I always think the best way to learn about wine and food pairings is to try more than one wine with a dish and see what goes better. It might not be the wine you like all by itself. But the beauty of having wine with food is that they both can make each other taste better. And of course, half the fun’s in experimenting aka drinking.
So, I was more than game when The Capital Grille invited me to their Generous Pour event, happening all summer long. For nine years now, this special option lets you try seven wines for only $28 extra with your dinner – far cheaper than ordering all of that by the glass. Each year they have a different theme for the event. Last year was “rebel” wines that tried something different. This summer it’s seven wines California and Oregon that are rated over 90 points.
We started with the seafood platter (shouldn’t every meal?). I’d only ever had Matanzas Creek reds, but their 2016 Sauvignon Blanc with its bright, crisp and grapefruity character was great with the oysters. I could’ve stayed with that all night but we had many more to go! We also grabbed a splash of the 2015 Cambria Clone 4 Chardonnay from the Santa Maria Valley. I’m a sucker for Chardonnay and lobster, so was a happy camper with this course.
For the second appetizer round, we had the 2016 Willakenzie Pinot Gris. I love Willamette Valley Pinot Gris so was excited for this one. Yellow apple but with a mineral backbone, it was surprisingly amazing as a counterpoint to the shaved Brussels sprouts salad.
Rounds 1 and 2 were great and we hadn’t even gotten to the reds yet. I thought the 2015 Siduri Pinot Noir would be the best pairing with the veal chop, but the winner was the 2013 Edmeades Zinfandel. With its lush, delicious black currant and cinnamon notes it really complemented the rich depth of the sauce.
Finally, you can never go wrong with Cab and steak – you always want tannins to cut through the fat of the meat. We needed with bone-in Kona crusted NY Strip with shallot butter, and rounded out the wine night with the two Cabs: the 2014 Arrowood and a steak-perfect, big tannin 2012 Mt. Brave from Mt. Veeder.
The Generous Pour is happening until September 3, so get thirsty and get your reservation.