Not long after I graduated from college, the Renaissance Center was completed which completely changed the landscape of Downtown Detroit. It is an imposing structure and everybody had to make a trip there, or maybe several, if they did not work in the complex. I remember when they first opened up, it was a maze and we used to joke that people would get lost for weeks at a time there, and perchance never be seen again. It housed a lot of businesses; in fact it kind of siphoned off all of the downtown office space and moved it all to a new location. I also remember all of the jokes, which were in poor taste, after Jimmy Hoffa disappeared that he became a pillar of society as it was inferred that he was under tons of concrete, as they were pouring some of the foundations for this complex at that time.
One of the venues in the Renaissance Center was the Detroit Plaza Hotel, and in the tower that they were located in, on the 71’st Floor was The Summit restaurant. At the time, they billed themselves as “atop the world’s tallest hotel.” Of course, in the world of hotels, the Plaza became the Westin, and then it became the Marriott. That is just a minor tangent and now I shall get back to the restaurant itself, which is no longer The Summit, but that is another story. The big attraction at the time was that not only did one have a great view of the city, the restaurant actually revolved, so every dining patron ended up with a great view at times.
The restaurant had a cute concept of featuring foods from different points in the United States, but as far as I was concerned it did not do the job properly. I remember going with friends there and trying it out. From the East Coast I had Chesapeake Bay Soft Shell Crab, dusted with flour, sautéed and served with lemon butter. From the West Coast I had a California Heart of Artichoke Salad with marinated mushroom dressing. From the North I had Alaskan king crab poached with Provencal Butter. From the South was a Pecan (Praline) pie. While the concept was good, I was not impressed with the food or the service, but they did well for years without my approval, as it was a great tourist trap, or somewhere to take visiting guests to see Detroit. I had a bottle of Chateau Ferran Martillac Graves Superieures 1976. Graves is part of the Bordeaux region of France, it known both for its white wines and well as its red wines. That night I had a white Graves to go with my dinner. The area Graves, while it has a different meaning in English, refers to the “gravel” of the soil in the French language and a great bottle of Graves exemplifies the terroir of the area. This wine is basically Sauvignon Blanc with some Semillon blended in, and I am surmising about this wine, as I have no notes about it, just the label. At the time, I was trying the wines of Graves, often with a hit or miss success rate, and I really should go and try them again.