Wine Night - What to bring for an '83 Margaux
Yes, the dilemma I have. A friend of mine (born in 1983, named Margaux) is opening an '83 Margaux (Ch. Margaux) Saturday. Another friend is bringing his 1995 Brunello, and I am thinking of bringing two '97 Cabs (Ch. St. Jean Cinq Cepages, and a Mondavi).
What to eat/prepare? Is it too much good wine all at once (about 10 people at the party, only about 6 who will drink red wine).
I assume all need decanting. Any suggestions?
The question was addressed not long ago in a thread about pairings for an '82 Margaux. See www.chowhound.com/topics/465697
The '83 is a slightly less vigorous wine, so all the more reason to avoid powerful flavours.
Your inclusion of a Brunello and some CalCabs might incline me slightly toward beef. Roast duck (with cornbread-porcini stuffing?) would be another possibility.
Six drinkers can easily go through four bottles in a well-watered evening.
The only reason for decanting would be to deal with any sediment the wines may have thrown.
Reviewing your proposed wine night I'm wondering what the "theme" is here... So, my suggestion would be to develop the theme first. Alternatives might be:
Theme 1: On your current course, you are very "cabernet sauvignon" focused with a CS-dominant Bordeaux, a 97 Sonoma Cab and a 97 Napa Cab... the Brunello is sort of an "outlier" here,actually.
Theme Alternative 2: Drop the Brunello and make it a full "cabernet night"... bring in a Chilean cab, an aussie cab, etc... pair them up with some nice food and cheese pairings and everybody learns something...
Theme Alternative 3: Make it a "rich reds" night... You already have a Cabernet Blend (the Margaux), and a Sangiovese (the brunello)... add a Shiraz, a Zinfandel, a Malbec, Nebbiolo, Tempranillo, or Southern Rhone, for example... THIS WOULD BE MY PREFERENCE, given that your two friends are already on the Cab and Sangiovese, perhaps you could bring the Zin and Tempranillo ?? Then you make it an evening of sampling and comparing/contrasting the flavors of these great red wines.
As for appropriate pairings... lamb, steak, prime rib, rich stews, venison... are all beautiful...
For a cheese plate look towards Parmesan Reggiano, Pecorinos, Provolone val Padana, Chevre, and aged Cheddars...
Please report back on the evening, however you structure it.
re: Chicago Mike
Good questions, Chicago Mike. The theme was 'drink those we are overdue to drink'. Hence the two older wines, and the '97 cabs. Therefore, I think your alternative 3 is a good idea. I could find a good Zin (I have some Bella and Martinelli) and even have a St. Francis '97 Merlot as well.
That sounds really good to me... so you end up with 4 different varietals to enjoy.
The other suggestion I might make here is that a "red only" wine night can be a bit limited...
Since you're looking for "bottles that need to be opened", do you have any whites in that category? How about dessert wines?
Regardless, it would be cool to start the evning off with a sparkler or white and some matching appetizers then migrate to your richer reds and the main course(s). :) The appetizer wine need not be a trophy, it could just be a 15 dollar bottle of moscato d'asti for that matter.
I also would vote for the beef, since the Brunello is present. The lamb that would set off the Margaux to best advantage, imho would not be the lamb prep for the Brunello!
and be sure to drink the Margaux early in the evening. Everything else will be more powerful than it, and you want it to star as well.
Thanks all! I'll let you know how it goes. Maybe we'll make both lamb and beef. Actually, we'll start with a few whites (not worthy of mention, but good nonetheless - and we love moscato d'asti), and go to Margaux.
I also have some sauternes and a vintage port in need of a wine opener. :-)