Not the age of a wine, but the number of years my Bride has put up with me, since we met. We always celebrate this day. Even the Ritz Carlton in Michigan didn’t last this long. I told her that I was going to marry her, that first night and periodically, I am sure that she wonders why she didn’t run at that moment. I did get her out of her comfort zone, easier than she did with me. When we met, she only had fish and white wine, basically Chardonnay. She has discovered the pleasure of a well-prepared steak and a full-bodied red. I have discovered fish, we always had seafood and I now have a much better appreciation of white wines, oh and I do eat salads, especially her house-made Caesar.
We went to Café Cortina in Farmington Hills, Michigan which always gets voted as the most romantic restaurant in the area. The restaurant began in 1976 on the grounds of a former apple orchard, when this area was considered rural on the outskirts of Detroit. I don’t know why, but as soon as we entered, the hostess began speaking to me in Italian, and in English to my Bride, but believe it or not, that happens quite a bit. We started with Gamberoni alla Grigliaall’Olio or Grilled Gulf Shrimp with a Citrus Basil Aioli and Spicy Arugula, which we shared and our waiter created two dishes for us, from the one order. Then we had the House Salad with their House Dressing, which got me nervous as he said it was a buttermilk base, neither of us could prove it, and there I was enjoying a salad with fresh baked rolls. For our entrées we both were going to order one of the specials of the evening and share our version of a Surf & Turf, our waiter created four plates and two servings. We each had two large Scallops on Soft Polenta all on a bed of Red Pepper Purée. We had Patrizi Gavi del Comune di Gavi DOCG 2021 from Cantine Manfredi. Four generations ago, from a family estate the winemaking began and by the end of the Thirties, the winery was delivering wines in Cuneo and in Liguria, and now they deliver around the world. This is a famed Comune that is known for the production of the varietal Cortese and dates to the 1600’s. The press likes to call this wine green and flinty, because it is so fresh and vibrant. While there were no production notes, I think that it is safe to say that this wine was fermented and aged in Stainless Steel to maintain the fruit and freshness. A pale straw color offering notes of white flowers, lemons, and green apples. On the palate this is a terroir driven wine that is bone dry with fresh acidity, plenty of minerals with a touch of honey and a nice finish of almonds.
Our waiter then brought us each a small dish of lemon sorbet to cleanse the palate and then he brought us the last special that he also divided into two plates. Our waiter said that he only had two goals, the first to make the patrons happy and the second was to drive the chefs crazy. We shared an order of Braised Short Ribs with an Amarone wine reduction with Cipollini on a bed of Saffron Risotto; and at first, we weren’t sure if there would be enough to share and we were told that it was at least eight ounces without the bone. This was followed by their noted Millefoglie al Caffe e Cioccolato, sixteen layers of Chocolate crepes, with an Espresso Chantilly Cream and two cups of spectacular decaffeinated Cappuccino with optional sugar water. For the last course I just had a glass of the house wine DeAngelis Campo di Marte Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC 2021. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo has been one of our favorite wines almost from the time we met, and it is a good thing, because I could not find anything about this wine, not even from the local distributor. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is also one of the most popular wines in Italy and abroad, because it is easy to drink and very food-friendly wine with notes of black cherry, a little tobacco and some spices. On the palate, the black cherry and spices were still young and vibrant, not forward, gentle tannins and a very short finish, but the Short Ribs made the wine seem fuller and lush.