2011 Leoville-Barton, St. Julien ($74)
Firmly structured, dense and medium-bodied with moderate tannin, this austere and backward yet well-endowed 2011 needs 5-7 years of bottle age. Whether the fruit holds up to the tannic structure remains to be seen, but the dark ruby/purple color, purity and impressive depth as well as concentration augur well for future positive development. Forget this 2011 for 5-6 years and drink it over the following 15-20.
Some of the fruit for this Cabernet-dominated blend come from 80-year-old vines, which explains the wine’s depth. Earthy black currant, cedar and tobacco scents lead to a firm, savory palate defined by black currant, cedar and plum tones. Save this traditionally-styled red Bordeaux for the table: This is a wine meant to be sipped with dinner, not as an apéritif. Beef and lamb are fine tradtional accompaniments, though duck will do just as well. Stay away from sweet flavorings (fruits, balasamic vinegar, added sugars) and stick to savory, earthy and herby seasonings. Herbs, mushrooms and root vegetables are ideal.
2011 Domaine du Seuil Cotes des Bordeaux ($10)
2011 La Dame de Montrose, St.-Estephe ($40)
The 2011 La Dame de Montrose is a spicy, ripe 2011 with lots of fat as well as abundant notes of blueberries and black currants in addition to a sexy, open-knit, mid-weight personality. Drink this seductive effort over the next decade. A blend of 72% Merlot and 27% Cabernet Franc, it displays fine minerality on the nose with good precision: blackberry, iodine and a touch of pencil lead. The palate is medium-bodied with a very tannic entry, gritty in the mouth with noticeable graphite and tertiary flavours.