Sunday, February 9th was the annual Fete du Bordeaux at One Market in San Francisco, the Bordeaux dinner event of the year. Over a hundred guests and the heads of both Langoa/Leoville Barton and Lynch Bages convened for a champagne reception, tasting the 2011’s from the three chateaus as well as those from Tronquoy-Lalande, and Chateau Montrose, and then sat down to a four-course dinner accompanied by eight incredible wines.
Having just tasted the 2011’s at UGC, I was blown away by how much they had evolved. Could it be the two weeks safe on land, the extra two weeks in bottle, or the perfectly seasoned duck liver mousse on cristini that was being passed? Either way, it was noted that the wines had gained flesh and sweetness since being tasted just weeks before. The Langoa was sweet fruit up front with distinct minerality on the finish, the Leoville was exceptional, and everything that I’ve come to expect from the Bartons. This year Damien Barton-Sartorius, part of the seventh generation to be involved with the Chateaus, accompanied his grandmother Eva Barton, and was every bit as charming as his grandfather.
The wines served with dinner were all enjoyable and were kicked off by the exquisite 2012 Blanc de Lynch Bages. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Muscadelle, fermented and aged in a blend of neutral and new oak, this wine is the definition of delicious. Served with slow cooked Steelhead with celery root “risotto” and blood oranges, I felt that the celery root overpowered the wine, which would have been better served over a simpler arborio risotto, so that the nuances of tropical fruits, grapefruit, jasmine, honeysuckle, and wisps of vanilla could have come through.
The first flight accompanied a slow braised beef short rib over polenta with broccoli rabe and roasted garlic. The three paired wines were: 2000 Langoa Barton, tasting of blackberries and Fall leaves with plenty of acid to keep it going in your cellar for quite some time; the 2005 Lynch Bages, which was a sexy wine with solid tannic grip; and the 2005 Montrose which was soft, inky, and had traces of pencil lead and cherry blossoms.
The primarily hard-cheese course was paired with: 1990 Leoville Barton, charming and plummy with hints of menthol; 1990 Lynch Bages, which threw a touch of sediment, but was otherwise a perfect wine; and the 1998 Montrose, which was earthy, with nice ripe fruit, but had substantial tannins that took hold of the glass.
The evening was concluded with a glass of 2003 Suduiraut with an apple tart and cinnamon ice cream that was nothing short of delicious.
Clyde Beffa’s Impressions:
The Ormes was quite nice that night. All the wines needed air and finally came around. The Leoville and Lynch were still tight and needed double decanting. The Montrose was surprisingly softer than the first two-toasty and full bodied with long finish-new style for Montrose? Tronquoy good but we did not buy-have the great 2009 coming in at only a bit higher price. Langoa was black cherry cola on nose. Elegant.
My fave on the dinner was 1990 Leoville-will go ten more years easy.