The Capital Grille Experience – Great Wine and Dine
It is interesting how we experience things in life. Some things just happen, and some are long planned and anticipated, may be for no reason at all (as long as we get the experience we want before we cross the finishing line, we are doing good, right?). Same as Norton grape on my “to try” list for a long time ( see my last post on the subject), The Capital Grille was on “to visit” list also for a while, at least from the moment the restaurant opened in Stamford. So finally this experience came through due to a combination of good circumstances – we had a good reason to visit (our anniversary), The Capital Grille was participating in Stamford Restaurant Week (as the restaurant is expensive, that makes it a lot more affordable), and The Capital Grille was running Master Wine tasting event, with 11 wines assembled by The Capital Grille’s Master Sommelier George Miliotes (you know by now that wines come first in this blog). So we decided that we have a great opportunity to see where “we wine. we dine” motto of The Capital Grille will take us, and there we went.
What a great experience! (should a declare this post complete?). From food to wine to service we had a great time all the way. Talking about food, Wagyu Beef Carpaccio appetizer had an incredible flavor profile combining razor thin slices of Wagyu beef, Parmesan cheese and fresh arugula. Next, I have to say that nice thing about ordering steak done to your liking is that in addition to the standard scale of rare-medium-well done you can specify something like medium-rare plus, which is more than rare but less that medium – and then it is even better when you get the steak precisely the way you wanted ( yeah, I know, this is what we typically expect – but how often our expectations had not being met?). All four steaks had being done perfectly as requested, and the sides were outstanding (for the personal taste, Roasted Mushrooms had being my favorite).
Now, let’s talk about wine. The Master Event selection included 11 wines from California, Spain and Australia, which in turn consisted of 6 reds, 3 whites, sparkling and a dessert wines. I was pleasantly surprised to see a number of wines from 2003 and even 2002. All the wines were very good, and considering that the price of the Master Wine Tasting event was $25, I believe it presented a great value. As this is mostly a wine blog, let’s take more detailed look at the wines included in the this tasting (I’m going in the actual order of tasting). For what it worth, each wine has a “drinkability” rating attached.
The Chook Sparkling Shiraz, Australia – was not tremendously impressive, medium body dry wine with bubbles :) – Drinkability: 7
Penfolds Bin 311, Thumbarumba 2008, Australia – I was recently surprised ( in a good way) with the quality of Penfolds Chardonnays. This particular wine was very nice, with hint of oak and vanilla and pleasant finish. Drinkability: 8-
Cambria Bench Break Chardonnay 2006, Santa Maria, California – This was one of the two “best of tasting” wines – it had a very noticeable amount of vanilla, butter and toasted oak, but all of it extremely balanced. This wine had great finesse. Drinkability: 8
Botani Muscat 2008, Malaga, Spain – beat all expectations. Incredible aromatics, fresh floral and various citrus fruit notes, great acidity – very nice wine overall. Another “best of tasting” wine. Drinkability: 8
Triton Tinta del Toro Tempranillo 2008, Castilla y Leon, Spain – This wine was very dense and very earthy. In general, Toro wines are concentrated – and this one didn’t exhibit even a hint of fruit. I would guess it is either a food only wine, or it needs time (probably both). Drinkability: 7
Avante Mencia 2009, Bierzo, Spain – Mencia makes some of the hottest wines right now. This wine was very interesting, light and fruity, with hint of spicy cedar, with substantial tannins and very, very long finish ( did I mention long finish?). Probably will evolve with age. Drinkability: 7+
Greg Norman Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2002, Coonawarra, Australia – I have to honestly admit that I’m not a big fan of Greg Norman wines. This wine had a lot of eucalyptus notes and some dark berries, but it did lack an “umph” factor. Drinkability: 7
Greg Norman Reserve Shiraz 2003, Limestone Coast, Australia – same story as a wine before – lots of fruit, but not enough substance. Drinkability: 7
Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon Sycamore Vineyards 2003, Napa Valley, California – interesting wine, a bit all over the place. Has fresh fruit and fresh acidity, soft tannins. Drinkability: 7
Beringer Bancroft Ranch Merlot 2003, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California – Best of the red wines. Very good fruit, tannins and acidity which leads to overall good balance. This wine was perfect with the steak. Drinkability: 8-
Jorge Ordonez Muscat of Alexandria Victoria #2 2007, Malaga, Spain – nice dessert wine, has lots of honey, white peach and pear notes, has medium acidity and not enough minerality. This wine perfectly complemented Classic Creme Brulee desert. Drinkability: 7
As usual, here are some pictures:
Waguy Beef Carpaccio:
Dry Aged Steak au Poivre with a Courvoisier Cream Sauce:
Roasted Mushrooms (Portabella, Oyster, Shiitake and Crimini):
And last but not least, Steak Oscar:
As I mentioned before, service was excellent, thanks to Mike Sabini – all the wine and food was showing on time and in proper order.
All in all – there are still few days left in both Master Wine Tasting and Stamford Restaurant Week programs – get up and go, use a good opportunity to experience great wine and food – in the words of Capital Grille, wine and dine.