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What would you serve with a 1982 Ch Margaux?

It's a bit embarrassing - we were given a bottle of 1982 Margaux as a wedding present (it actually arrived 3 years later in 1985), and now has come the time to let the cork fly.

Unfortunately, we've never had anything like this before, and dread overpowering/mis-matching it with the dinner we want to make for it. We're currently leaning towards fillet steaks - but what kind of sauce, veggies etc.

Any ideas/suggestions of what you would do would be great.

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  1. I would save it for after dinner with a nice salty but not super pungent cheese. A wine like this needs to be the star and I find that mixing to many flavors can distract from the subtle complexity of an aged wine and with a wine like this that would be very sad.

    1. Steak, roast beef, a leg of lamb, a cheese course even . . .

      1. A fine roast of young lamb or aged beef, simply prepared, light on the seasonings (only a whiff of garlic). Sauce optional, but if you go that route, base it on the pan drippings.

        Since the '82 Margaux is still quite vigorous, if you opted for fillet steaks, you could get away with serving a rich sauce, like a béarnaise or mushroom sauce.

        Sides? Mashed/puréed or roasted potatoes (if doing lamb, you can pile sliced potatoes in the roasting pan and roast the lamb on a rack above them, flavouring the spuds with the drippings). Flageolets, whole or puréed. Roasted root vegetables. Roasted, steamed or creamed cauliflower. Roasted or sautéed mushrooms. Green beans with butter. Creamed spinach. Braised leeks. Avoid asparagus and artichokes.

        Personally, I'd skip the cheese (though a dusting of parmesan on the vegetables wouldn't be out of place). There are very few that show aged Bordeaux in a flattering light.

        1. We had an '82 margaux (Chateau Prieure Lichine) that was given to us as a gift also. We drank it back in '97-'98 maybe. Anyway, it was the most gorgeous, beautiful thing EVER. I agree that a simply prepared roast of aged beef or lamb is the way to go. Mashed potatoes or maybe even some polenta(if you make a gravy). Don't over season anything, keep it simple. Add some lovely crusty bread and don't forget to decant! Post back and give us your recount! I'm so jealous.

          1 Reply
          1. re: lynnlato

            Thank you all so much for the suggestions - it sounds like simplicity + quality ingredients is the way to go. This is really helpful, as we were considering the more radical route of home-made brown sauce (baked veal bone stock and the full monty).

            These once-in-a-lifetime things are a real pain! Thanks again.

          2. 1982 was a superb year for clarets! Have you considered trading it in for a new Mercedes? '-)

            Well, if you're determined to drink it (and why not!), and if you like beef, I would only consider grass fed dry aged beef, which will cost a hefty penny, but nothing close to the wine! Tournedos Rossini would certainly live up to the wine. And I would go with the traditional method of serving the tournedo on a crouton to catch the juices. Not sure Id have any starch with it. The crouton should be enough. For a first course, maybe a stuffed artichoke? Artichokes will fine tune your taste buds for what is to come! Vegetable? Not sure, but I would NOT serve asparagus! Maybe some really nice haricots vert? Dessert? I's just sit and sip whatever is left of the Margaux.

            Whatever you decide, enjoy!

            5 Replies
            1. re: Caroline1

              >Artichokes will fine tune your taste buds for what is to come!

              Uh, not a good idea. Artichokes do just the opposite.

              1. re: maria lorraine

                Maybe I'm the victim of PR from the artichoke growers of California? For years I've used artichokes to "fine tune" the taste buds, as well as regularly running across "research" information that supports this. Just ran a search on Google for "artichoke as flavor enhancer" and didn't come up with as much info as I expected, but at least found a U.S. patent application for an artichoke "powder" to be used to enhance flavors of food. You can find it here: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4122... Sounds like a better choice than MSG!

                It is possible that artichokes fall into that category of food perceptions that vary widely from person to person. For example, when my kids were still in school and the family would go out for Mexican food, when the gratis chips and salsa were brought with the menus, we knew that if my husband and daughter said the salsa was mild, it would burn the taste buds off my and my son's tongues! And the opposite was also true. What John and I found mild would kill the other two.

                For me, artichokes do enhance my perception of food flavors. It's why I find them so interesting as an ingredient in chef's salads, or even in a pasta "primavera" type of creative sauce. They even make water taste somewhat sweet.

                The Italians came up with an artichoke aperitif that was initially touted as a flavor enhancer for food to follow. Haven't seen it promoted as such in a while (but haven't been looking), but according to the web, Cynar is now ranked as one of the top selling 100 liqueurs in the world. It must be doing something right!

                Obviously, mileage varies! '-)

                1. re: Caroline1

                  The cynarin in artichokes is a well-documented wine killer.

