We were making the most of our time in Holland, Michigan and it was a hot one as we walked up and down the main street of downtown. We had to stop several times to quench our thirst, but alas as I have stated, my new phone froze and I lost about a month’s worth of photos and potential future articles, so I guess I shall have to persevere and drink some more wine. I basically stood outside while my Bride would put her mask on and go shopping, in the old days I would have had a cigar outside while she shopped, but instead I was just happy breathing fresh air unhindered and away from the maddening crowds. I ended up talking to a lot of people from the suburbs of Chicago, which is not surprising as the western shore of Michigan from the Indiana border up to Traverse City has become a vacation hot spot for the people of Illinois, who have discovered “Pure Michigan,” even if there is no longer a budget to advertise the charms of the state and this occurred before virus from Wuhan. In the afternoon we went walking out to the waterfront and had to walk through an open-air farmers market that was going in operation and there were was a lackey at the entrance to that block checking to see if people had a mask on to walk in the street; and as a side note it has been over two weeks that we have returned with no complications, so all is good, and I hope that part of the state is not penalized again.
We really wanted to go to Butch’s Dry Dock again, and the name is appropriate, because a boat would have to be dry, if it was anywhere near the location of the restaurant, because it is in the middle of the downtown area and away from Lake Michigan. The last time that we ate there it was for an anniversary and they gave us a wonderful table up by the windows, so that we could do some people watching, and we had the same table again without a congratulatory message that we had the first time. I had first read about the restaurant, because it has maintained the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence and I still use the magazine issue of that magazine if we are going someplace new, or if I have to try to help someone find a restaurant. It is the type of restaurant that you can see people going out on a date, family dinners and also plenty of grandparents taking their children and grandchildren out for a quality meal. It really is a pleasure to be in such an institution, or maybe, because I still enjoy dressing for dinner, especially with my Bride. We started dinner off by sharing an appetizer of Smoked Salmon Dip with house made pita chips and fried capers. My Bride had Sea Scallops with jasmine rice, coconut curry, caramelized onion, red pepper and basil. I had to have the Braised Short Rib with cherry chutney, glazed green beans and crispy potatoes. To balance out the evening we shared an order of Crème Brulee for dessert.
The restaurant carries about eight hundred assorted bottles of wine, and the majority are priced at retail and then you pay a corkage fee, which sure beats the typical normal markup of three times retail. I had a charming conversation with the Sommelier before dinner as I was walking up and down the aisles of wines, just like in a wine shop. I knew what we were going to have and I was trying to find a balance, though my Bride is always willing to have a delightful red, even with an order of scallops. I found a bottle that looked interesting to say the least; Domaine Olivier Jouan Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes de Nuits Vielles Vignes 2017. Olivier Jouan is a sixth-generation Morey-Saint-Denis grower and the first in his family to make wine commercially in 1999 after completing studies at the Lycée Viticole in Beaune. He and his wife found a 17th century home with a cellar in the Hautes Cotes de Nuits and he is basically a one-man operation. He has parcels in two Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Crus, Ruchots and Riotte, an acre of Grand Cru Charmes-Chambertin, an old vine parcel in the Chambolle-Musigny lieu-dit Les Bussieres and this forty-year-old vines on his Jouan Hautes Cotes de Nuits (which I have now discovered is considered an incredible value for the remarkable depth that he has achieved in this appellation). I have to tell you, that it was only two days earlier that I saw a bottle of wine from Hautes Cotes de Nuit being talked about by another blogger that I have both admiration and respect for. The Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Nuits appellation was created in 1961, and I actually went and looked at my old labels and could not find that appellation. It is for the high slopes above the famous mid slopes of the eight communal and twenty-three Grand Cru appellations of the Cote de Nuits. The majority of the Hautes Cotes wines are red made basically from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay is the grape found for the whites of this appellation and then there is a very small amount of Rosé wine made from Pinot Noir. This wine was a doll, a beautiful affordable Red from an area where affordable is not usually mentioned. It was so smooth and delightful that I thought that the bottle must have had a crack in it, because the wine disappeared by the time dessert came. I am so glad that I take the empty bottles home after a meal, because this was another photo that I lost from this trip, but the memories are still just as precious.