We met The Caller and his wife at The Earle in Ann Arbor. The Caller was given his name, by one of the other Wine Bloggers and the name has stuck, and it is because there are often times when we are not together that he tweaks my nose by mentioning dinners, wines, restaurants and vacation getaways that he and his wife are enjoying without us. He is a real character and he certainly has a place among my circulating cast. We always try to meet somewhere half and half, though Ann Arbor is closer for us, then for them, it is basically a quick shot, until you are actually driving in the city, and I sometimes think that perhaps the rules of the road do not apply to the world of academia, or maybe, because driving is not a practiced necessity in a university community, of course the same can be said about driving in Detroit. You may notice that we often go to The Earle, because it has a wine carte of over twelve-hundred selections of wine and has received the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence for twenty-one consecutive years, which is quite an accomplishment for an independent restaurant that is located in the basement of a building off the main drag.
We got to the restaurant ahead of them, and even forgetting something, we made such great time that evening, that once we found that they were near, we ordered a couple of plates of Steamed Mussels in garlic and white wine and it arrived at the table at the same time that they did, because it usually takes us for ever to order food as there is so much to catch up on. I was going to order a carnivore dish, but the rest of the table was going light and I even had to go a catch our waitress to change my order. She was so thrilled with the dish that I had the last time that she had to order it again and talked The Caller’s wife into it, as well. The Coquilles St. Jacques al crème de Xeres, or sea scallops sautéed with mushrooms and garlic, pan-sauced with Sherry and cream with rice, and since I wasn’t having red meat, ordered the same dish also. The Caller ordered Breaded Chicken Breasts sautéed with Prosciutto, pan-sauced with white wine, lemon and sage and served with orzo, and not a bad dish (my Bride had hinted that I should have ordered that dish as well, but I guess I missed the hint). Afterwards we had a dessert with four spoons, a community affair.
With such a great wine list, I needed some extra time to make the initial selection, as I always feel that all eyes are on me, including my own Chancellor of the Exchequer, to find a wine that is interesting, delicious and affordable, and it is the last requirement that sometimes gets me into trouble. Please do not ask me how, but there I was looking at a long list of French White Wines and my eye was attracted to a wine that I had not heard of, but that I had seen it mentioned by two other Wine Bloggers, so I thought that was the wine to start with. I ordered a bottle of Maison Chanzy Bouzeron Clos de la Fortune Monopole 2015, and the Sommelier arrived with the bottle, because she was very curious to see who had ordered this wine, and I have to admit that I had to look up Bouzeron after the second time that I saw it, in retrospect, I should have looked it up immediately, but sometimes I am lazy, even if it is about wine. Maison Chanzy used to be known as Domaine Chanzy and they own eight hectares spread across three Burgundy Cotes, with the majority of the plantings in the Cote Chalonnaise and with an historical presence in Bouzeron, and it is Bouzeron that they are most proud of, and willing to tell the world about it. Bouzeron is a small village that now has its own appellation since 1998, but only for white wines made from the Aligoté grape, and for years it was listed under a sub-division title of Bourgogne-Aligoté. Bouzeron is in the northern Saone-et-Loire region of the Cote Chalonnaise, in the valley and the Dheune River separates it from Santenay and it is very close to Rully and Chassagne-Montrachet. Eighty percent of the juice is done on the lees in Stainless Steel and the balance in oak and it is bottled in the summer, to maintain the fruit and youthfulness of the Aligoté grape. As you may have noticed Maison Chanzy owns the entire Clos de la Fortune and they are very proud of it, as part of their domain. The wine offered nice herbal notes, and some great terroir (flinty from all of the limestone soil of the area) with a nice refreshing finish. I was going to order a titled Chablis for our second bottle of wine for the dinner, but I was roundly outvoted, as everyone was more than pleased with this wine. After dinner, we did enjoy something that to me was more interesting and fulfilling than a dessert, as we shared a split of Chateau Les Mingets Sauternes 2011. It is part of Vignobles LVDH and provides quality wines in the United States and Europe, since 1997. The wine is pure Semillon and was aged in oak for eighteen months and like every Sauternes I have had, it is drinkable from day one, but really enjoys aging when it gets a chance. It offered classic notes of honey and melon with some terroir thrown in for good measure. Hopefully, now that three of the four of us are retired, we can make arrangements for dinners more often.