Sometimes food and wine can make an awkward match, and still create a pleasant moment.
Sara and I had been on vacation for a week, and her mother, Nancy, held down the fort. To thank her, I pulled a 2001 Léoville-Poyferré from my cellar. Little did I know she was making pot roast for dinner.
The meat-and-potato dish was hearty and rustic, and really wanted a young, powerful, fruity red to stand up to its savory flavors. The St.-Julien, on the other hand, would have been more comfortable with veal scaloppini sautéed with mushrooms.
It was a classic claret: smooth, elegant, refined, with maturing flavors of cedar, tobacco, dried fruit and spices. As my colleague James Suckling twittered in response, “2001 Bordeaux are drinking beautifully … for people who prefer finesse to hedonism.” I rated it 91 points, non-blind.
But when I served her the wine, blind, Nancy smiled and said, “This is delicious. I love mature Cabernet.” Despite the culinary clash, we enjoyed every drop of the bottle.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Château Léoville Poyferré St.-Julien 2001 (90 points, $35 on release).