Wine Advocate Office Casual Tasting in the Office with a Friend
This was just a fun event to taste a couple of Maryland wines I had in the cellar, particularly two wines that are no longer produced. A tannic blockbuster with blackish purple color when released, the 1983 Byrd Cabernet Sauvignon had a strong local following. Well, it still tastes that way, but there is no charm, and the fruit seems desicated or hidden behind a wall of abrasive tannin. The wine, however, is not oxidized, maderized, or over-the-hill, so who knows what might happen, but I suspect it is too tannic/out of balance. Far more charming, better balanced, and delicious was the 1982 Montbray from the late Dr. Hamilton Mowbray. A feisty, crusty legend among local growers, Mowbray believed Maryland could make fine wine. This effort certainly had a Bordeaux-like delicacy and finesse. A dear friend of mine, and to me the East Coast's finest winemaker, is Bertero Basignani. His 1995 Chardonnay is still vibrant, rich, complex, and very buttery, with notes of smoke and a leesy, buttery, hazelnut richness. Probably the best wine he has yet made is the Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend culled from his best lots and named after his son, Lorenzino. The 1997 is superb, dense, ruby/purple, rich, with sweet oak, graphite, and plenty of black currant fruit. It should drink well for at least another 10 years, if not longer.
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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...