“Hopelessly devoted to you” was the lead in for the newest Monthly Wine Writing Challenge and hopefully, no one will ask me to sing the song, or what ever potential readers I have will run away in droves. The theme is “devotion” and I had to ponder how I was going to write about this subject. Am I devoted to wines? Perhaps, but that does not sound well, am I devoted to my Bride? Of course I am, and I write about my wine adventures, and she is a major part of most of the stories. Usually I remember a place or a wine and then I write about the event, which is what a Raconteur worth his Merlot should do. Devotion can have many nuances as I bantered the subject around in my head, and then it finally came to me.
My “devotion” for wine, is in the context of the moment. My Bride and I do get away for vacations and mini-vacations as well. I have been a subscriber to the periodical Wine Spectator for years, and I keep the annual Restaurant list on a book rack at my desk, that I use as a handy reference tool, but I am also a rather chatty person, so I like to talk about restaurants with friends, customers, clients and I also enjoy talking to people that work the concierge desk at hotels as well. One never knows when a restaurant will be mentioned that otherwise may have been missed. All of this exposition is leading me to the discovery of two restaurants that are situated in former churches, or places of “devotion” and now I can tie the “theme” with food and wine.
The first restaurant I talked about some time ago, and it is in the quaint city of Stratford, Ontario, Canada which is home for some spectacular theatrical productions during the summer months and can feature cinematic stars of Canada. It is a city that we should go to more often, but you know how things can be, not even free time for all of the best intentions. One of our favorite restaurants there is the Church Restaurant and Belfry. The belfry is actually a very small dining room as well, as the larger room in the church. I will not go into the meal as such, as I have discussed it before, but I will mention the wine again. At that particular juncture of time, I was not that well versed in Canadian wines, not that I am so literate now, so I opted for a French wine. I will always choose a Cotes du Rhone wine, whether I know the firm or not, as I have never encountered a bad wine yet from this area and it is one of my “go to wines.” Domaine Mireille & Vincent is a blended Cotes du Rhone wine. So the odds are that it will have Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre varietals, and potentially there maybe some or all of the following varietals blended in as well; Carignan, Cinsault, Clairette, Counoise, Muscardin, Terret Noir and/or Vacarese. We have enjoyed many wines from the Cotes du Rhone over the years and there is no doubt that we will continue with a “devotion” to wines of this area.
The other renovated house of “devotion” we found on a trip to Columbus, Ohio during a national hobby conference for me, which my Bride puts up with, actually she really puts up with a lot from me, but that is for another time. The restaurant is The Refectory and I thought it was a grand name for its present incarnation. We dined on Escargot, Duck and Scallops in this Continental/French restaurant, and we were not disappointed. I had gotten this restaurant from the Wine Spectator list, and the concierge at our hotel, also seconded my selection, which made me happy, even before we got there. We also enjoyed a bottle of the bubbly for the evening, as we had a bottle of Moet et Chandon White Star Champagne from Epernay. The White Star designation means non-vintage and most of the Champagne houses strive to make their wine as consistent year after year, because that is what their customer expects. The varietals found in Champagne are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier.
When I was telling my Bride about this article and the theme, I asked her if she could remember the two restaurants from my wording and she did, and that made me smile. Sometimes she mentions that she had forgotten a restaurant, until I wrote about it. So I guess I have one “devoted” reader for sure, as well.