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Executive editor Thomas Matthews joined Wine Spectator in 1988. His tasting beat is Spain.
Thomas Matthews

Beef and Bordeaux

Château Lynch-Bages Pauillac 1989

Thomas Matthews
Posted: December 29, 2011

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.

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.

Marc Robillard
Montreal,Canada —  December 30, 2011 1:32pm ET
Thanks Thomas...Now that's a roast!
I am having prime rib roast myself for New Years Eve and have two bottles of the '89 Lynch Bages in the cellar. I know the wine is a classic but was wondering, based on your recent tasting/drinking of the wine, what would the current drinking window be on this wine? I.e. Does it still have 5-10years+ ahead of it or is it time to drink up.
Thanks and Happy New Year!
Thomas Matthews
New York City —  December 31, 2011 2:27pm ET
Based on my Christmas bottle, it's hard to imagine the '89 Lynch Bages getting any better! But it's certainly still vigorous, balanced and complex, and I estimate it will stay on its plateau for at least five more years. The important question is: at what stage do you prefer your wines? Right now, the Lynch had just the balance of fruit and maturity I find ideal.

Happy New Year!

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