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For Christmas dinner, I cooked my mother’s traditional menu: standing rib roast of beef with mushroom gravy and Yorkshire pudding. I had a lineup of red Bordeaux to accompany the feast.
The meat was out of the oven, resting, and the gravy was bubbling on the stove when I asked my friend Jim to open the Mouton. (Don’t ask about the Yorkshire pudding. Never again!) As he began pouring the wine into the decanter, he sniffed a few times, then smiled with delight.
“The aromas in this kitchen are just incredible,” Jim exclaimed. “The savory, earthy notes from the gravy and the beef marry so beautifully with the dried fruit, tobacco and cedar of the wine. This is what it’s all about!” We rated the Mouton 89 points on its own, non-blind, but 94 points with the food.
For Bordeaux, 1997 was not a great vintage, but this bottle was drinking well, balanced between youth and age, not powerful, but polished and elegant. And while it may have seemed expensive at the time, in retrospect, it looks a lot like a bargain. Maybe it’s a good sign for the wines from the 2007 vintage—it appears to be similar in style and quality, and early reports are that prices will be discounted significantly. Let’s hope the wines can give this much pleasure 10 years hence.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind tasting review for Château Mouton-Rothschild Pauillac 1997 (89, $129).
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