Every summer, The Capital Grille holds a summer wine event called The Generous Pour, and it’s fantastic. For $28 with dinner, enjoy a flight of seven wines not typically available by the glass, surrounding a common theme. The 2015 theme was Female Winemakers, and for 2016, Master Sommelier George Miliotes has selected seven wines with the theme “Rebels, Rule Breakers & Game Changers who have forever changed the landscape of wine.
The white flights come first, from light to full-bodied: Stellina di Notte Pinot Grigio, Provenance Sauvignon Blanc, and Chateau St. Jean, Robert Young Vineyard Chardonnay.
The Pinot Grigio comes from Italy, but was produced by an American winemaker who added Chardonnay grapes to give the wine a bit more complexity than is normally apparent from a Pino Grigio. It’s a floral bouquet with a light, citrus flavor – much as could be expected in a Pinot Grigio, but the complexity from the Chardonnay grapes doesn’t go unnoticed.
The Sauvignon Blanc comes from Rutherford, California, which had long been known for producing quality red wines, but in 2003 the hunch that a particular microclimate within th region would produce a quality Sauvignon Blanc paid off, and it produced a wine with clear ripe tropical fruit and citrus notes.
The concept of a single-origin, or vineyard designated wine is hardly new, but it was rare in the United States in 1975 when Chateau St. Jean began producing a vineyard designated Chardonnay from Robert Young Vineyard. This remarkably balanced Chardonnay has distinct aromas of citrus and stone fruit and a pleasant oak-y finish.
Following the white flights come four of red: a Pinot Noir from Lyric by Etude, a Shiraz Blend from Penfolds Bin 2, A Cabernet Sauvignon from Stag’s Leap, and a Cabernet Blend from Beaulieu Vineyard, Tapestry.
In 1982, Etude winery began growing the unforgiving Pinot Noir grape near Santa Barbara, finding that the marine environment was ideal for the grape, which Santa Barbara’s appellation is now well-known for. This an utterly smooth Pinot Noir with an interesting balance of fruit and spice.
The Shiraz Blend from Penfolds Bin 2 was next. This is the winery that ultimately made Australian Shiraz the benchmark for Australian Reds. The spicy aromas and flavors of dark chocolate march right out on the palate.
Stag’s Leap Winery in Napa Valley contributes the Cabernet Sauvignon – which in 1892 was the first California winery to establish the name of a growing region. “The Leap”, normally available only at the estate’s tasting room, is exclusive to The Capital Grille’s Generous Pour event. Plenty of berry fragrance in this wine transitions smoothly into bold flavors of coffee and cocoa, which turn a well-grilled steak into a spiritual experience.
Beaulieu Vineyard proffers the last wine of the evening, a Cabernet Blend called Tapestry. The 1938 decision to use french oak barrels was the “rebel yell” for this wine, and it yielded a complex wine with berry aromas and a spicy, earthy flavor.
The Generous Pour went perfectly well with the sweet, fleshy South African lobster tail (particularly the Chardonnay) and the Cab and Cab Blend were a perfect compliment to a simply grilled New York Strip with utterly decadent Lobster Mac & Cheese and Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
2016 marks the 8th annual Generous Pour event, which runs this year through September 4th.
Check out more photos from our visit on Instagram.
Meals were furnished by The Capital Grille in preparation for this story.