La Beaugravière (second time around)
Another meal at La Beaugravière to celebrate the cépes season, Chef Jullien prepared a wonderful broth of summer vegetables with cépes. It was a beautifully light, delicious dish that was a perfect prelude to his famed puffed pastry stuffed with sautéed foie gras and black truffle ... yum, yum, yum. I couldn't resist the pavé de boeuf, especially in view of the wines I was drinking. We started with a brilliant bottle of Domaine Bongran (Jean Thevenet) 1999 Mâcon- Villages Tradition. This amazingly rich, complex wine is one of the finest from this region. We then had two wines that, while fabulous, are still entirely too young, the Vieille Julienne 2000and 2001 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserves. The 2000 is slightly more accessible than its younger sibling, but these are extraordinarily concentrated wines with great minerality, fabulous black raspberry, cherry, and blackberry fruit, marvelous body and depth, and amazing finishes. Both of these cuvées emerge from a vineyard planted in 1905 on pure sandy soil. Yields range between 15-30 hectoliters per hectare, even in abundant vintages. We finished with a great, largely unknown wine, the limited bottling special cuvée from Vieux Donjon. The 1990 was, as the French would say, "à point." It was gloriously rich with loads of garrigue, licorice, Asian spice, black cherries, and cassis.
More articles from this author
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...