Bring-Your-Own Party at a Friend's
This was a bring-your-own party at a friend's home. Someone brought a bottle of Beaulieu 1978 Burgundy. It was surprisingly good, even though it did not taste like Pinot Noir. I suspect that was only one of the grapes in the blend. It revealed considerable amber and needs to be drunk up. Someone else brought the 1990 Marietta Cabernet Sauvignon. One of my sleeper picks of that vintage, it remains a youthful, vigorous Cabernet offering loads of black currant fruit. Two bottles of 1996 Mount Eden Chardonnay were oxidized, probably from being killed in a nightmare storage facility. A bottle of 1993 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée St.-Vivant was the most controversial wine, with about two-thirds of the guests finding it undrinkable because of high acidity, and the other third finding it sort of autumnal in its mushroomy, leafy, decayed vegetation-like aromas. There are some great Burgundies from this vintage, but overall it is the proverbial pig-in-a-poke deal. I had mixed emotions about the wine because of its tart acid profile. A 1988 Salon Champagne was brilliant, but I can't wait for the 1990 to hit the shelves as it is an even greater wine. The wine of the evening, based on how quickly a double magnum was consumed, was the 1996 Clarendon Hills Grenache Clarendon Vineyard. Clarendon Hills is one of my favorite Australian wineries. No one makes better Grenache, or for that matter, Shiraz. Their old vine Grenache cuvées are spectacular. Although still an infant, this wine could be considered the Australian version of Château Rayas.
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Petit Louis Bistro
A lookalike, authentic French bistro, Petit Louis in Baltimore's Roland Park is the creation of restauranteurs par excellence Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman. You feel like you’ve walked into a bistro on the Left Bank of Paris when you enter Petit Louis. The food is classic bistro, and they do it well. All of the courses we had were flavorful, sometimes a trifle rustic, but delicious in their intensity. This was good comfort food prepared extremely well. The wines started with one of the major surprises for me over the last year, the 2006 sparking wine from Tony Soter in Oregon. I had this several times while I was out visiting Oregon, and I had always been impressed, but this is a 10-year-old sparking Rosé that is just sensational, and I’m talking world class—it’s that good. Something this good from France would cost at least two to three times as much, so kudos to Tony Soter. The 1995 Billaud-Simon Chablis Mont de Milieu was oxidized and undrinkable. The 1996 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos St. Urbain Rangen de Thann was sweet, and although it went well with the foie gras, it was just a little too unctuous and sweet a wine...