                  It also changes the perception of food flavors in the same way it does wine flavors -- making them appear either sweeter or metallic. So while you may look upon artichokes as an "enhancer" -- YMEvidentlyDoesV -- others, especially when evaluating wine, look upon artichokes as a distorter of flavors.

                  Google cynarin for more info. And perhaps try a few more experiments?

                  One last tip: grilling artichokes removes much of the cynarin.
                  Make a good aioli and you can bring back the wine.

                  1. re: maria lorraine

                    I was not suggesting the artichokes *with* the wine. A good time before! And the more I think about the wine (in this bright mood of green I'm sporting!), the more I think I would just sit back and enjoy the wine and skip the rest of the meal! The one time in my life I had a glass of Chateau d'Yquem, I don't think I had anything with it. If I did, it has loooooooong since faded from memory, but that glass of ecstasy dancing on my tongue lives on....! Some things are just solo acts. '-)

                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      Don't want to beat a dead horse, but did lots of Googling and didn't find anything that contradicts what I suggested. As a course by itself, without wine. Well, not exactly true. I DID learn that maybe if I had eaten more artichokes throughout my lifetime I might still have my gall bladder...! '-) The bits and pieces of us we lose to ignorance. <sigh>

              2. My number 1 choice would be a prime rib. A roasted tenderloin would be awesome. Fliets, ribeyes, any steak, really. Roast leg of lamb, grilled leg of lamb, rack of lamb... I'd keep to mamals and avoid aromatic preperations and braising. Simply prepared red meat and you are good to go; but, as I said, I would go for roasting some well marbled beef as my first choice.

                I wouldn't use a sauce, just a dry rub of garlic and pepper, maybe a little olive oil. for veggiest I'd roast some root veggies in garlic and olive oil. Just keep it simple with a wine like that.

                3 Replies
                1. re: whiner

                  Two glasses, an unscented candle, and your favorite music..........................

                  1. re: TonyO

                    Perfect way to celebrate an incredibale bottle of wine and a wedding present!
                    Good call.

                  2. Macaroni and Cheese, baked in a gratin, heavy on the cream and gruyere - Had it recently with the '82 Les Forts de Latour - an excellent and satisfying pairing that allowed the wine to take center stage.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Sam B

                      cheese and wine...does it get any better?? Pretty sexy idea to serve something so humble with such a noble wine...gotta love that.

                      1. re: bubbles4me

                        "Pretty sexy idea to serve something so humble with such a noble wine...gotta love that"

                        There is a trend among my wine friends to serve really good hamburgers, light on the condiments, maybe with some melted cheddar or grilled onions with incredible Cabernets. To be honest, one night we had the 1982 Pichon-Lalande, 1970 Montrose, 1990 Montrose, and 2001 Peter Michael Les Pavots with burgers and while I knew the Peter Michael and the Montroses would work well, I had my doubts about the Pichon-Lalande, but the pairing there was really good, too. Come to think of it... I also had a 1990 Chateau Margaux with a good hamburger. Again, a good pairing. Still, though, part of the idea of doing something like that is to keep the evening casual. It seems like OP doesn't necessarily want a casual evening and I do think simply prepared (slight preference for roasted above grilled) is the best way to go here.

                        1. re: whiner

                          >There is a trend among my wine friends to serve really good hamburgers, light on the condiments, maybe with some melted cheddar or grilled onions with incredible Cabernets.

                          Maybe we have some of the same friends, because I/we love this.

                          Agree that the OP may want a special meal to go with this special bottle. Even in that instance, I'd keep it simple. A fabulous piece of marbled beef, seasoned simply, grilled. Simple accompaniments. The idea is to let the wine shine and let its subtleties of flavor come through without any competition from the food.

                          Please forgive me for mentioning this, widowtwanky [gawd, great handle! -- can't believe I'm pecking that out on the keyboard]...

                          ...but just in case the bottle is somehow not OK, have another bottle of good red as a backup to enjoy with your meal.

                    2. Well that should be a phenomenal bottle of wine, so for the first tastings I'd really just have it by itself... decant for at least an hour prior to serving.

                      Now that you've had a glass, move onto the meal.

                      The ideal setting is a steak/rib house where one of you can order a grilled dish and the other a beautiful prime rib.

                      Prime rib
                      Grilled steak
                      Grilled lamb

                      SAUCE: Rich mushroom sauce or gravy of pan au-jus deglaze, marrow, red wine reduction, fresh grated parmesan reggiano, and cracked black pepper.

                      The above matched with a beautiful cabernet will blow the roof off :)

                      Serve a cheese plate of: Aged Cheddar (4 Yr is optimal), Chevre, Gouda, Parmesan Reggiano, and Provolone val Padana.

