A friend told me about a wine tasting for Mawby and Big Little Wines at wine bar called The Royce, that I have heard about, but we had not been there. Of course, the friend that told me about the tasting, didn’t make it, but we went down to check it out. Many years ago, when I was going to high school in Downtown Detroit, I walked by the building and never thought about it, at all. I cannot place what type of business was there, but it is rather unique in that it has a mezzanine within the confines of the building, which in today’s parlance would be called a loft. It is owned by a woman that has a restaurant with an adjoining butcher shop, on the east side of Detroit, in the West Village, and she has recently opened a fish-centric restaurant in the Corktown section of Detroit.
The Royce, besides being a wine bar, also is a wine shop and they offer to rent out the “loft” for parties. There were tables outside to drink wine on the sidewalk, as well as some tables inside, and my Bride and I just bellied up to the bar, as they used to say. They had fourteen bottles of wine that they were selling by the glass and they were posted on a blackboard, a tried-and-true method since I can remember at some restaurants, when the menu can be adjusted very quickly with an eraser. There was also another blackboard that had a list of assorted cheeses, cold cuts, munchies and preserved fish. Since, we arrived early, we had a plate of Portuguese Sardines (served in an open tin) with crackers and lemon slices, and an order of Spanish Manchego cheese. The sardines were excellent and my Bride photographed the label, so that she will attempt to find them in her travels.
Of course, we had some wine to prepare us for the wine tasting that we came for. We enjoyed Eric Chevalier Domaine de l’Aujardiere “Les Clos de la Butte” Muscadet Cotes de Grand Lieu Sur Lie AOC 2020. Eric Chevalier was a negocient in the Pays Nantais region of the Loire Valley for ten years, in 2005 he moved back to be with his family and the following year took over the family domaine. In 2020, the domaine which is thirty hectares, and now under the fourth generation, was certified organic. All Muscadet wines are made from Melon de Bourgogne or sometimes just referred to as Melon. The land at one time was underwater and hence the soil is basically quartz and limestone. The vineyard for this wine is about six hectares and the average age of the vines are fifty years. The grapes are gently crushed and the juice is transferred to Stainless Steel tanks. Natural fermentation is by indigenous yeasts, and this wine aged for about ten months on the lees and stirred regularly. The grapes are known for having high acidity and that is the reason for the extended aging on the lees for a richer and creamier texture to the palate. This soft golden color wine offered notes of apples and citrus, while on the palate soft fruit, a touch of pepper, and a salinity factor that was refreshing with a nice finish of chalky terroir. Just as we were paying the bill, it was announced that the tasting up in the loft was now open and ready to begin.