We went to a wine bar in a rehabbed firehouse called Ladder 4 Wine Bar. When I was a kid, even before kindergarten, I can remember my mother taking me to see my dad at work. He worked for Police Communications, but he was not with the Police Department, he was actually with the Public Lighting Commission, we all know that city administrations can be screwy. He repaired traffic signals, teletypes, the blue boxes on poles that police could call in for updates in their precinct and the red boxes that sent the fire departments off and running to put out a fire. I remember all of this, because his machine shop and warehouse, was on the grounds of Detroit Fire Academy, where future firefighters learned how to put out fires. I mean as a kid, how could you not get excited about visiting a working firehouse with all of the equipment, the neat old- fashioned helmets, a chance to slide down the pole and once they even opened up the big window on the second floor and had me jump into the trampoline-like net that you used to see in the cartoons. As a kid, you don’t really have any fears, especially when you are surrounded by firemen and your father to go ahead and do it, and have fun. I mentioned all of this, because these are the memories that filled my head, as we pulled up to park in front of this unique wine bar, not far from the academy, and even though the buildings official signage was removed, it was a firehouse, just like in my old neighborhood, which wasn’t even that far away.
As we walked in, the first thing that we were asked, was if we could show our vaccination papers, and we weren’t even going to fly, thankfully my Bride has all of that stuff filed on her phone. Ladder 4 firehouse was built in 1910 and it was only in 1860 that Detroit started having paid and professional firefighters, instead of volunteer bucket brigades. The firehouse was designed by famed local architects of both residential and commercial buildings. The new firehouse was the home of both Engine 10 and Ladder 4, which were located elsewhere, but grouped together in 1910. Ladder 4 was also the home of the Rockwood, which is a solid brass tip on the end of the firehose and they were the last station to still use it. Ladder 4 was closed in 2000 and Engine 10 was closed in 2012. The Cadariu brothers in 2015 bought the building and restoration work began in 2019 with the concept of making it a wine bar, potential restaurant and a venue for live music, all on the grounds. We had a self-guided tour and admired the wine bar and the wine shop. We also saw other people enjoying a bottle of wine up on the side rooftops, that are being renovated for seating purposes for the future music productions.
As we had dinner reservations for later on, we only stopped by for a drink and to check it out, as I had heard about it from others, and of course, I am never Mr. First Nighter. They had a limited number of choices of open wines to try, so I thought I would get us something interesting and more esoteric, we enjoyed Domaine Pecheur Cotes du Jura Poulsard 2020. Domaine Pecheur began in 1976 with one hectare and today they are just shy of nine hectares of vineyards. Cotes du Jura received its appellation in 1937 and is basically a terroir of limestone and marlstone and encompasses over one-hundred communes. The varietal Poulsard is a mainstay for the region, it has thin skin and a pale color and is used to make white, rosé, red and sparkling wines and is known for having long fermentation periods to extract color and flavor, as some reds are presumed to be rosé at first glance. The vines are about twenty-five years of age and the fruit is hand-harvested and destemmed. The juice is considered delicate and historically does not do well in small barrels, so part of this wine was done in a six-hundred-liter demi-muid and the balance in Stainless Steel and is aged for a year. This very soft red colored-wine offers notes of red fruit and pepper, and on the palate offers tones of cherry and strawberry and pepper, a round and pleasant tasting wine with a nice finish of spice and terroir. The Ladder 4 will be a great place to go with some friends and enjoy a bottle of wine or two in a distinct setting.