Once a month I join with my fellow friends for our dinner club, and our hosts this evening chose a place that I have written about many times already. If one goes to the Plymouth Historical Museum, one can even see some of the mementos of this restaurant from its past lives, from the old Hillside, which I remember, to Ernesto’s and finally to The Courthouse Grille. Our room for the evening was just off the main bar, but because of the hillside on which the restaurant is located on, we were on the second floor in this part of the building and we had a grand view of a snow covered parking lot. As usual, we were all enjoying ourselves during the cocktail hour prior to dinner, when the owner brought in a couple and giving them a tour of the facility. I was surprised to see that it was a retired client of mine from years past and his wife, and they were looking at the restaurant for possibly booking a party for their Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary Party; it was grand to see them, as I tore my self away from the group and we caught up on past friends and history, and I also discussed the quality of the restaurant with them.
The Courthouse Grille always prints out a nice private menu for the group, so that we can make our dinner selection and that evening our hosts rather then limiting the menu to three choices allowed us to choose from seven different entrée offerings. While the restaurant may have changed names, Ernesto still had a strong influence on the choice of dishes that he served, and it was still heavily slanted towards Italian standards: Veal Marsala, Shrimp Scampi, Chicken Piccata and Lasagna, as well as a couple of fish plates and a steak. I was torn between the Shrimp Scampi and the Veal Marsala, so when that happens I tend to look at the wine list, to see if it can help me finalized my decision.
The wine list by the glass did make my choice easier, as the white wines were not that exciting for the Shrimp Scampi, so I went with an old standby, a glass of Ruffino Chianti DOCG 2013 from the fabled area of Tuscany. I have been enjoying Ruffino Chianti wines in all of their offerings for years and I know that I will get a good glass of wine, and this evening was no different. The Chianti association requires that a Chianti wine must be at least seventy percent Sangiovese, and if it is a Chianti Classico then it is required to have eighty percent of that varietal. The rest of the wine can be a mix of Canaiolo, Colorino, Ciliegiolo and or Mammolo. The one curious aspect of Chianti in the old days, and this was only prior to 2006, was that they could also use white grapes as well and they were often Trebbiano and Malvasia Bianca. All in all, it was another enjoyable evening of friends, food and wine.
What a nice, enjoyable night, John.
Only one comment regarding Chianti. Actually, the practice of using permitted white-berried grapes in the Chianti blend is still allowed (limited to no more than 10%) under the rules of the Chianti DOCG appellation, while it is not under the rules of the Chianti Classico DOCG appellation.
Stefano, thank you and I shall remember that. And as always thank you for stopping by. – John