Charity/Award Dinner, Baltimore
The National Jewish Research Hospital gave me their annual Spirit of Achievement Award at a catered dinner held in Baltimore. Knowing it was going to be catered, I suspected the wines might be lousy. I wasn't completely wrong, although a local wholesaler did donate one attractive wine, the 1998 La Vieille Cure from Fronsac. Knowing I would be at the head table with some serious wine lovers, I brought jeroboams of 1989 Grand Mayne St.-Emilion, 1989 Haut-Brion, 1982 La Conseillante, and 1990 Vieux-Château-Certan. These were served to our table and shared with as many of the guests as possible. A perfect wine, the 1989 Haut-Brion is that estate's greatest effort since the 1961 and 1959. The sleeper was the 1989 Grand Mayne. Out of jeroboam it is still youthful and concentrated. The 1982 La Conseillante has been fully mature seemingly since it was bottled, but it is still fabulously drinkable. The 1990 Vieux-Château-Certan is a great vintage for this estate, the finest in the decade of the nineties until the 1998. It is a youthful, complex, cedary, savory Bordeaux that combines elegance and power. By the way, the food was ghastly.
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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...