55 dollars: Chateau Montus 2010 from Madiran
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Wine name and vintage: Château Montus 2010
NEWS GRAND TOTAL: 86 points. A REMARKABLE wine. If you know what you love, then there are bargains to be had and this wine is just about the best example of that, that I can think of. Shockingly good value for money. You would have to know the secrets of Bordeaux’s dark past to know why the wines of Madiran are so – relatively – cheap. Quite possibly the most "South Australian” wine in France, from the point of view of body, fruit and power. I can imagine that a wine like this would have inspired and impressed someone like Max Schubert more than any other French wine.
Producer: Alan Brumont, Château Montus.
Region: Madiran, France.
Grape varieties: Tannat.
Closure: Natural cork.
Price per bottle: $50
1)Aromatic intensity, up to 5 points.
4.5 points. Big, rich, bold.
2) Aromatic complexity, up to 5 points.
4 points. It’s a hefty onslaught of ripe fruit.
3)Aromatic attractiveness, up to 20 points.
17 points. This is a wine with mass appeal.
4)Palate intensity, up to 5 points.
4.5 points. Everything by the shovel-full: body, tannin, tanginess, delivered in a silky smooth bomb-pod.
5)"Mouthscape" or "palate complexity", i.e. how much of an interesting experience in the mouth a wine delivers, up to 5 points.
4 points. High intensity from a relatively narrow range of elements.
6)Drinkability, i.e. how much the wine's total taste characteristics leave you thirsting for more, up to 20 points.
16 points. Until it has at least another ten years under its belt, it’s always going to err on the side of chunkiness. Still a VERY satisfying wine though.
7)The morning-after test, i.e. how this wine looks on the second day after opening and beyond, up to 5 points.
3.5 points. Starting to raisin around the edges, as these big wines tend to do but still delivers oodles of fruit.
8)Cellarability, up to 10 points.
9 points. A very good wine for the cellar. Demands it, really. If left for more than 20 years the alcohol might start to stand out a bit but should still be very yummy indeed.
9)Individuality or how distinct the personality of a particular wine is, up to 10 points.
Nowhere does it like Madiran. Ozzy wine this ripe just look tacky. It’s big but it’s savoury and serious. 8 points.
10) Look, packaging, label, up to 5 points.
Absolutely bling. Heavy weight bottle. Wooden 6-bottle lay down boxes. Label with gravitas. 5 points.
11) Environmental credentials, story, philosophy, history, brand weight, up to 10 points.
No real story other the romance of Madiran, such an exotically obscure part of deepest south-west France, and the dynamism and talent of Alan Brumont. 7 points.
12) SUBTOTAL: Add together the individual scores from points 1 to 11, above. Subtotal is scored out of 100 possible points.
1 Value-for-money, take SUBTOTAL and divide by price to give X, then multiply X by 2. 2X is the value for money score.
3.5 points. A ludicrously well priced wine, even if it’s not cheap. This is a wine that amply rewards you for shopping outside of the more famous French regions.
2 The grand total NEWS value for a given wine is the product of SUBTOTAL + the value-for-money score.
86 points. BUY BUY BUY!
Below 70: May have outstanding features but also some drawbacks and I couldn’t recommend it in confidence.
76-80 highly recommended
81+ points: Remarkable wine. Theoretically a score over 100 is possible once the value-for-money factor is taken into account. Something around 105 would be the upper limit of perfection although I will be surprised if I ever see more than a couple of wines each year that get into the low 90s, let alone to 100.