Lunch at Home With Friends
I prepared grilled Copper River salmon while my wife made a sumptuous, heavily garlicked shepard's pie with ground lamb and creamy mashed potatoes. 1998 may be a difficult vintage in the North Coast for California Cabernet, but it is a top-flight vintage for producers who waited and picked fully ripe Chardonnay. Kistler's 1998 Cuvée Cathleen is tour de force. That was followed by an elegant grouping of Bordeaux, including a rich, concentrated 1990 Clinet that perhaps wasn't as powerful and rich as I have had in the past. The 1985 Lynch Bages has been fully mature for a number of years. This bottle was showing considerable amber and needed to be drunk up. Another fully mature wine, yet appears capable of adding weight without drying out is the 1983 Lafleur. It is an exotic wine with floral notes intermixed with raspberry and kirsch liqueur. The once outstanding 1981 Lafite Rothschild reveals a classic ash tray/lead pencil nose intermixed with red currants, minerals, and cedar. It is light to medium-bodied with moderate tannin, but it will not get any better. Although the 1971 La Fleur Pétrus is in decline, it is still delicious. Amber at the edge, but fat, ripe, and soft, it requires immediate consumption.
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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...