Some days talking about wines makes everything fall in place. I met the new owners of the old Pier 500 in Wyandotte, Michigan the other day and naturally wine became a topic of discussion. When we were introduced I immediately recognized their name and realized that they had just opened up The Waterfront Restaurant & Lounge where the Pier 500 used to be. Back in the day I had been to the old place even before I could legally go there, oh the joys of being young and daring. When I got to The Waterfront, I could barely recognize it from the many times that I had been there, as they did a fine job of making it brand new and so appealing.
The reason for my stopping by at The Waterfront was because they were having a charity fund raiser and tied in with a wine tasting. The party was on the backside of the restaurant on the river side where all the wharfs and boat docking would be, and even that area looked so fresh and new. As I wandered around I noticed that even the rooftop on top of the restaurant was new and open for the guests to mingle and just look out onto the river. The party was all first class as they had a live band performing on one of the far wharfs and they even had hot food set up for buffet dining for everyone, just a great way to introduce some of the new dishes from the new restaurant, and even a bar was set up for those misguided souls that were not into wine.
The wine that was being offered for the charity tasting was from the Celani Family Wines of Napa Valley. I had heard of the winery, but had not had a chance to try some of the wines, as they have a direct tie-in to the Detroit area. Tom Celani first learned about wines helping his grandfather make wine at home, and he eventually working for his family in the beverage distribution business, they became one of the largest Miller Beer distributors in the United States. Eventually he started collecting wines and eventually bought an estate. Unfortunately for me, his two most famous wines “Ardore” and “Siglo” were not part of the tasting event, but the three wines that were offered were fine and were great to be enjoyed out on the water. I also got a chance to talk to the beverage manager of the restaurant as well as the representative handling the wines from Celani.
The first wine that I tried was Celani La Prima Sauvignon Blanc 2014 and it was a fine example of a California Sauvignon Blanc with a most pleasant color and a soft nose. The wine was aged in barrels for four months and was a nice pleasant wine to enjoy on a summer evening. The second wine that I tasted was Tenacious Napa Valley Red Wine Unfiltered 2012. This was a proprietary red wine and I presumed that it was a classic Claret blend, but the representative told me that it was a Pomerol blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc; he said more in the tradition of Le Pin and Petrus. I informed the representative that I had never had the good fortune of having either of those two wines, though I have enjoyed other wines from Pomerol, and he said that if he hadn’t been in the company of Tom Celani at some events, that he would never have had the chance either. Tenacious is a blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc and was aged in new French Oak barrels for twenty-two months with a production of 2,161 cases made. I tell you that this wine was divine and I kind of broke the rules and went back and had a second round of this wine before the evening was over. The last wine that I tasted for the evening was the Celani Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 which was also unfiltered. This wine spent twenty months in 90% new French Oak and had a production of 4,000 cases. It was very impressive with the color and nose; and it was the hit of the evening from most of the people that I discussed the wine with, but it may have been because everyone knows Cabernet Sauvignon. I will say that for my money the Tenacious was the break-out wine of the evening and I would enjoy it again and I am sure that it will even be more wonderful after five or ten years of additional cellar time. The evening was so enjoyable and the restaurant so inviting that I am sure that I will be there for an evening of dining with my Bride soon enough and it was a shame that she could not attend the party that evening.