La Régalade, Paris

One of the hardest tables to get in Paris is at Chef Yves Camdeborde's tiny La Régalade. Before flying home from my fall tasting trip, Pierre Rovani and I had dinner here, where I had a taste of what appears to be a super vintage in the Loire Valley. The 2002 Vatan Sancerre was so rich and exotic, it resembled a Condrieu or other wine from further south. The Sauvignon must have reached tremendous ripeness in the Loire if this is typical. Some of the liquid minerality had not yet come through, but I am sure it was hiding underneath all the fruit and power this wine exhibited. It was followed by a gorgeous magnum of 2000 Charvin Châteauneuf du Pape. Filled with black cherry liqueur intermixed with pepper, lavender, and spice box, it is an opulent, full-bodied, still young but approachable Châteauneuf.

This impeccable bistro did a terrific job with grilled lobster followed by a big, tasty, but somewhat tough-textured côte de boeuf. As tasty as French beef can be, it does not have the quality of good aged American beef.

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