We were over due for a real date night and a fabulous dinner, so we went to Vertical in Downtown Detroit. Vertical is located in the Harmony Park district of Downtown Detroit in a residential hotel, behind the Music Hall. I live in a state where our harridan basically tried to destroy all the restaurants based on “science” that was never revealed. While the healthy were quarantined for fifteen days that morphed into over a year, restaurants were shuttered for at least ninety days. Then they were allowed to open for carry-out only, and then they were also allowed to serve food outdoors in the winter, I guess that was considered healthy. Then finally, they started loosening up a bit, I am not sure if it was the “science” or the recall signatures and indoor restaurants were allowed to open at twenty-five percent capacity. Still the majority of restaurants remained closed, because they could not make a profit. Finally, it loosened up a bit more and we are up to fifty percent capacity and the finer establishments started opening, those that had deep enough fiscal responsibility to be able to weather the storm. So, we were off for some pampering.
We took an early reservation, because we really wanted them to be able to at least have two turns on the table. It is still nice to go out and see women dressed up and men in sport coats, instead of looking like they just arrived from the Northwest Territory or the Yukon. The restaurant Vertical is owned by the people that own our local wine shop The Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan. One can also get Vertical flights of some wines which is an excellent feature. We started off with what has become a signature appetizer of the restaurant: Jumbo table grapes hand rolled in Brie and then coated with crushed pistachio nuts and drizzled with a gastriche. It was pure bliss and somehow, my Bride even shared some with me (as a side note, she has bought the ingredients, but hasn’t attempted them yet). We followed that with a dish of Smoked Trout Toast with pickled onions, radishes, dill and trout roe: it was pure decadence and I think that my Bride would have almost ordered a couple more dishes of this and called it a night. With all of the smoked fish dishes that we have had, and remember this is Michigan, this was the finest creation we have ever had.
We started with some bubbles, just to make the evening more festive. My Bride went with the Isaac Fernandez Seleccion Biutiful Cava Brut Rosé NV. The Biutiful Cavas are produced at a winery created in 2007 with state-of-the-art technology. The vineyards are based in Requena, a region that has been growing grapes since the 7th Century. The vineyards grow Macabeo, Chardonnay and Garnacha (Grenache). This particular wine is pure Grenache and was aged on the lees for about fifteen months. There were five-thousand cases produced. The wine was very easy to drink, though if I had to guess, I would not have guessed that it was made from Grenache, and I would have flunked at this wine in a blind tasting. I started off with Champagne Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV, Brut Premier is their designation for non-vintage, because otherwise the wine would read Brut and the Year. This wine is a blend of forty percent Pinot Noir, forty percent Chardonnay and twenty percent Pinot Meunier and the juice comes from forty different plots. There are no shortcuts in making Champagne, as they use assorted casks and the juice used in the Premier has a minimum aging period of three years on the lees, and then the wine is rested for six months after the disgorgement to perfect and maintain the maturity. The wine offers the classic taste of brioche and vanilla. Louis Roederer is a Champagne house located in Reims one of the two main cities of Champagne. The house was founded in 1776, and while it has always been family owned in 1833, Louis Roederer took over the business from his uncle and renamed the company after himself. One of the most unique business concepts at the time was when in 1845 he began acquiring some Grand Cru vineyards and got into the cultivation as well as the winemaking, because at that time, the houses just bought the grapes from the vineyards. The house now owns two-hundred-forty hectares of their own vineyards. They are also integrating the concept of biodynamic farming into their vineyards. My Bride decided that I had the better of the two sparkling wines.