Recently Katie and I were invited to a free event celebrating Capital Grille’s Generous Pour event. The event itself is an all you can drink wine pours for $25. 9 summer wines are featured, some available for the first time in America. Now, normally Katie and I are not normally wine drinkers. We’re definitely not oenophiles. I had to look up how to spell the fancy word for lover of wine if that’s any indication. But we decided to check it out because it sounded like an interesting idea and we’ve always meant to stop by the Capital Grille since it’s only a couple blocks away from us.
First and foremost, can I mention they hand make their mozzarella every 2 hours hours for dishes like their caprese salad? It’s definitely something you can taste. The cheese was smooth, and not overly salty. When they told us it was constantly being made in house we were surprised, and I think it’s something that should be better known. That bit of extra effort earned big points from us.
Katie loved her main dish, a Bone-In Kona Crusted Dry Aged Sirloin w/ Shallot Butter. The sirloin was perfectly cooked, and being someone who truly hates coffee, was surprised at how well it worked on the meat. It was a meal full of surprises for her. Not a fan of seafood either, she thought the pan fried calamari was some of the best she had. She noted that it was neither chewy or had an overly fishy taste. And she couldn’t stop talking about the lobster mac & cheese.
My meal was much simpler, consisting of the previously mentioned caprese salad and a massive bowl full of pasta filled with crisp asparagus and other random vegetables. I’m still no fan of the “oh crap a vegetarian is here” bowl of noodles many restaurants serve, but for what it was it was tasty. The pasta wasn’t watery, cooked al dente and seasoned well.
Dessert’s highlight was the flourless chocolate espresso cake. Powdered with bittersweet chocolate and moist enough you would think it was undercooked, the cake and handmade vanilla bean ice cream was a great cap to the evening.
But that night the meal was almost a precursor to the wine. Each course was paired with two different wines, an American pour and an imported specialty.
I’ll list all the wines available below for this special event, but I wanted to talk mostly about the ones I enjoyed, because it’s my blog dammit. As I mentioned above, neither of us are wine drinkers. Katie probably less so than me. She knows she likes nice fruity white wines and sticks with that, while I have no real preference. I can’t taste out the spices in wine, or the hoppiness in beer. All I know is if something tastes good to me. And taste is far more important than being able to recite a list of ingredients as far as I’m concerned.
When you go, and you really should if you’re a fan of wine (or a fan of $25 dollar bottomless wine), definitely check out the La Cana Albarino, Rias Baixas from Spain. The Spanish white blew away the Californian white. It went well with the appetizers being served, supporting the flavors instead of over powering them. The Californian white, Chateau St. Jean, Belle Terre from California, just had an aftertaste that overpowered the original sip.
Dinner was served with 5 different reds (the most red wine I’ve ever had), 3 from California and 2 from Europe. The highlights were a California red, Chalk Hill Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma, and a Spanish red available for the first time in the US, Tarima Hill, Monastrell, Alicante.
The Chalk Hill red benefits from the grapes being cultivated over a volcanic chalk which adds an extra flavor which surprised me. It was the wine I was most interested and most weary about trying, yet turned out to be my favorite red of the evening.
As I mentioned, the Tarima Hill is an exclusive at the Capital Grille, and is great for those who like a spicy red wine. I can’t say I would drink it normally, but I can see why it’s paired with the Grille’s steaks.
But honestly, my favorite wine of the evening was a “port” from Australia, RL Buller, The Portly Gentleman. It can’t officially be called a Port for regional reasons, but the emphasis on the label lets you know it’s going for a tawny port flavor. It was sweet. It was thick. It was like drinking a fruity cherry syrup. It was like liquid candy.