This excellent BYO Italian trattoria does a marvelous job with its deep-fried calamari and thin crust pizzas made in their wood-burning oven. I decided to go with fish even though I was drinking a big, rich Châteauneuf du Pape made from 60% Grenache and 40% Mourvèdre, the 2007 St.-Préfert Cuvée Charles Giraud, out of magnum no less. It offered another example of how Châteauneuf du Pape seems to work with all types of cuisine, from vegetable dishes to big, hearty beef and pork roasts. The delicate Dover sole was perfectly cooked by Chef Luca, deboned table side and served with brown butter. We also enjoyed the gorgeous 2008 Reuling Vineyard Chardonnay from Aubert, which displayed striking minerality as well as lemon butter and honeysuckle notes. The 2007 St.-Préfert Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Charles Giraud is a superb example from the greatest vintage I have ever tasted in the southern Rhône Valley. Boasting silky tannins along with wonderfully sweet red and black fruit, lavender, licorice and earth notes, this full-bodied red cuts a brilliant, hedonistic and intellectual profile through the aromas and flavors. It should drink well for at least another decade, but who can wait that long for something this profound?
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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...