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The Capital Grille Pours Great Wine And Better Experiences

The exclusive tasting returns for its 16th year

“This is a special event,” Mihn Ho, The Capital Grille managing partner, tells me. “You can taste each winemaker’s personality in every bottle.”

The Capital Grille’s renowned summer wine event, The Generous Pour, is back for its 16th year. And this year, it’s better than ever. Inspired by the theme "Elevations — The Nature of Wine," guests embark on a curated journey through California’s coastal growing regions of Sonoma, Mendocino and Santa Barbara. 

The first wine, a crisp rosé from Mendocino, Copain’s Rosé of Pinot Noir, features aromas of strawberry, papaya, mint and lilac. The glass, paired with pan-fried calamari with hot cherry peppers, begins the night off on a strong note.

Designed to educate guests on notable wine varietals and how to select and pair them, the experience allows diners a chance to expand their palate with wines new to them, while discovering favorites along the way. 

A personal favorite of mine from the evening, as well as Wine Director Joshua Moore’s, is Sonoma’s Matanzas Creek Winery Sauvignon Blanc, a bright, citrusy wine with notes of lime, lemon, nectarine, melon, white flowers, lemongrass and bosc pear — paired with lobster and crab cakes.

“This is one of those that when you open it, you finish the bottle,” Moore laughs. “My wife and I usually have to have a bottle and a half when we take one of these out.”

Chardonnay’s are often easy to overlook, but Santa Barbara’s Brewer Clifton Cellar Selection Chardonnay is one to remember. This wine not only tastes special, it is special. “There were only 37 barrels made of this,” Ho tells me as he pours a generous serving into my glass. “Once the event is over it's gone for good.”

But perhaps the highlight of the evening is not the wine or food itself. Harford’s own winemaker, Jeff Stewart, eases his way through the crowd — even signing bottles for folks to take home. 

“My journey with wine started when I was in an exchange program when I was 16,” Stewart tells me. “I was exposed to wine in a different way than here. Every meal there was a bottle of wine and it was just part of the meal — it was like bread. It was really an ‘oh wow’ experience for me.”

Stewart’s own Hartford Court Pinot Noir is one of those “oh wow” moments. The wine features aromas of black cherry, blueberry, black currant, wild raspberry, allspice and crushed rock. 

The next wine, Sonoma’s Bootleg “Prequel” Red Blend, has a unique story behind the label. Moore explains, “Vine cuttings were stolen in briefcases from French vineyards and replanted in California.” The wine features strong aromas of dark fruit, blueberry compote, lavender, black pepper, black olive and barrel char. Paired with the double-cut lamb rib chops, it’s a treat to remember. 

As the evening draws to an end and only two wines remain: Mendocino’s Edmeades Zinfandel with hints of cinnamon and blackberries, and Sonoma’s Legacy Red Bordeaux featuring cassis, blackberry, cherry liqueur and licorice. Both are stand-out wines with just enough sweetness to make the experience come to a delightful end. 

From July 1 through September 1, guests can enjoy the distinctive wine-tasting and educational experience, expertly curated by the restaurant's sommeliers. To find out more or to make a reservation, visit the link here.    

Hungry for more? Check out our dining guide.

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