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Senior editor James Suckling joined Wine Spectator in 1981 and retired in 2010. As European bureau chief, he was based in Tuscany and tasted the wines of Italy, Bordeaux and Port.
James Suckling

A Red Bordeaux with a Jamie Oliver Recipe

Château Latour Martillac Pessac-Léognan 1995

James Suckling
Posted: September 3, 2009

I had dinner the other night with my ex-wife and son Jack at their house in York—old York, not New York. I decided to make the meal. So I turned to one of the cookbooks I like from my buddy, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver; we hang out in Tuscany together once in a while.

Anyway, I made chicken breast baked in foil with leeks, fresh herbs, double cream and white wine. Sounded good to me. I mixed it all up and placed it in the hot oven. Then I went down to the tiny cellar in the house and found a bottle of 1995 Latour-Martillac that I had left in the house when we bought it years back. I thought the '95 would be drinking well now, and it would show the typical Graves (Pessac-Léognan) profile for the vintage, with tobacco, berry and a stony character.

Well, it did. I asked my 15-year-old son what he thought about the wine, and he said that it had beautiful aromas of currants and licorice. That's my boy! He was spotting the Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. I found iodine and oyster shell undertones, typical for the area. The palate was medium to full, with firm, yet silky tannins and a fresh finish. 90 points, non-blind. If you have this wine in your cellar, I recommend drinking it now.

It went well with the chicken, which was creamy and a little tangy, but came out a bit bland, to be honest. Next time I am going to add some French mustard to the recipe and cook it in a copper pot since the juice can easily escape from the foil. Hope Jamie is reading this!

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind tasting and retrospective review for Château Latour Martillac Pessac-Léognan 1995 (90, $30 on release).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated red Bordeaux, along with our quick list of Top Values in Bordeaux.

Jim Mason
St. John's —  December 19, 2009 6:49pm ET
James, I save the aluminum foil cooking method for campfires out in the woods. When at home I have many more suitable vessels for braising chicken etc. Did you remember to salt and pepper that chicken? Maybe sear the outside first next time and then braise it, but not in aluminum.

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