I remember that I was engaged at the time, and my “Bride to be” was at a ladies party. I met one of her friend’s friends for dinner, because he was a bachelor that evening from the same party. We decided to meet at Too Chez, a restaurant that had the feel of “up north” in the metro area, and had a great reputation for food and a tight but quality wine list. The restaurant was run by a noted chef who came from another high caliber restaurant in the Detroit Area.
The gentleman that I was having dinner with, must have told me several times how he was a steak aficionado and had dined at most of the great steak houses across the country. I asked what he used as the yard stick for this list, and he told me that he used the ads in the “in-flight” magazines that the airlines furnished while you were traveling. I remember asking him if there might be a slight bias on the list, and I was informed that I was wrong. I left it at that. Suffice it to say, we both had beef dishes, as I did wish to get into a discussion of why I did not order a steak. I also figured that it would make the wine selection much easier.
That evening was the first time I had ever had a bottle of Cain Five. At that point I had just heard about the wine from one of my customers and he had it out west. Well I was all intent upon ordering this bottle of wine, that was made like a Bordeaux blend. The other gentleman responded with the query, of why should we order a fake Bordeaux when we could have the real thing. I told him that I had heard of the craftsmanship and dedication of this winemaker; and I was sure that we would not be disappointed. I was so sure that the wine would be great; I almost said if you don’t like it, I will pay for the wine, but I hesitated (thinking that he might stick me with the full price, just because).
When the wine came, I refrained from drinking any (after the initial taste) until the salad was completed. I also kept my new friend from drinking it. I told him that the vinegar in the salad would spoil the taste, and he had to think about that for a few minutes, and finally agreed that wine never tasted as well with salads as it did with an entrée. I cleared my palate with some bread and suggested he do the same to try the wine before dinner.
I was amazed with the wine, it had blown me away. I compared it to some of the great Bordeaux wines from color, to nose and from a full taste of the wine, with a wonderful after taste. I knew that I had found a wine that was a winner and perhaps a new “go-to” wine, if and when I could find it. My friend hesitantly but finally agreed that this was an excellent bottle of wine. Years later, when we were in Napa, he started to tell the people at Cain how he had discovered the wine in Detroit, and then his memory corrected itself, before I had to interject. I just graciously smiled as he gave me the proper credit to the people at Cain.