Jim’s Garage

Years ago before the trend of converting service stations into theme restaurants, there was a great place to go that had an excellent location kitty-corner from the original Cobo Hall. It was Jim’s Garage, and they capitalized on Detroit being the Motor City. There were antique signs and auto memorabilia that should have been in museums, not to mention a great collection of hood ornaments and radiator caps; and a lot them of them were in crystal. Even the table cloths instead of being linen were chamois (or that type of finish) to lend to the automotive theme. This was way before the likes of Planet Hollywood or the Hard Rock Cafes with their motifs and curious décor.

Pinot Chardonnay Macon Blanc Lichine 1975

The menu for this restaurant was not large and there were only a few fancy dishes, as it was a “business” man’s restaurant and that meant steaks and seafood and generous drinks. This is back in the days of the “three martini lunches” that sometimes morphed into a dinner. Oysters, clams and shrimp for appetizers, there were a few more, but I am sure the three that I listed did the lion’s share of requests. There were steaks, and steaks and lamb chops. There was trout, which if you are in Michigan you will serve and there were two sole dishes. There was Dover Sole and then there was a baked Sole that I tried because it was baked in parchment. I had heard of this dish from customers who I had learned to value their opinion. I remember liking this dish because it had a rich sauce, because for me Sole is rather bland, but that is just me.

MI Jims Garage Logo

The wine I chose that evening was by the importer Alexis Lichine, a unique individual in the wine industry. He was a buyer, a seller, a retailer, a negociant and an author. He was also famous for trying to have the Classification of the Medoc changed, but that did not work out for him. He was also one of the first in the industry to try marketing wines by the varietals instead of by the region, and for some regions this marketing ploy was more successful and is now utilized around the world. The wine I had was an Alexis Lichine Pinot Chardonnay 1975. If you look at the label you will see that it says Appellation Macon Blanc Controlee, but this was downplayed and the varietals were the star according to the labeling. I would surmise that he felt that the Maconnais appellation was not as important, or was not that well known. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are two of the major varietals of the Maconnais as well as Gamay. The funny thing is, that the more I go back and look at my old restaurants that I visited and the wines that I tried in my youth, the more surprised I am, at what I tried.


About thewineraconteur

A non-technical wine writer, who enjoys the moment with the wine, as much as the wine. Twitter.com/WineRaconteur Instagram/thewineraconteur Facebook/ The Wine Raconteur
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3 Responses to Jim’s Garage

  1. Duff's Wines says:

    Every time i read your posts about a meal you enjoyed or restaurants you visited and you include a label, I kick myself. I had started to remove labels and then stopped – being too lazy really. I still have my notes on many of the wines since then but not the labels. I regret that. It is interesting what we see as unimportant and then regret we didn’t keep. And the flip side, what we keep that we thought was important that really isn’t.

    • Thank you for stopping by and for your kind words. I guess by nature I am a collector, though my Bride might call me a hoarder. I started saving the labels in a couple of wine scrap books and then the collection grew. Some of the wines, I may never get a chance to write about, as they are behind the racks of wine in my cellar, as I ended up using a lot them as wallpaper, when I ran out of wooden wine crates to take apart and use as paneling for the same room. When I began saving the labels it was more for my own education back in the Seventies when I was in High School. I never thought that I would be writing about wines, and perhaps some may think I do not write still. They have become great visuals for my memories, and sometimes they write the article for me. Not to mention that I can actually show proof of the moment.
      – John

      • Duff's Wines says:

        We are of the same vintage. My wine education started much later in the 80’s which was my thirties. I am a purger and regret it frequently. Its hard to know what you’ll value later in life or what your children might appreciate. I’ve erred on the side of getting rid of stuff except for books/magazines which I have far too much of.

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