Fontaine Gaillon

One of Paris's hot spots, this restaurant is owned by France's most fashionable couple of the moment, the well-known Chanel model and actress Carole Bouquet and her live-in boyfriend/bon vivant/actor/vineyard owner, Gérard Depardieu. I had the pleasure of enjoying a long lunch with Depardieu, who owns a number of small vineyard parcels in Bordeaux, Algeria, and Morocco, in addition to his famous Loire Valley estate. He is extraordinarily knowledgeable about both food and wine, so it is not surprising that he also owns a restaurant, of which he should be very proud. We talked about many things, mostly wine, and I learned that not only is he thrilled by the special cuvées being made by one of Bordeaux's great visionaries, Bernard Magrez, but his favorite wines in the world are the older vintages of Château Rayas made under the late Jacques Reynaud. We certainly have a common point of view on that issue. Our lunch included some very tasty ham, charcuterie, and beef washed down with copious quantities of wine. The Magrez-Fombrauge 2000 is a great young wine as well as a testament to Bernard Magrez's vision of quality. Of course the 1989 Rayas, which has taken a back seat to the more dramatic, flamboyant, fleshier 1990, is coming on like gang busters. When the 1990 begins to decline, the 1989 will just be hitting its peak. It's an extraordinary example of Rayas, with a kiss of kirsch liqueur intermixed with plenty of candied flowers. Both are brilliant offerings, but are made in completely different styles. We ended a marvelous lunch with a glass of Carole Bouquet's exceptional dessert wine from Sicily, her 2000 Muscat Passito di Pantelleria.

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