Sunday, August 3, 2014
I was in and around Boston a ton yesterday and was reminded once again what a great city we live near. When the Red Sox are playing at home it sets the tempo for the entire city and it's a joy to be a part of.
They were playing the Yankees yesterday which always takes things to the next level - even though the Red Sox have thrown in the towel on the season by trading away their pitching staff.
I wanted to meet up with a friend to exchange wines we'd purchased with each other over the past few months and The Capital Grille's Boylston Street location provided an appealing central location. This is one of my favorite restaurants in the country.
What started off as "drinks and appetizers" evolved into quite a feast thanks in part to their awesome service and The Generous Pour event which runs through August 31st. For $25 with dinner you can enjoy 7 different wines, this year from California and Oregon.
Pro Tip: Valet parking is just $16 even on game day and you can easily walk to Fenway from the restauarant.
We started off a with a bottle of 2012 Juan Gil Monastrell, which was easy to discover with their new iPad-based wine list. No more massive wine list to scan. I just tapped "Region" then "Spain"and voila - there was the Juan Gil. It was my first time tasting the 2012 and it seemed a little less fruit forward than prior vintages for better or worse. I'll have to buy some for closer analysis on my home court but for $40-some dollars on their list (and available south of $15 at retail) I think it's a great buy.
See also: Value Wine Discovered...at a Steakhouse!
We started off with some Chilled Seared Sushi Grade Tuna and Lollipop Lamb Chops paired with a taste of the 2011 Arrowood "Catchwire" Sonoma Bordeaux Blend. I don't know if it was the power of suggestion of the word on the label or what but it definitely was reminiscent of Bordeaux - a bit green and quite tannic but otherwise a pleasant red wine. 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, and 2% Petit Verdot.
Pro Tip: Sit in the bar area and ask for the Bar Menu
From there we switched things up a bit with a taste of Alaskan King Crab Legs paired with the 2012 Atalon Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc. What a terrific pairing! The interplay of the crab legs and drawn butter with the crisp Atalon with soft edges was tremendous. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks but sees a bit of time in neutral oak barrels to give it kiss of sunshine. Really well done. I've been enjoying quite a bit of California Sauvignon Blanc this summer and this wine is an example of why I like it.
Next was a taste of New York Strip Steak, simply prepared medium rare with a trio of sauces on the side: Bernaise, Au Poivre, and the Shallot Butter their famous Kona preparation is paired with. Terrific stuff obviously.
And don't forget the sides: Lobster Mac & Cheese (always a table-favorite), Au Gratin Potatoes, Creamed Corn with Smoked Bacon, and Truffle Fries. It's amazing how well they do sides. Everything really.
This was paired with the 2012 La Crema Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. La Crema has been making terrific California Pinot Noir for years. This is their first forray into Oregon and it comes together nicely. It tastes pretty much exactly like what I'd think a La Crema Pinot produced in Oregon would taste like: Appealing soft red fruit aromatics, tea, a hint of Oregon twang in the background. It carried itself just fine with the steak. Nice wine.
Finally for dessert we had their amazing Coconut Cream Pie and Flourless Espresso cake. This was paired with a 2007 Kendall Jackson Late Harvest Chardonnay.
This year's Generous Pour lineup includes a few other wines we didn't taste: a Byron Charonnay, a Freemark Abbey Merlot, and a Caramel Road Riesling.
Conclusion and Recommendations
The Capital Grille's Generous Pour event continues to be one of the best steakhouse wine experiences you'll find. This year's wines are more domestic than ever before, but there are some curve balls: Riesling from Caramel Road rather than Pinot Noir. La Crema from Oregon rather than California for example.
Especially when your server customizes the service of the wine to go with the food you're tasting it can be a really special experience. Definitely check out their Boylston Street location in Boston if you're ever in the area. Especially if you can catch it before, during, or after a Red Sox game. It's a fantastic way to get a feel for the great city of Boston.
Go here for more information about their Generous Pour Event.
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