Dinner with Les Oenarchs, at Charleston, Baltimore
An exceptional meal from chef Cindy Wolf at Charleston highlighted this blind tasting of Barolos. It was very easy to pick out the theme, of course, but the surprise was that they had been decanted three hours in advance, and because of that seemed more open-knit and forward than I would have thought for 1996. (I guessed 1997 Barolo ... duh!) All the wines showed well except for the corked bottle of Corino's 1996 Vigneto Arborina and an off bottle of Giacosa's 1996 Barolo Falletto. The other wines were very sweet, classic, yet vibrant and young. I am still perplexed with how I could have thought it was 1997, because 1996 is a vintage which seems to have more tannin and structure than the more over-the-top style of the 1997s, although the 1997s have calmed down and are far more civilized than I would have thought.
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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...