose is built along the lines of the 1989 rather than the 1990. It boasts a dense black/purple color in addition to an extraordinary bouquet of scorched earth, blackberries, and cassis, fabulous purity, a skyscraper-like texture, and substantial tannin in the finish. This superb, huge, ripe wine is one of the vintage’s most prodigious offerings. However, patience will be essential for anyone purchasing this 2003. (97+ Points)

Score: 97

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate  Maturity: 2010-203530 April 2006

Certainly one of the vintage’s most colossal wines and clearly one of the estate’s greatest efforts, rivaling the 1989, 1990, and 2000, this wine, which tips the scales at 13% alcohol (the 1990 was 13.5%), has an amazingly opaque purple color to the rim, and a big, sweet, exotic nose of blackberry liqueur intermixed with acacia flower, creme de cassis, smoke, and hints of truffle and vanilla. In the mouth the wine is full-bodied, opulent, but offers surprising definition and finesse, which is something it was showing less of nine months ago. Brilliantly delineated in spite of its amazing concentration and unctuosity, this is a thrilling, exceptional effort that should prove to be a modern-day legend. I tend to think this wine will actually be approachable in 5-6 years but capable of lasting for at least three decades. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2030+. To reiterate what I said last year, this is a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, and the rest equal parts Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

Score: 97 - 100

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate  Maturity: 2009-2030+30 April 2005

A whopping 78% of the production made it into the prodigious 2003 Montrose. Harvested between September 11 - 26, this 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot blend was fashioned from low yields of 35 hectoliters per hectare. The pH is high (3.9), and the alcohol is 13.2%. Reminiscent of a hypothetical blend of the compelling 1989 and 1990, this inky/purple-colored 2003 boasts a spectacular, flamboyant perfume of creme de cassis, new wood, smoke, crushed rocks, and white flowers. Magnificently rich, unctuously textured, and full-bodied, with huge presence on the palate, and a finish that exceeds 60 seconds, this is a legendary effort from Montrose. It is capable of rivaling the wines produced in 2000, 1990, and 1989. Given its low acidity and incredible performance already, it should drink well in 5-6 years, and last for 25-30.

Score: 96 - 100

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate  Maturity: 2009-203430 April 2004

Tasted blind at Farr Vintner’s Left Bank tasting. This is the business. The Montrose 2003 is blessed with a complex bouquet with blackberry, scorched earth, black olive and cedar that really is a cut above its peers. Superb delineation. The palate is full-bodied with firm, bold tannins, great fruit concentration with cedar, spice, blackberry, white pepper and allspice towards the vibrant finish. Superb. Tasted October 2010.

Score: 97

Neal Martin, erobertparker.com  01 March 2011

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.

Score: 96

Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar  01 May 2006

Dark color. Aromas of blackberry, toasted oak, spice and tobacco. Loads of plum. Medium- to full-bodied, with very integrated and refined tannins. Long. This really builds on the palate. This is better than the 2000 and 1990. Only time will tell if it's better than the 1989. Best after 2011. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 15,830 cases made.

Score: 95

James Suckling, Wine Spectator  Maturity: 2011+31 March 2006

Very dark crimson, the deepest of all these wines with colour all the way out to the rim. Young, fresh, very frank aromas - still distinctly unevolved. Extremely dry, savoury and mineral - not a hint of the raisiny sweetness that dogs so many 2003s. Wonderfully rich and layered yet dry and savoury on the finish. A hint of unsweetened chocolate with a floral topnote. Great hit on the front palate, then something dry and scrunchily appetising on the finish. Very very long.

Score: 19

JancisRobinson.com, Jancisrobinson.com  Maturity: 2015-2030