Between working on this project at home and Lent, I am still dipping into my treasure trove of labels with the name of the restaurant on it. I have four men’s shoe boxes filled with wine labels that I have broken down by decades, and there are a lot of wine labels that can be fit into each box. I do a search to make sure that I have not written about a wine before, or I try not to mention the same restaurant too often either, but let’s face it, I don’t know about you, but I can become a creature of habit when I am dining out and if I let my Bride pick out the wine, it will always be the same wine. Before I even thought about a blog and being The Wine Raconteur, it was easy and sometimes I did not feel like being challenged with a new venue or a new wine.
MacKinnon’s was a finely respected restaurant on the main drag of downtown Northville and Tom MacKinnon was one of the glory boys of the first round of chefs that had made a name for themselves after having worked at the old Golden Mushroom. Several of the chefs went on to start their own restaurants to show off the talents that they each had. Tom not only had a great place with great food, but he also had a great bar that was always a popular watering hole and the bar was also packed. MacKinnon’s was one of the first places that carried Piedmontese Beef and Kobe Beef and how the servers would love to explain the nuances and characteristics of those meats as compared to the classic Prime that other purveyors would offer. There were times when he would have something exotic like Bison or you could always get a classic dish like Dover Sole or Beef Wellington. The appetizers were such that one could make a meal from them, I remember when I was working across the street from the restaurant, I would order an appetizer to go and eat it at the store and it was like being a King. My Bride would never say “no” to dinner at MacKinnon’s and it was so close to home and if we over ate, one could always go window shopping in the downtown area, before driving off.
One night we had Paraduxx 2002 from Duckhorn Wines in Napa Valley and even though it carried a Napa Valley Red Wine tag, it was hardly a bulk wine. The Paraduxx label had a bit of whimsy to it, as a marketing concept, playing off of the Duckhorn name, the label would show a pair of ducks (Paraduxx) and the label would change yearly, as in this year they showed Canvasbacks. With the scalloped border, I always thought that the stamp reminded me of the yearly Duck stamps one would have to purchase to go hunting and there would always be a major art competition for the next duck painting. Paraduxx was a blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, the three big varietals of California back in the day and still holding top ranks today. Just a big robust wine with the Cab and Merlot keeping the Zin from being overpowering, as I was not a big Zin drinker back then. MacKinnon’s is another restaurant that is no longer with us and has been replaced by another restaurant that is holding out quite well, and they have maintained the bar that still packs them in.