Wine tastings are fun. Wine tastings are even funner when there’s food involved too. Wine tastings are the funnest when instead of a “taste” you get full glasses of wine. And that’s pretty much what happens at The Capital Grille’s Generous Pour.
This yearly wine event runs for eight weeks starting in July and sadly comes to an end today. “Rebels, Rule Breakers & Game Changers” was the theme this year, and the featured wines each had a unique story to tell. For $28 per person, it’s an excellent way to experience seven different wines.
Husband and I participated in the event earlier this week at their downtown Hartford location. Our server Nicole was extremely knowledgeable about the wines, and when she explained the tasting as more of a “Bottomless Wine Glass,” I knew we were in for a fun ride.
In typical wine tasting form, we began with the whites which we paired with a selection of white-appropriate appetizers. We started with a tomato, basil and fresh hand-pulled mozzarella salad, generously drizzled with their 12-year aged Balsamic Vinegar. You could tell the mozz was fresh; dripping with flavor, enhanced by a smattering of Fleur de sel on top. I took a bite with each of the three whites and found that the super oaky Chardonnay was the best accompaniment. This was a single vineyard Chardonnay by California’s Chateau St. Jean; they were one of the first, if not the first, vineyard to make a single vineyard Chard, and it’s been in production from their Robert Young Vineyard since 1975.
Next we moved to a few tastes from the sea. Husband’s rich Lobster Bisque, which was finished with a tableside drizzle of warm sherry, paired exceptionally well with the Stellina Di Notte Pinot Grigio. A light, bright, citrusy wine, with not even the slightest metallic twinge, which has put me off of Pinot Grigios I’ve had in the past. The delicate wine cut the lavish bisque and complemented its intense flavors.
My lobster and crab cakes met their match with the Provenance Sauvignon Blanc. Let me first say that these were the moistest, richest seafood cakes I’ve had to date. Usually they’re dense, compact, and sometimes overly crisp. These were practically falling apart with thick, fresh pieces of crab and lobster abounding. And the decadent remoulade on the side was low calorie excellent as well.
As for the Provenance Sauvignon Blanc to go with them, well, wow. When one thinks Sauvignon Blanc, one doesn’t think Rutherford, California. Famed for its exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon, this area apparently produces astounding Sauvignon Blanc grapes as well. This was by far my favorite of the whites, and given that it was a Bottomless Wine Glass kinda night, I may have had a few glasses tastes. A beautiful bouquet on the nose with a touch of honey; hints of melon on the finish, great body. A real winner. It complemented the rich flavors of the juicy cakes and served as an excellent palate cleanser.
While sampling the appetizers, we snuck in the Etude Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir used to be my go-to wine, but I’ve really moved away from it lately. This was a reminder of why I love the grape so much. Smooth, silky and delicate. It was a great sipper on its own and served as a perfect segue from the whites to the more intense reds we were about to jump into.
The amuse-bouches is always one of my favorite parts of fine dining. You never know what’s going to pop out in between courses. Typically it’s a tiny flavorful appetizer to get you salivating and whet your appetite. Apparently the Chef at Capital Grille was feeling good that night because the bone-in lamb medallions were anything but bite sized, and seriously jam packed with flavor. Paired with Penfold’s Bin 2 Shiraz and Mourvedre blend, it was utterly outstanding. Cooked to perfection, the lamb was succulent and juicy. The wine was inky, spicy, deep and rich. The bold flavors went together like peas and carrots.
By now, as you may have noticed, we’d eaten quite a bit of food. The worst part about multi-course meals is forgetting to save room for the main course. Which is exactly what happened to us. If you didn’t know, Capital Grille is first and foremost a steakhouse. Every piece of beef is dry aged in-house for at least 18 days and hand cut to order. They are serious about their beef. 
Husband went with the special that evening, Steak Oscar, a filet mignon, extra special because it was bone-in, topped with luscious pieces of crab meat. I went for the Gorgonzola and Truffle Crusted Dry Aged NY Strip. Both meals were impeccably prepared with warm red centers that cut like butter. The ginormous portions of potatoes au gratin and bacon-topped Brussels sprouts were rich and flavorful, and though we ate as much as we could, it looked like we barely made a dent.
