I started a thread on the eRobertParker.com bulletin board called “Pissed” about this dinner with dear friends from Washington, DC. I pulled all of these wines out of my cellar and was looking forward to a night of extraordinary wine quality. Sadly, Lady Luck of the Vines was not with me. The 1989 Louis Jadot Corton Charlemagne, my last bottle, had been stored perfectly since the early 1990s, and while it was not the least oxidized, it had no character whatsoever. It was monolithic, insipid and dull, but well-preserved. It just never seemed to have developed, which is a pity. My favorite white Burgundy producer is Coche-Dury, and I have rarely had anything less than a compelling example of Chardonnay from this vigneron. However, the 1997 Coche-Dury Corton Charlemagne was fat, flabby, dull and lacking precision and definition. I was so upset by the performances of these first two wines that I ordered a bottle of Hirtzberger’s 2008 Riesling Smargd from Austria. That turned out to be a wonderful wine. Crisp with lots of green apple skin, crushed rock and floral notes offered in a dry, medium-bodied, powerful style, it made up for the disappointing Chardonnays.
The red flight started with my last bottle of 1959 DRC La Tâche. This has been the greatest single red Burgundy I have ever tasted, consistently meriting 100 points. This bottle was still majestic and complex, with abundant notes of forest floor, roasted herbs, sweet cherries and black currants. While the aromas are stunning, the flavors are just on the downside and beginning to dry out ever so slightly, giving the wine a slightly clipped finish. Nevertheless, this is still a great Burgundy that must possesses nearly 15% natural alcohol in this hot, dry, super-ripe vintage. The 1982 Trotanoy has been fully mature for 10-15 years, but it remains at a beautiful plateau. There is some amber and orange at the edge of the dark garnet/ruby color. Cedar, mocha, sweet cherry and kirsch aromas intermixed with hints of truffles and earth jump from the glass of this medium to full-bodied, silky, super-sexy, compelling Trotanoy. A wine that I had enjoyed three times in Fall, 2012, the 1982 Lafleur was an off bottle. The cork was perfect, with no traces of TCA, but the wine itself smelled like a damp cellar with lots of mustiness and dirtiness. I am a purist, but I am clearly not a perfectionist, but I have had so many surreal bottles of 1982 Lafleur that I could not bring myself to drink this wine given the off character it possessed. If I were being more objective, I could have seen through some of the damp cellar smells to see just what class, sheer power and concentration the wine still possessed, but I couldn’t get passed the nose.
As always, the food was top notch as Chef Cindy Wolf remains Baltimore’s finest as well as most consistent chef.
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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...