Society: Marais hosts a wine-paired gourmet dinner

Chuck Bennett

Inspired by his internships at the prestigious wine estates of Chateau Margeaux and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti during the hallmark 1982 and 1983 vintages, Giorgio Rivetti of La Spinetta has become an internationally renowned winemaker who has always placed an emphasis on quality, not quantity. So it’s no wonder that David and Monica Gilbert, of the very tony Grosse Pointe restaurant Marais, were honored when presented the opportunity to host Rivetti with a five-course, wine-paired gourmet dinner on Thursday.

“We are so thrilled to bring a winemaker of Giorgio’s caliber to our restaurant,” says Monica Gilbert. “And it’s so fascinating to hear him speak of his home in Italy, the wines, his family.”

Sixty guests, a mix of entrepreneurs and philanthropists, mostly from Grosse Pointe, paid $165 each to be part of the chic dinner party that started with an hors d’oeuvre reception. The first pour was 2010 Contratto Vintage Brut, which, according to Marais’ Matthew Bricker, is “the first sparkling wine ever made in Italy. Produced at an internationally recognized historical site, it is considered to be the closest wine to pure Champagne at a fraction of the price.”

Some of the favorite pairings that evening included the Scottish langoustines with the La Spinetta Vermintino 2014; black truffle risotto with La Spinetta Barbaresco Bordini 2011; and dry aged beef rib eye paired with La Spinetta Barolo Campe 2011 (often called the king of Italian wine).

“Giorgio pulled David and me aside and mentioned how he has been traveling through the states for two months, visiting other markets,” adds Gilbert. “He thought that the food at Marais was so amazing that he had to call his wife halfway through the dinner to tell her that this was the best dinner and experience that he has had since he’s been in the States.”

The last course was dessert, chocolate veloute with Tahitian vanilla gelato, paired with La Spinetta Moscato d’Asti Bricco Quaglia 2014. The evening ended with most guests buying bottles and cases of La Spinetta, the firm with a conviction to make great wine first, not volume.

“Giorgio has not been to Detroit since 2005 and it is very rare for our market to get an owner/winemaker of this caliber,” Gilbert concludes. “It was a great honor to give our customers the chance to interact with him one-on-one. He was so delighted to see some familiar faces of guests that have visited La Spinetta in Italy.”

Chuck Bennett is the creator of The Social Metro. See