The Capital Grille: The Generous Pour
A lady never says no to a steak dinner. A steak dinner AND a wine pairing? An invitation like that deserves a sky written acceptance of “YES” with a trail of exclamation points and cloud hearts. So when The Capital Grille asked us to try out The Generous Pour we fired up the ol’ eatPGH aircraft for our RSVP. JK, guys, JK. [commence two finger typing] “That would be great! When?” [hit send button].
So, Mandy and I went last Wednesday night to experience the splendor of an evening spent being treated like queens. It’s a good thing I decided against wearing my bum cheek grazing cut-offs and sweatshirt featuring a kitten in a teacup surrounded by butterflies; it would have been really awkward to have been so overdressed. Again, I kid, friends. Business casual or more is appropriate at this old-worldish spot with walls of American landscapes and personal wine lockers.
Now lets talk wine and meat. The Generous Pour is a tasting of 9 different wines from around the world. The servers can recommend which wine will work with each course. Diners are given the option of trying every single wine, or just the recommended offerings for each dish chosen. Our main server, Tim, was an excellent guide and helped us navigate through all of our four courses. When, like me, you buy your wine based on how graphically delightful the label appears, you need all the help you can get.
Wine notes. Like a study guide for a test that does not suck.
Each wine presented during our journey had a distinct flavor and smoothness. I feel in love with the Simčič Rebula from Slovenia. It is an orange wine (getting its name from the color the grapes are when used) that was refreshing and a stand out among its 8 other friends due to its decidedly unique flavor notes (look at me talking shop!). Mandy held a candle for the Villa Mt. Eden, a Pinot Nior from Russian River. As part of our wine tasting experience, we received a handout noting each wine’s origin, vintage, and a note about each from Master Sommelier George Miliotes (whom we talk to below!). Fancy.
Having a good meal certainly didn’t hurt the experience. The Capital Grille specializes in dry aged steaks. I had the dry aged steak au poivre which had peppercorn out the wazoo. It was a little too peppered for my taste, but Mandy had the (and I quote) “best steak of my life:” a Kona crusted filet. We both had miniature heart attacks over the cheesecake dessert. The simple, ricotta-based confection was outstanding. I dream now only of that cheesecake (which is saying a lot being that I’ve witnessed Matthew McConaughey’s side muscles in Magic Mike).
So this is love?
Basically, if you want to feel like a wine connoisseur, be treated like royalty, and enjoy a good meal, The Generous Pour is certainly worth the $25 price tag (in addition to the meal cost). The limited engagement event runs through September 2nd.
The Capital Grille’s Master Sommelier, George Miliotes, tells us whats up:
eatPGH: We know there are not many Master Sommeliers out there – so how do you achieve that title?
In March 2007, I became one of only 186 Master Sommeliers worldwide, passing a series of rigorous examinations that require the candidate to identify the grape variety, country of origin, district of origin and vintage of six wines by taste and sight alone.
I am fortunate that my family has been in the restaurant/wine business since I was 12 years old, which gave me a great foundation to work from as I got older. I did find that the wonderful people I met during my studies and the experiences I had with those in the business were as important to me as passing the Master level examination.
eatPGH: Which of the nine wines on The Generous Pour list is your personal favorite? And what would be your perfect pairing?
I love all of my children in The Generous Pour! I will say that I find the Simčič Rebula to be the most thought-provoking and fun wine of the group. Everyone who tries it has very strong feelings about it. I love to pair this wine with our Prosciutto Wrapped Mozzarella, made fresh in-house, or the Citrus Glazed Salmon.
However, if I am having one of our in-house dry aged steaks, the Ferrari-Carano Mountain Reserve Cabernet – the first vintage produced – jumps to the top of the list.
eatPGH: How many wines were in the running to make The Generous Pour list of nine? How did you narrow it down?
I taste hundreds of wines a year and I am always looking for wines that will work for The Generous Pour. It really is an ongoing process; I am currently tasting for next year! When we get to around 20 or so “suspects,” I start to taste the wines blind against each other to determine which will be perfect to use. There are wines like the Simcic Rebula that just beg to have their story told and get the nod immediately after we have tasted them.
eatPGH: What’s the best thing a wine drinking novice can do to get the most out of a wine tasting like The Generous Pour?
Allow their server to pair great wines with their food choices. We train our servers through a live webcast where they taste and have the ability to ask me questions (all 46 restaurants participate in two webcasts to accommodate time zone differences). Nothing makes a meal sing like well-chosen wines!
eatPGH: What is your hope for customers trying The Generous Pour (beyond just drinking some fabulous wines!)?
Nothing makes a meal sing like well-chosen wines…did I say that somewhere else?
We would really like all our guests to experience some delicious wines with their meals for a great price. Each diner has different desires, so we have built wines into The Generous Pour that appeal to all of our guests: there are wines for those who want familiar varietals and growing areas, as well as new and cutting-edge wines for those who are more adventurous. You may also sample each wine to find out which you like best, which is why allowing your server to pair the wine and food makes for the best experience.
eatPGH: The best glass of wine you’ve ever had?
I do remember a dinner where I was asked, “Would you like more 1982 Chateau Latour,” throughout the dinner. It was pretty fabulous. But I have had the opportunity to taste many great wines so it’s hard to hone in on just one. If we had about three hours I could get through most of them. The 2009 Selbach-Oster Riesling Kabinett and 1994 Sea Smoke 10 I shared recently with friends were also spectacular.
eatPGH: Do you have a bottle of wine in your cellar that you know you’ll never drink? And why?
All bottles are fair game in my house. You should come by some time. Seriously, wine is made to drink so we don’t see our collection as being a museum. It is more like a library where we encourage you to check out what you find interesting.