                      1. I would do either a frenched and capped rack of young lamb rubbed with garlic, salt, and coarse black pepper, seared in a heavy ovenproof skillet then pan roasted at 400dg. until an internal temp of about 105. let it rest for about 10 min before carving. serve with skin on smashed redskin potatoes and the juices from the pan deglazed with a little cognac and butter. or get some choice chuck roast and have it ground about 80/20 and lightly season with garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper, mustard powder, and a little chopped parsley. lightly form into burgers(about 8 oz.) about 1 " thick. slice a mediium-large onion and saute in a little butter till caramelized. bring a cast iron skillet to high heat sear the burgers and cook till crusty on bottom. turn and place a thin slice of roquefort cheese on top to melt while second side cooks. serve while still dark pink inside and crusty on the outside. strew the sauteed onions over the burgers and serve with some mashed potatoes or pan fries. these will compliment the deep blkack fruit and the residual tannins will cut through the richness of the meat.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: chazzerking

                          The lamb sounds lovely, perfect with a wonderful bordeaux. The burger sounded great until you mentioned the roquefort. I would be worried about overwhelming the lovely Margaux with a strong blue cheese. Would be willing to try it with a cheaper wine, but not an 82 Margaux. I think simpler is better when you want the focus on the wine.

                        2. [taking major gulp]

                          Widowtwanky, I'm sorry to say there's a chance -- a chance, mind you -- that this wine may be past its prime and something less than a full experience. The fruit may be thin, the tannins still coarse or rough, and the wine may "die" rather quickly in the glass. (Probably best not to decant if you were thinking of doing so.)

                          I just don't want you to be disappointed in case the wine is not glorious. Though I don't know your storage conditions over the last 25 years, they will certainly have played a role in the wine's current condition. Just as a precaution, keep the food flavors simple and have another bottle of red wine handy just in case.

                          Is this a celebratory meal, with the opening of a 25-year-old wedding-gift wine?

                          More info, FWIW, in the tasting notes on this wine at Cellar Tracker:

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: maria lorraine

                            Agree about keeping the flavours simple -- lamb or beef, roasted potatoes and root vegetables, pan juices, may some demi glace. I remember an '82 Margaux being exceptionally smooth and feminine, with lots of subtle stony and chalky qualities beneath the fruit when I tasted some about 2.5 years ago. I think the age on it should be ok; had an '83 Margaux from a half bottle in Jan and it was still in good condition. Of course this assumes optimal storage conditions.

                            1. re: limster

                              Not even optimal... just decent would be fine. I bet if that bottle had stayed at 65f, not 55f, all this time it would still be good.

                            1. Gotta agree wholeheartedly with the burger idea; otherwise I'd go with simply seasoned beef or lamb and potatoes. ie, echoing everything that's already been said. I also have to agree with maria lorraine's note of caution... wine is a finicky thing, esp. at 25+ years.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: tacostacoseverywhere

                                Just as it relates to the age of this wine, the last time I did a wide sampling of this era bordeaux was around 2000 at a huge CWC auction... with few exceptions many of the wines were still very tight or just opening up... I remember how gravelly the 82 Haut Brion was in the late 80s, like tasting concrete dust... it was just barely softening up in 2000!

                                along with alot of other tasters, we found the structure of these wines to be amazing...

                                if this bottle was reasonably well stored I wouldn't expect it to be in decline.

                                1. re: Chicago Mike

                                  This is exactly congruent with my experience (except the CWC auction bit, of course). Assuming proper storage, I expect the 1982 Margaux will have miles to go before it sleeps.

                                  1. re: Chicago Mike

                                    I totally agree that with proper storage the wine should be fine. It's just that the effects of less than proper storage will be considerably magnified in a wine of that age, no matter what the provenance. That said, it is just as likely that the wine will be glorious once it has had a moment to gather its bearings, so to speak.

                                2. Assuming it has been stored properly (someplace cool), the wine should be wonderful. If you are having it for your 35th anniversary (hey I can subtract) and you live somewhere that permits corkage, this would be the perfect wine to take to a great restaurant and have with a meal prepared especially for it. And before folks jump on my case, my wife and I did the same for our 20th. We took a 1985 Château Léoville Las Cases to dinner at a restaurant here in DC. When I set up the reservation, I asked to speak to the manager. I told him it was our 20th anniversary, what we were bringing with us, and asked that the chef prepare something appropriate. It was a fantastic meal and I didn't have to do any of the fussing about matching, cooking, or cleaning up. In fact the chef came out to have a glass with us and told us that he was pleased that we would allow him to choose what we were having for the special meal and special wine.

                                  2 Replies
                                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                                      Oooops. I can't subtract. But I'd still suggest letting the chef choose the menu if corkage is legal where they are.