When a family member or friend offers up a bottle of Château Montrose, any doubt that the evening will be memorable should immediately fade. Though not classified as a first-growth Bordeaux, the estate’s passion for perfecting each of its grand vins places this wine at a close second—quite literally, according to the Bordeaux Classification of 1855.
Regardless of classification, any Bordeaux that blends Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot as elegantly as a Château Montrose does can elevate an already special occasion to an unforgettable event. For this reason, it’s worth serving at least one dish that specifically complements this typically powerful, often sensual red wine. Whether you’re hosting or planning to treat your host to a fine Bordeaux blend, being familiar with some of the best Château Montrose food pairings will help you make the right purchase—and ensure dinner goes off without a hitch.
General Advice for Pairing Food With Fine Bordeaux
As a general rule, the side of the Gironde Estuary on which a Bordeaux estate is located should be a major consideration when pairing a Bordeaux wine with food. Comparing Left Bank and Right Bank Bordeaux, you’ll find that Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the Left Bank, while Merlot prevails on the Right Bank. Cabernet Sauvignon tends to be more full-bodied and higher in acidity and tannin than the somewhat softer, medium-weight Merlot; you’ll want to keep this in mind as you choose dishes to balance—or bolster—the flavor profile of the dominant grape in your Bordeaux blend.
Successfully pairing food with a fine Bordeaux also hinges on whether it’s an older or younger vintage.
Because Château Montrose is located on the Left Bank and typically made with at least 60-percent Cabernet Sauvignon, it pairs best with flavorful, savory foods that can stand up to its tannin and big fruit. Of course, your food choices shouldn’t overwhelm the wine, either–simply grilled meats, pastas, and hard cheeses are failproof pairings.
Successfully pairing food with a fine Bordeaux also hinges on whether it’s an older or younger vintage. Here are a few age-related guidelines to keep in mind when matching a fine wine like Château Montrose with food.
Older Bordeaux: For older Bordeaux wines nearing the end of their peak drinking window, like the 1982 or 1989 Château Montrose, a simply prepared meat should be the centerpiece of your meal. Roast leg of lamb, duck magret, or a filet mignon will do—nothing too gamey or made with a heavy sauce. If serving cheese with the wine before the main meal, choose a Swiss Gruyère or its French counterpart, Comté.
Younger Bordeaux: With younger, livelier Bordeaux, you can serve fattier, heavier, and even spiced meat—or meatless—dishes. A recent bottle like the 2016 Château Montrose might accompany duck fat roasted potatoes and caramel chicken. A four-cheese risotto or a cheese soufflé pairs nicely with recent Château Montrose vintages as well.
Heighten the Celebration With These Château Montrose Food Pairings
If you’ve got an upcoming celebration or important dinner party to throw and want to serve a delectable dish alongside one of the very best Château Montrose vintages ever made, we’ve got a few specific suggestions. Here are some iconic Château Montrose vintages and food pairings, with notes about their drinking windows included:
1990: While this wine may still be deliciously drinkable for another decade or more, it has reached its peak, so keep your pairing simple and let the wine carry the meal. Serve a rack of lamb as the main course and a semi-soft, milder cheese like Emmental.
2003: For this slightly older vintage, serve a cheese board with young Manchego, Brie, and Gouda. If pairing it with a main dish, try grilled venison or pasta with mushrooms and herbs. Drinking window: now through 2030.
2009: A traditional Scottish beef stew, Beef Wellington, or oven-baked chicken and gratin dauphinois would all pair well with a 2009—drinking now through 2045.
2010: A wine built for aging, the 2010 vintage is dense and tannic. Try not to open this vintage until 2030. When it’s ready, pair it with roast duck noodle soup or a charcuterie board that includes mild cheeses like Jarlsberg.
2014: Now through 2030, try pairing roast lamb seasoned with garlic and rosemary with this refined Château Montrose vintage. An aged cheddar or hard Pecorino pairs nicely with the wine’s medium body and black and red fruit flavors, too.
2015: You’ll have to wait a few more years before this vintage is ready to drink (2024). But, when it is, serve it with top sirloin steak and pan-seared onions or filet mignon dressed lightly in mango salsa.
2017: Serving this 76-percent Cabernet Sauvignon blend with baked fish in a rich tomato sauce or red wine reduction makes an unusual, but intriguing, food pairing. You’ll need to give this vintage a little more time, but with a drinking window from 2025 to 2045, you won’t be waiting too long.
2018: The 2018 Bordeaux harvest was one of the best on record and when the drinking window for this vintage rolls around in 2028, you won’t be disappointed. Roast pheasant with shallots and mushrooms will complement this vintage beautifully as would a simple bacon-and-leek quiche or a wedge of Roquefort.
Have Options on Hand to Make Every Occasion a Success
Whether you’re planning ahead for a loved one’s wedding or want to celebrate a landmark birthday for a spouse or dear friend, you can’t go wrong with any of the Château Montrose food pairings above. Before you open a bottle, though, consider whether the vintage is best suited for enjoying now or sometime in the future. The best vintages from Château Montrose are meant to be aged for a significant period of time. Even a vintage within its drinking window today, like the 2009 Château Montrose, might be worth setting aside for another decade or more. Better yet, if you can locate more than one bottle of a great Château Montrose vintage, open one now with a great meal and place the other in professional storage to develop even more complexity.
Whether you are starting your high-end wine collection or adding to an established portfolio, Vinfolio is your partner in buying, selling, and professional storage. Contact us today to get access to the world’s finest wine.