According to some pundits, Bordeaux is out of fashion. But in my experience, these aristocratic reds still earn respect and admiration.
I host an annual charity wine dinner for the Mary Wade Home, a non-profit senior care organization in New Haven, Conn. Founded in 1866, the Home delivers skilled and compassionate care to people in difficult circumstances. At the dinner, I auction myself off for an evening of wine and food at a local restaurant. In 2010, this smaller dinner was donated by John Davenport’s, the restaurant in the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale, and recently, the buyers and I gathered for a delightful evening.
The theme was “A Tour of France,” and the wines included Champagne, Sancerre, Chassagne-Montrachet, Crozes-Hermitage and Gewürztraminer. But the highlight was a magnum of Château Montrose 2000. The estate, which was ranked as a second-growth in the Classification of 1855, is located in St.-Estèphe and produces about 20,000 cases each year of a blend that is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, with Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The wine is generally muscular and long-lived, but like all the best Bordeaux, it remains refined and harmonious.
The 2000 was showing beautifully. It was still quite youthful, with plenty of tannic structure and a rich, dense core of black cherry and currant fruit. Yet the aromas were complex and alluring, offering notes of tobacco, licorice and clean leather, foreshadowing the maturity to come. The wine was a wonderful match for the sweet, earthy flavors of roasted lamb loin accompanied by wild mushrooms and a medallion of seared foie gras. I rated it 97 points, non-blind, a fitting tribute to the institution it was honoring that night.
The next Mary Wade Home wine dinner will be held April 30, 2011. Visit the Facebook page for more information.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for and view retrospective tasting notes and the current auction price for Château Montrose St.-Estèphe 2000 (95 points, $87 on release).
• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Bordeaux reds.