I cooked for 11 on Christmas Day this year. The menu was based on my mother’s traditional holiday dinner; the centerpiece was a seven-rib beef roast from Florence Prime Meat Market in Greenwich Village. I wanted big, but I didn’t really expect a 28-pound beast. I was tempted to saddle it up and ride it home to Brooklyn. I’ve never cooked such a big piece of meat; in fact, I had to cut it in half to fit it in my oven. Fortunately, it turned out great (and we have plenty of leftovers).
Bordeaux seemed the classic match. My friend Jim raided his cellar and brought three beauties: Château Troplong-Mondot St.-Emilion 1989, Château Lynch-Bages Pauillac 1989 and Château Latour Pauillac 1988.
This intimidating Christmas rib roast was balanced by a trio of older Bordeauxs, led by a 1989 Château Lynch-Bages.
Each wine showed its character, vintage and terroir. The St.-Emilion was round and sweet, but still fresh; the Latour was massive, balanced and still youthful. All were so delicious it was difficult to pick a favorite, but the company seemed most to appreciate the Lynch-Bages. It was big but graceful, complex with plum, tobacco, leather and spice flavors, the ripe tannins smooth with age, but with just enough grip to balance the fat in the beef. I rated it 97 points, non-blind. And Jim, you can come to dinner any time.
WineSpectator.com members: See the original blind-tasting review, retrospective tasting notes and current auction price for Château Lynch-Bages Pauillac 1989 (98 points on release).
• Plus, see scores and tasting notes for more recently rated, outstanding and classic red Bordeaux.