Château Montus 2014 "Montus Rouge" Madiran

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Tasting notes
Full, smooth with good red fruit and tannins; elegant. Excellent with red meats with some fat, hard cheeses, and dark chocolate.

Why we recommend this wine
We have ordered Montus on several occasions when not in a major wine region in France and always enjoyed it. We first came across Tannat in Uruguay where we found it to be the perfect accompaniment to asado, or barbecue, where the slightly charred meat was a match for the serious tannins. This is substantially less tannic but still no pushover.

The wine
Nicknamed "the Petrus of the South-West" by wine critics, Montus Rouge is made from Tannat and Cabernet Sauvignon. The 30-year-old vines are grown on steep slopes with a South / South-West exposure. The soils are layered brown and orange clay covered with round pebbles that provide good drainage and warm terroirs, favoring good maturity. Yields are very low with only 5-6 bunches per plant. After harvesting the grapes macerate for 3 to 6 weeks. Fermentation takes place at 28° C, with regular punching down and then malolactic fermentation in wooden vats. The wines is aged on lees for 12 to 14 months in new, 60-80%, oak barrels.

The wine estate
Château Montus is legendary in this part of the world where the owner, Alain Brumont, made some seriously good, convention breaking wine that grabbed the attention of the wine world in the mid-eighties. They follow a 'Nurture nature' approach eschewing the use of pesticides and encouraging the growth of natural habitat in the vineyards.

Food and wine
Excellent with red meats with some fat; rib of beef, rack of lamb, duck breast. And also with strong hard cheeses and dark chocolate. Also see our guide to pairing food and wine here.

Did you know?
Tannat-based wines are considered to be at the heart of the 'French paradox' - a catchphrase, first used in the late 1980s, which summarizes the apparently paradoxical epidemiological observation that French people have a relatively low incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD), while having a diet relatively rich in saturated fats. The high fat content of the South-Western diet (lots of duck and foie gras) is, it seems, countered by the high procyanidin content, the polyphenol that has been identified as being responsible for this paradox. (Tannat has higher procyanidin than any other variety. Other wines that are also high are Malbec from Argentina and Zinfandel from California). Dr Corder (see Roger Corder's The Wine Diet) recommends around half a bottle for men and a third for women to be consumed daily with food.