Paul Crewe: “You know, there’s only one thing I’m sorry about.” Warden Hazen: “What’s that, Mr. Crewe?” Paul Crewe: “That you’re not out here with us knockin’ heads.” Warden Hazen: “I’m afraid I’m a little old for that.” Paul Crewe: “No, you never had the guts to begin with!”
The State of Michigan has always had a feast or famine environment. At one time we were the Car Capital of the World, we were The Arsenal of Defense, and as the old saying goes “When America gets the sniffles, Michigan gets the cold.” Michigan always felt a slow down first, and was usually the last state to get the momentum back. Over the years I have seen the cycle first hand, and I have talked to others that have witnessed similar cycles, before I would have been aware of it. In the cartoon strip and later the Broadway musical and then the movie there is the lyrical statement that was a satire of an expression once uttered in Washington “What’s good for General Bullmoose is good for the U.S.A.”
Well, we are still in lockdown mode, along with other parts of the country and my dear Bride, is still trying to come up with new dinners to make the evenings more enjoyable. She has probably gone to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for week-long business trips for maybe the last twenty years, and there have been some years that I have accompanied her, depending on how she could arrange the visits that she had to do, otherwise, I would be sitting in an empty car, for hours on end. On the trips that I have gone up with her, one common dish that I noticed, at almost every restaurant that we went to, was their adaptation of a Spinach Salad. I have only had Spinach Salads while in Michigan, so I am not sure if it is a regional dish or not. My Bride fried up rashers of bacon, until they were really crispy and then took some of the bacon fat (grease) added spices and then tossed this dressing immediately on crisp spinach leaves, and the leaves wilt and then garnish with hard boiled eggs, bacon and shredded Cheddar Cheese. It may not sound like much, but it is quite substantial as a meal. It was followed by Pineapple Angel Food Cake with Whipped Cream and Strawberries.
Well, in the back of my head I decided to maintain that Michigan theme of our dinner. On one of our trips to Mackinac Island, on two different nights we enjoyed Gruner Veltliner wines from Austria and really enjoyed them. After that trip we have encountered more of this grape, both from abroad and now domestically. I found a wine in the cellar that did not have a neck tag and it was in with some of the Italian Red wines, and so I saved this lost gem from collecting any more dust. I grabbed a bottle of Shady Lane Cellars Gruner Veltliner Leelanau Peninsula 2013. The winery was founded by Dr. Joseph O’Donnell, a neurosurgeon from Grand Rapids in 1987. It recently changed hands to Richard Fortune from Indianapolis, Indiana; whose family has been visiting the area for the last fifty years or so. This is another winery that I have found out has been mentored by Lawrence Mawby of L. Mawby Vineyards and from my further studies appears to be the un-official “Godfather” to the other wineries in the area. I can appreciate his concept, because for years in retailing the concept of a strong neighbor (competitor) makes the entire area better. After that trip up North to the wine country, I discovered that I knew the winemaker, when he was the general manager for a great wine shop that was across the street from where I used to work for ages. I would have asked for him, though I am sure that he wouldn’t have remembered me from some thirty years prior, and he traded in working in Dearborn, to being up in paradise in the Traverse City region of the state. I just thought that a wine that had some bounce would work well against the bacon dressing. The wine still offered a nice citrus nose, and delivered some nice acidic layers of some stone fruit and pear, with a nice finish that offered some pepper and terroir featuring mineral notes. It was refreshing and very pleasant with the dinner.