9th Annual Wine Dinner and Auction to Benefit The Mount Sinai Hospital

The Four Seasons Restaurant

99 East 52nd Street

New York, NY 10022

Tel + 1 (212) 754 - 9494

The Mt. Sinai Wine Auction has become a central part of my winter calendar since my wife and I became involved with the hospital a few years back. Led by the indefatigable Robin Solomon, each year the Wine Auction has brought together a number of New York’s most generous collectors and wine lovers. Even in the dark days of late 2008 and early 2009 when it appeared the world as we knew it was collapsing, perhaps forever, this group of generous supporters came through. The 2012 auction raised a whopping 3.4 million dollars.

Our host selected a dazzling array of once in a lifetime wines to pair with dinner. I also tasted a number of other wines, including two older Krug Private Cuvées, which were stunning. The dinner itself was delicious, but on this night it was all about the wines. And what wines they were!

Krug’s 1995 Vintage continues to grow in bottle. It showed fabulous focus and definition in a vibrant, refreshing style that was perfect with hors d’oeuvres. Surprisingly, the 1995 remains one of the more under the radar recent released from Krug. The 1996 Vintage was the only wine I tasted that did not show well. Our bottle seemed to lack the energy and focus that are such a big part of what makes this Champagne so special. The vibrancy and drive of the vintage came through in spades in the 1996 Salon, which was flat-out stunning. The 1996 remains a youngster, but is immensely beautiful, even at this stage. Several recent bottles have been just as stunning.

The 2000 Cheval Blanc was pure seduction. Espresso, plums and graphite were some of the many notes that emerged from this warm, expressive Cheval Blanc. Immensely harmonious and balanced, the 2000 was firing on all cylinders. Although I am quite sure the 2000 will continue to evolve positively, I also can’t blame those who want to enjoy it today. Everything was simply in the right place. The 1986 Chateau Margaux was even more emotionally moving. Still incredibly youthful, it showed incredible focus and depth, all backed up by considerable structure. As hard as it may seem to believe, on this night the 1986 appeared to still be some years away from peaking. It was striking in every way.

We caught the 1997s from Piedmont at the very summit of their beauty. Gaja’s 1997 Sperss is a wine I have enjoyed often over the years, but this bottle was on another level entirely. The stars aligned as the room tasted this spectacular, utterly breathtaking wine. Words alone can’t possibly convey the sheer beauty of the 1997 Sperss. Perfect. That’s all I can really say. Luciano Sandrone’s 1997 Barolo Cannubi Boschis wasn’t too far behind. It, too, was epic. Seamless and impeccable from start to finish, the 1997 boasted endless layers of fruit and extraordinary harmony. It was one of the very finest wines I have ever tasted from Luciano Sandrone, and I have never been enamored with the 1997 vintage. Needless to say, I am quite happy that I bought a few bottles back when the wine was first released. Giacomo Conterno’s 1997 Barolo Cascina Francia was also fabulous. The 1997 vintage seems to have yielded great wines in some of Piedmont’s poorer soils, as this heroic Barolo amply demonstrated. The 1997 was pure Serralunga Barolo, which is to say roses, tar and licorice galore on a frame of substantial depth and pure breed. Bruno Giacosa’s 2000 Barbaresco Riserva Asili, which I tasted from magnum, was also magnificent. From bottle the 2000 is starting to fade a little, but in the big bottle it remains youthful, vibrant and impeccable. To be sure, the 2000 won’t be terribly long-lived, but we caught it on a day when all the elements were singing. This was a great showing. 


Seared sea scallops with parsnip and carrot puree, mache salad, granny smith chips

Mushroom truffle risotto with Bordeaux duck ragout

Osso Buco with saffron poached potatoes, gremolata

Coconut cake with coconut sorbet and tropical fruit



Krug Vintage



Krug Vintage






Cheval Blanc



Chateau Margaux



Gaja Sperss



Luciano Sandrone Barolo Cannubi Boschis



Giacomo Conterno Barolo Cascina Francia



Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Riserva Asili (magnum)


-- Antonio Galloni

[Photo and credit: Four Seasons Restaurant, New York]