Restaurants
Hedonist's Gazette

The Finest Meal and Possibly the Greatest Wine and Food Match-ups of My Life

All I can say is that one of my favorite writers and gluttons, the late A. J. Liebling, would have been in awe of the food and wines that were consumed. This was the most magical culinary/vinous evening of my life, where every course was extraordinary and yet manageable, as hard to believe as that may sound to those reading this. That and the fact that every wine was singing — no corked bottles, no off bottles, no funkiness. As...

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Palena Restaurant, Washington, DC March, 2001

This was my first dinner at Palena with my colleague, Pierre-Antoine Rovani, and friends. Some of the great courses we had included a foie gras soup, caramelized duck leg, and incredible boudin blanc. The occasion was to taste 1982 Bordeaux, several of which have been tasted a number of times this year. However, the meal began with white Burgundies, including 1989 Jadot Corton Charlemagne, a still extremely young wine, the 1995 Coche-Dury Corton Charlemagne, and a flawed bottle of a legend, the 1986...

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Lunch at Restaurant Daniel in New York City

I do not need to talk about the cuisine as no chef in the world can cook any greater food than Daniel Boulud. We began with the 1997 Coche-Dury Corton Charlemagne, a fat, forward Corton, but sumptuous and chewy. That was followed by the 1995 Michel Niellon Bâtard Montrachet. The more I taste 1995 white Burgundies, the more I think this is the best vintage since 1985 and 1986. This wine was young, vibrant, well-delineated, and spectacularly concentrated. The third white Burgundy was...

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Petit Louis, Baltimore

My favorite Baltimore bistro, Petit Louis, has been making better and better food in a classic French bistro style. At a meal with several friends, I had one of the all time great Alsatian Rieslings, the 1989 Trimbach Clos St. Hune Vendange Tardive. It is youthful yet flirts with perfection with its extraordinarily explosive nose, liquid minerality, and precise flavors. From one of the world's greatest sites for dry white wine, this late harvest cuvée was slightly off-dry, but remarkably intense....

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Bring-Your-Own Party at a Friend's

This was a bring-your-own party at a friend's home. Someone brought a bottle of Beaulieu 1978 Burgundy. It was surprisingly good, even though it did not taste like Pinot Noir. I suspect that was only one of the grapes in the blend. It revealed considerable amber and needs to be drunk up. Someone else brought the 1990 Marietta Cabernet Sauvignon. One of my sleeper picks of that vintage, it remains a youthful, vigorous Cabernet offering loads of black currant fruit. Two bottles...

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Les Oenarchs Wine Group Blind Tasting

I am a member of a wine group called Les Oenarchs, which meets every six weeks for a blind tasting. The theme at this particularly meeting was several mini-verticals of great California Cabernets. No one was able to identify the wineries except for one - Heitz. The host had cleverly planned a tasting of some great older California Cabernet Sauvignon vintages from three producers that today are not producing cutting edge wines. Consequently, we had 1984 Groth Reserve, 1985 Groth Reserve (the first...

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Lunch Chez Parker with a Friend from Bordeaux

This was another brilliant bottle of 1990 Clos de Goisses Champagne from Philipponnet. I had expected better things from Domaine Leflaive's 1989 Chevalier Montrachet as previous bottles tasted scored 2-3 points higher. This wine was certainly exceptional, and was drunk with great pleasure, but it seemed fully mature, although it is capable of holding up another 5-6 years. The highly maligned 1975 Bordeaux vintage did produce some spectacular wines in Graves and Pomerol as well as a handful of brilliant successes elsewhere. The 1975...

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A Dinner Party with Friends in Baltimore

Drunk with an excellent catered meal, the stars included the elegant, quintessential Blancs de Blanc Champagne, the 1990 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne. I don't know how much longer this wine can hold its surreal level of quality, but it is a brilliant 1990. The 1990 Pol Roger Brutwas very good, but one dimensional. Chapoutier's 1994 Hermitage Cuvée l'Orée is still tight, but promising, with that elusive minerality super-imposed on a powerful wine with tropical fruit. The highly acidic 1990 Louis Jadot Corton Charlemagne was disappointing in...

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Tasting at Pinot Blanc restaurant in St. Helena, California

At a tasting with wine collectors at the up-scale Napa Valley bistro, Pinot Blanc, the brilliant 1997 Marcassin Chardonnay and 1997 Pinot Noir were both exquisite. The Chardonnay flirts with perfection, and the Pinot Noir is a dead-ringer for a California version of a great Bonnes Mares. Wouldn't I love to see some of the disingenuous terroirists who put down California at the expense of their sacred cows in Burgundy put Marcassin's Pinot Noir in a blind tasting with the finest grand crus. Would...

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