Now, when you have beef, you need red wine, and when you have really good beef, you need really good red wine. Let me tell you, the last two Generous Pour wine selections did not disappoint. Wow wow wow. From famed California Cabernet Sauvignon producers, we tasted juice from Stags Leap and Beaulieu Vineyard. Holy cow. The epitome of the fruit bomb, both wines were big, bold, beautiful and luscious. Total food wines, these were perfect complements to the insanely rich steaks.
The Leap by Stags Leap, which is usually available solely at their Napa Valley tasting room, was flawless. Lots of jam, maybe some raspberries, with an earthier finish and notes of toasted wood. Gorgeous. The Tapestry by Beaulieu Vineyard was a more traditional Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Big chewy tannins on this one, a touch drier than the Stags Leap. It’s literally impossible to choose a favorite because both were excellent examples of what wine is meant to be.
We continued sampling the last two Cabs for a bit, just to make sure we could discern the differences and truly appreciate them. To spice things up we had quick espresso pick-me-up before dessert. To satisfy my sweet tooth, I went with their simple homemade vanilla ice cream which was served with an intensely moist and delicious orange biscotti. I paired it with a bit of bubbly, a split of Moet Imperial Brut, while Husband went with an Onyx Moonshine on the rocks. We relocated to the outdoor patio and finished up al fresco.
An incredible meal, with impeccable service. If you’re near a Capital Grille, make sure you check out their Generous Pour wine tasting, and everything else they have!
Thank you to the Capital Grille for hosting us! xoxo
Until the next glass!
 Today being September 4, 2016.
 Because after all, #HartfordHasIt.
 A portion of our meal was generously covered by Capital Grille. Thoughts, opinions and tasting notes are my own.
 Starting with the incredible bread basket with a hearty serving of soft butter topped with sea salt. Not sure where all the butter went, but it disappeared pretty quickly. #NoBreadWeekdays are suspended when Wine Esquire gets invited to dinner. Or when I can’t find anything else to eat. It’s kind of more like a goal instead of a strict rule. #RulesAreForBreaking
 They literally hand pull mozzarella every two hours. #Normal.
 That’s code for high end sea salt, harvested as it begins to form a fine crust on the surface of seawater.
 It retails for around $20 a bottle, not too bad for an excellent Chardonnay.
 Which he described as MagnificenT, with a capital T. At the end.
 Which roughly translates to Starry Night.
 Not that I had more than a bite of this; Husband spooned up every last drop.
 Read: Fried. Not that those aren’t good too, but these were ridiculously good.
 At least I didn’t.
 Fancy word for tiny appetizer.
 All we needed was a pair of sterling silver lamb chop sleeves, also known as manche a gigot, like we had on New Year’s Eve.
 Something about their Kona coffee rub…just incredible.
 Don’t worry. I always save room for dessert. And more wine.
 They are also serious about their service, and their attention to detail is outstanding. We had a table overlooking the kitchen and could see what was going on behind the scenes; the manager inspected each and every dish before it came out to be served. This level of service is a rarity, and it makes all the difference.
 Nice and light, right?
 Word really wanted to capitalize Brussel here. I was confused so I Googled it. Apparently this type of cabbage is named after the location where it was first cultivated, somewhere near Brussels, Belgium, so the “B” IS supposed to be capitalized, AND the correct way of saying and spelling it is Brussels sprouts (with an s). Who knew!?
 Hello, leftovers!
 It’s a requirement. Legally speaking.
 My wine sweet spot. #fruitbomb
 A partnership for the Generous Pour allowed us to sample this exquisite blend of their best Cabernets in the comfort of Downtown Hartford.
 Big, Bold and Fruity.
 I know, I know, how could I eat dessert? But, see note 16, supra. I always have room for dessert. #priorities
 Because one always needs a bit of bubbles.
 We closed the place down. Our meal, which had started at 6:30, ended around 11. #SlowFood