Classic wine and food pairings deliver. Once a week, Cinnamon and I enjoy a steak and a good bottle of Bordeaux and I feel that this combination is the benchmark to measure all other pairings by. Last night Cinnamon prepared one thick ribeye in her grandmother’s cast iron pan, some frites and green beans, and we paired it with the 2001 Malescasse, Haut-Médoc ($21.99). I was in heaven.
Counting back past blog posts, I am starting to sound like a broken record. This is the sixth piece I have written on good value Bordeaux and steak, and it is not because I am out of ideas, but because the pairing really is that good, and mature Bordeaux at good prices are a constant here at K&L. If you haven’t had the two together for a while, I hope this will encourage you to do it soon!
Chateau Malescasse is located in Lamarque, on the banks of the Gironde between Margaux and St. Julien. The vineyards are planted on the highest gravel “croupe” in the commune, and like all the best sites in Bordeaux, have a good view of the river. This allows for great drainage, and very consistent high quality at the property. The Chateau was built on this large 275 acre property back in 1824. It is planted to 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 4% Petite Verdot and 6% Cabernet Franc. The vines average 34 years old. The current cellar master, Mr. Bertrand Chemin, recently made headlines by declassifying the entire 2013 vintage, which he deemed too poor to be called Malescasse.
I first tasted this wine out of barrel on March 8th 2002, at the UGC Haut Medoc tasting at Chateau Citran. The only wine that I gave higher marks to on that occasion was the Cantemerle, which I would love to drink again, but would not expect to buy for $21.99. My notes read “Medium bodied, old school dark fruit style that shows seamless balance” and that is still true today. The nose is now as generous as a top Margaux, with wonderful earthy, brambly black fruit. In the mouth the texture is perfect, velvety without being heavy, mouth filling without being cloying. The fruit is vivacious and youthful, but the tannin has had time to resolve, leaving enough acidity behind to wash away the fat of a steak perfectly.
I promised myself yesterday morning that I wouldn’t be a Bordeaux hog at dinner, but failed to live up to my aspirations. I love to drink my claret with each and every bite of ribeye, and I let Cinnamon carry the conversation as I carried the bottle… Time to buy a case of this one! –Gary Westby