Another one of my cast of regulars has been dubbed “The Caller.” A little background information is called for, he and his charming wife tend to go out for dinner, especially when they are away for business; and often when they do, he will post me a picture of a wine, and ask me for my opinion. The wine is often interesting and off the beaten track, as he likes to try different varietals, when he isn’t having a craft cocktail. We try to get together as often as possible, because he is a charming conversationalist and the four of us have a grand time.
We decided to meet at a restaurant that has become a bit of a mainstay in downtown Ann Arbor since they opened in 1997, with a decidedly Continental flavor. We decided to have dinner at Café Felix. We had stopped and enjoyed some cocktails and munchies at another establishment, and then we went to Café Felix for dinner. The Lobster Bisque was delightful and not heavy or salty, like one finds often. The Caller had selected Braised Short Ribs with a Cauliflower Risotto, crispy Brussels Sprouts and demi-glace pickled red onions, while his wife had the Mushroom Chicken, which was a chicken breast done in a mushroom cream with Herbs de Provence, broccolini and wild rice. My Bride surprised me and ordered a Bistro Burger which had aged cheddar, balsamic onion marmalade, a fried egg on a Challa bun; she opted to have a salad in place of Pommes frites. I was torn between the Muscovy duck and the Short Ribs, and I asked our server his opinion, and he was all for the Short Ribs and you know, it was a great call. I must be getting old, as I could not finish my dinner, it was that rich, and I actually had to take a doggie bag, as it was just too tasty to leave behind, and that seldom happens.
The wine list was very impressive, because it was thought out, it was not all the top heavy hitter wines, but there were quite a few wines that were worthy of a second look. I smiled to myself as I was looking, because I was able to use a skill that I had taught myself years ago in my youth, and it still works. As I was looking at the French Red Wines, especially the Clarets, I saw a couple of classified wines, and then I saw a Cru Bourgeois, namely Chateau Moutinot Saint-Estephe 2011. For all of the years that I have been enjoying wines one seldom encounters a Saint-Estephe wine, even though the commune is known for two Second Growths, a Third, a Fourth and a Fifth Growth wine. The ground in Saint-Estephe is known for its clay, and the terroir has its own distinct taste, and because of the clay; the Cabernet Sauvignon is blended with Merlot and Cabernet Franc and this wine was very mellow even in its youth. It pays to know your geography when looking at a wine list.