Almost every month I write about my dinner club and a wine that I find interesting to go with dinner. There are some months that I don’t mention the club, usually because the restaurant that the hosts pick have nothing in the way of wines, or as once a year, I do not even attend as a tacit protest to what I perceive to be a lack of quality overall. The club is close to one-hundred-thirty years in existence and the meetings were originally held at a member’s home, I don’t know anyone that can have a sit- down dinner for thirty plus men in their home. During the Great Depression, the club survived by changing and adapting to meeting at one of the hotels in downtown Detroit, which was centrally located for all the membership. Years later, they changed again to having the meetings at assorted restaurants and they recently just changed again to a cash bar and each member is responsible for his own drink tab, and the hosts now just pick up the dinners.
We met at one of our tried and true locations, that I have written about a few times, The Courthouse Grille in Plymouth, Michigan. Most of the venues that we go to allow us to have three entrée choices; beef, chicken and fish. At the Courthouse Grille they encourage us to have a larger choice and so we have seven choices and they are all equally popular. After our cocktail hour, we started our meeting and we all had a garden salad and then our entrée of choice. I like to order something on the menu that we do not make at home, so I had the Veal Marsala, veal is just an item that we have never tried making at home, so I always look forward to a dish of it with mushrooms and the Marsala wine sauce. As is customary for dessert, we always seem to have an ice cream sundae, in homage to our longest reigning secretary who kind of insisted on it for dessert.
Since we were picking up our drink tabs, I guess the rule of only ordering wine by the glass was moot and I looked at the wines by the bottle and a couple of us could share a bottle without any major cost overruns to our hosts. A bottle of Villa Erbice Monte Tombole Valpolicella Superiore 2008 called out to me. An Italian meal and an Italian wine seemed to go together perfectly. I have been a fan of the wines of the Veneto for ages and I always have been happy with most of the Valpolicella wines that I have had. Villa Erbice was established in 1870 and they have been making these delightful wines since then, so they know exactly how to blend the Corvina, Molinara and Rondinella grapes to get the taste that they want year after year. The wine is aged for eighteen months in French Oak and then is aged for another six months in the bottle before it is released. Yes, I was a very happy camper, but we shall see, after one year, if the members want to go back to having the hosts pick up the beverage tab as well.