My dinner club is actually a “society” that is probably about one-hundred-forty-years old and has been recognized by the City of Detroit as one of the oldest groups still functioning, and is listed as Group Number Six in the national organization that we are affiliated with. Originally the club of forty some members by charter met at a member’s home and the host supplied the dinner and the drinks. I truly don’t know anyone that can seat forty some members for a formal dinner at their home, and during the Great Depression, the meetings began being held at hotels, fraternal clubs, and then finally in restaurants that have a private room. Hosts went from singular to now having three hosts per meeting, and several years ago, there was an uproar that non-drinking hosts were upset that they had to pay for the drinks of the drinkers, and that is now paid for by each drinking member. Our latest uproar, was decided that during the “Summer” meetings, members could refrain from wearing coats and ties for dinner, and the attire has yet to be seen.
There were storm advisories issued for the night of the meeting and I think that we had the smallest turnout that I ever recall, as we only had about sixteen members show up, and granted that the majority of the members live on the west side all the way out to Ann Arbor and this meeting was on the east side, which didn’t help. It was a nice meeting that started off with a chafing dish of Breaded Chicken Filets and Meatballs in a Mushroom Gravy for appetizers. There was a salad course, and then the members were offered their choice of either Beef Tenderloin Tips, “Hawaiian” Chicken or Grilled Salmon (which each dish served with rice pilaf). Coffee and Chocolate Sundaes for dessert.
Since none of my wine drinking associates attended, I just went with wines offered by the glass. I started off with a glass of Maso Canali Pinot Grigio Trentino 2020. Maso Canali Estate has a heritage of winemaking since the Middle Ages, and they have raised Pinot Grigio since 1893. The winery is unique in that they only make one wine, but they do it very well. The fruit is hand harvested, with a small selection that is selected to be late harvested, and these grapes are dried on racks for eight to ten weeks. The late harvest grapes are fermented separately and then blended with the other wine and aged on fine lees for a month. While the wine is green and flinty this wine offers a very rich finish on the palate that is missing from most bottles of Pinot Grigio. With my entrée, I went with a glass of Beringer Vineyards Founders’ Estate Cabernet Sauvignon California 2019. Beringer has the honor of being the longest continuously operating winery in California. They have a range of offerings from affordable generic table wines to single-vineyard cuvées and a private reserve label. Brothers Jacob and Frederick Beringer had their first harvest in 1976 in what is now St. Helena AVA. Frederick built his Rhine House, a Victorian mansion in 1883 which is now the main visitor building at the winery. This home was added to the US National Register for Historic Places. They even survived Prohibition, the first dismal nanny-state disaster, by getting a Federal License and producing sacramental altar wine. After Prohibition, they were the first winery to offer public tours which was the start of making Napa Valley a tourist destination. In the 70’s Beringer was bought by Nestlé, and then it changed hands a couple of more times and is now owned by Treasury Wine Estates, which also owns among other labels Penfolds and Stags’ Leap. In 2015, Mark Beringer became the Chief Winemaker and he is the great-great-grandson of Jacob Beringer. While Beringer owns vineyards in Napa and Sonoma as well as their leased vineyards are all certified sustainable. This is part of their bulk popular priced wines with fruit from Lodi and the California Delta. The wine was a deep rich color, and had notes of dark red fruits and spices, while on the palate dark fruit, soft tannins and some vanilla and a very short finish. It was an easy food wine and I am sure that it is probably made to be dependable year after year.