Dinner with Friends at Petit Louis
I love the 1995 Beaucastel Roussanne Vieilles Vignes. I purchased a case when it was first released, and have drunk six bottles with great pleasure. However, I had a maderized bottle at the restaurant Pré Catalan in Paris. When I pulled this magnum out of my cellar, the color was worrisome. The wine still revealed plenty of orange marmalade/rosewater characteristics, but I am increasingly concerned about whether the 1995 will age as well as other vintages. Interestingly, it is one of only two vintages I am aware of where the Perrins were so concerned about low acidity of their old vine Roussanne that they did not put the wine through malolactic. Owners of this wine should monitor it carefully. My instincts suggest drinking it sooner rather than later.
The two Châteauneuf du Papes performed brilliantly. The 1983 Domaine Pégaü Châteauneuf du Pape has been fully mature for a number of years. It possesses plenty of amber and has deposited a heavy sediment, but the huge nose of pepper, licorice, sea breezes, and jammy fruit is sensational. It is full-bodied and velvety-textured. Still youthful, with at least a decade of life remaining, the 1990 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf du Pape was stunning from magnum. It possesses a dense ruby/purple color as well as a sweet nose of black fruits (primarily currants and plums), pepper, earth, and spice. This full-bodied, majestic Châteauneuf is the finest produced at Clos des Papes since 1978. Even the 2000 will not be this magnificent.
A magnum of 1989 La Dominique is just beginning to enter its plateau of maturity. Sumptuous, thick, and rich, with loads of black fruits, an unctuous texture, and subtle wood notes, this succulent, hedonistic St.-Emilion reveals that magic of its brilliant consultant, Michel Rolland. The undrinkable 1983 Fayolle Hermitage Les Dionnières revealed musty, stale mushroom aromas, little fruit, and no character. I'm sure there must be a few terroirists who would claim this reflects the terroir of Les Dionnières, and other purist consumers who would admire the wine for its absence of fruit, but in fact, this wine was a disaster.
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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...