Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Wine >
Nov 17, 2013 07:21 PM

2001 Ch Leoville Barton food pairing suggestions

A friend I just gave me a bottle of 2001 Ch Leoville Barton. Any Bordeaux experts out there who can weigh in on how this wine is drinking now? Suggestions for food to let it shine, if now is the time? Thanks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Château Léoville Barton is a 2me Cru -- as are its siblings, the châteaux Léoville Las Cases and Léoville Poyforré. It produced from (approximately) 72 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 20 percent Merlot, and 8 percent Cabernet Franc (as is its smaller "cousin," the 3me Cru Ch. Langoa Barton). So, basically, anything you like Cabernet with, this wine should pair well with.

    Given the fact that it's a Bordeaux, however, rather than a California Cabernet, I would do (for example) a roast, rather than a steak off the grill; a leg of lamb, rather than grilled lamb chops -- if you understand what I'm driving at.

    And yes, it should be fine now . . .

    2 Replies
    1. re: zin1953

      Zin1953 -- Thanks for the ideas. Sounds like you're suggesting understated rather than in your face is the way to go. Works for me.

      1. re: SamandRocky

        A cal cab would definitely go better with a grilled steak or lamb, but those meats wouldn't be a mismatch for this wine.

        That's my wedding year so I bought, and have tried some of these, along with other left bankers. It isn't a great vintage.

        L.Barton is a pretty tannic wine and this one is no exception. In fact, since it is not as lush and deep-fruited as some classic vintages, it came off as quite tannic and astringent early on. It's entering it's drinking window, and has softened at a relatively young age. But it is still somewhat sharp. I would definitely decant it for at least 1.5 hours, or maybe up to 2.5. Enjoy it.

    2. Lucky you! I'd be serving it for Christmas dinner with Prime Rib!

      Bordeaux, especially older ones, beg to be the center of attention, so I prefer simpler preparations -- a beautiful piece of meat seasoned only with salt and pepper, so nothing clashes with that wine.

      10 Replies
      1. re: ChefJune

        Yes, lucky us. At a recent dinner party, this same friend poured a decanted "little french country red," which turned out to be an "82 Ch Margaux. Oh my. I haven't had a chance to drink many bottles of that quality. What was most startling to me was how young, fresh, and balanced it tasted, with a marvelous, long finish. In any event, I think the idea of a "beautiful piece of meet," simply seasoned might suit this bottle very well. I am definitely torn between leg of lamb (thanks again, zin1953) and your prime rib idea.

        1. re: SamandRocky

          I prefer lamb to beef, except when drinking mature Bordeaux.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            So "mature" would be how old, generally? I really want to let this wine show to its best effect, and I don't have a bunch of these downstairs.

            1. re: SamandRocky

              Depends on the vintage and how it has been stored. Consensus on Cellar Tracker seems to be that's ready to drink but not yet at its peak.


              1. re: SamandRocky

                As Robert alluded to below (and excuse me if you already know) bordeaux vintages (and wines) vary. One vintage might not be ready to drink, while another which is slightly younger might be.

                As an example I would say that the 99 Leoville Barton is more mature than the 2000, and that the 2001 is probably in between. If I were forced to guess on a very broad age at which left-bank Bordeaux is mature it would be about 15 years. But there are people who feel that since SOME of the wines evolve up to 50+, that something like the 89s and 90s are not mature.

                Classic vinatges typically improve longer into the curve. I think the 2000 L-B is definitely still improving. It will drink in a peak from 2015-2025. It has the depth and structure to do so. The 99 is a wine of less structure and has been in it's peak drinking window for a couple of years now. It's a softer, lower acid and tannin wine. The 2001 is (IMO) not as concentrated as either of those wines. So it isn't going to be at peak after 2020. Yet it has more acid and tannin than the 99. So while the 99 has been ready to go for a couple of years, the 2001 is just beginning.
                It isn't going to get better by a longshot by waiting another 5+ years. Some may feel it improved with the five years, some not. But it definitely needs air if you are going to drink it now.
                Do you have a decanter?

                1. re: SamandRocky

                  2001 is 12 years old, so that's not "old" wine, but I would say it's mature -- or certainly on its way. Either lamb or beef would be delicious with it.

                  1. re: ChefJune

                    Depending on the wine, a 2001 could be way over the hill or nowhere near ready to drink.

                    Given the frequent recommendations to open this particular wine hours earlier, personally I'd leave it in the cellar and check once a year or so to see when it might be around its peak.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      I gathered from the original post that the OP wants to serve it soon. As in this holiday season. And I think that's not an unreasonable decision. Unless one has a case of a certain wine that one can really "check once a year or so to see when it might be around its peak," one has only the opinions of others as to the "readiness" of that one special bottle. It would be a pity to let it sit and get over the hill waiting for Mr or Ms Expert to tell one when the wine is ready.

                      As well, if you're in my age group, you've already begun to wonder what the heck you're saving all these special bottles for. I know my nephew would appreciate inheriting them, but I'd prefer to enjoy them myself. Just saying.

                      1. re: ChefJune

                        The original post says, "if now is the time?"

                        When I have one bottle I want to drink at the right time, I depend on tasting notes I find online. That's not perfect but it's better than drinking something too soon.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          Thanks for all of the responses.

                          Yes, I do have a decanter (actually several). We will definitely decant if we decide to drink this soon.

                          There are certainly other "special" bottles in the cellar, so my question was really more about whether some of you knew how this wine is drinking at this point, since I do only have one of these. It does sound like it is beginning to drink pretty well, at least given a little time after opening, but it sounds like I could also easily wait a year or two.

                          Our inclination with Osso Buco would probably be to reach for something from Piedmont, and I wouldn't be too likely to think of a Bordeaux. We don't typically include tomato sauce in our versions, and I have never served it with a gremolata, which just seems too wine unfriendly.

                          In any event, thanks for the ideas and the CellarTracker info, and have a great Thanksgiving!


            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Thanks. As above, I'm torn. Lamb and Bordeaux is such a classic pairing, but roast beef is not far behind. I'll post again when we open this one,

            2. The bottom line is "rich red meat dishes", especially beef and lamb... from steak to osso bucco to lamb kebabs to roast beef to prime rib to kidney... nice also w/ simply-prepared venison....

              great w/ mushrooms (grilled or herb-sauteed in red wine)... truffle, black pepper

              Think prime rib w/ mushroom sauce, cracked fresh black pepper & parmesan dust :)

              Cheese course is ethereal with: parmesan reggiano, provolone val padana, 4yo cheddars, gouda.... for decadence think your favorite grilled cheddar burger w/ mushrooms.

              6 Replies
              1. re: TombstoneShadow

                Osso Buco? You would serve a tomato-based sauce with gremolata with aged claret?

                1. re: chefdilettante

                  Definitely hold the gremolata, but some osso buco recipes have no tomato (e.g. Mark Bittman's), or little enough not to be an issue.

                  1. re: chefdilettante

                    Well, *I* wouldn't, with or without tomato sauce . . .

                    1. re: zin1953

                      You don't like braised beef and bone marrow with old Bordeaux?

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Not a function of "don't like," Robert, but rather I prefer other options.

                    2. re: chefdilettante

                      I wouldn't serve Osso Buco with aged claret, no. But also there's no tomato at all in my recipe for Osso Buco. :)

                      and fwiw, Osso Buco in the traditional sense is veal which is not red meat.