In my early years, the place to be was Downtown Detroit as it was bustling and still a place to be. There were plenty of locations that were out of my price, unless it was a special occasion. One of the places I could afford back then was Eastman’s Gaslight Room. It was a steakhouse and restaurant that also offered dancing back in the day, when that was a common amenity. Even though this restaurant was Downtown it was off of the beaten track for the “hot” locations, but it was close to all of the big movie houses, where that was the place to be, to see a first run film.
The “Gaslight” as it was called featured good basic dishes that did not compete with the more prominent restaurants Downtown. One could get a steak, chops or several types of fish. The restaurant was very popular among the business men Downtown that wanted a good dinner, but were not on expense accounts, as there were many venues that catered to that crowd. During this era, I remember that one of the more popular fish choices was Red Snapper. I was not a big fan of fish, but on there were times when I would order it, especially if my date wanted white wine.
As I was just learning about wine, and I still feel that I am still learning, I only knew the basics and that fish should have white wine. German sweet white wines were the rage back then, especially by the young ladies that were just learning to drink and they did not want anything too heavy. One night while I was there I tried a German wine from the Rheinhessen region from one of the principal villages of Nierstein. I had already learned the basics of reading a German wine label, but I was not that educated on the nuances or that familiar with a lot of German words. One evening that I was there I had a bottle of 1975 Niersteiner gutes Domtal Spatlese. As I look back at this label, with more knowledge than I had back then, I feel that this wine was at odds with itself. I have to admit that I am still not as knowledgeable about German wines, but I will explain why the label strikes me as odd. While Nierstein is a principal village of the Rheinhessen, the term “gutes Domtal” is not a name for a vineyard which usually follows the name of the village. “Gutes Domtal” is one step up from basic “table wine” from conversations that I have had since. I have also learned that Riesling is the preferred varietal from this region, but it is not listed on the label, which leads me to believe that the varietal for this particular wine may be Muller Thurgau, but the laws governing the labeling may have been different when I had this wine. The other aspect that I find unique about this wine is that even though it is a “gutes Domtal” it has the Pradikat of Spatlese, meaning that it is from a later harvesting of the grapes, where the sugar rating is higher. Would a basic wine by a bulk producer bother buying Spatlese grapes when they are producing a more generic wine? My thoughts are that the harvest that year must have been sizeable even among the Spatlese picking and they could afford to offer this wine. I guess that hind sight makes one wonder about a wine tried years ago.