There are fewer concepts more pleasing to the palate of a wine lover than the notion of a generous pour. Hence The Capital Grille's annual celebration by the same name, geared to its vino enthusiast patrons.
This summer wine event offers visitors a chance to sample an extensive variety of selections hand-picked by a Master Sommelier -- for a surprisingly reasonable price tag of $25 (with dinner).
George Miliotes is the man behind the juice. The title of Master Sommelier isn't easily bestowed - there are only 186. In the entire world. Basically, the level of expertise expected is unsurpassed. These rare birds have to know everything about everything about everything related to alcohol - not wine alone.
But Miliotes says he's "just a guy who likes wine and enjoys teaching people about wine." He doesn't see his distinction as a fussy title or something to hold over others, but instead views it as an obligation to teach.
Choosing the nine wines for The Generous Pour each year is a long process that takes him all over the world. He looks to find wines that are different -- perhaps from an emerging region or unexpected winemaker. Lots of blind tastings are involved.
"I don't just want to offer nine normal wines that you'd expect, I'm always looking for something new and fun and what's coming over the horizon," he says.
Whether you're a wine expert or newbie, Miliotes suggests that the fun of this event is allowing your well-trained waiters to pair wines with your food choices. It's not about tasting all nine wines, although you certainly can.
Instead, "It's, if I get this, this and this, what wine will go best? As opposed to just recommending one red wine, we've trained our servers to offer options so diners can do a little compare and contrast. Pairing food and wine together is what will make your experience a really cool thing," he adds.
The wine pairing training process for servers at all 44 restaurants is done by Miliotes himself via satellite. It's interactive, and servers are able to ask any questions they choose. This way, quality service is ensured.
His favorite wine & food pairing from the menu? "The one that jumps out the most is our dry aged NY strip, cooked properly with salt, pepper and au jus, paired with the Ferrari - Carano. Those two together are as good as life gets."
While some wines will still be available after the event ends - others won't. And that includes South African standout Kanu Kia Ora. According to Miliotes, The Capital Grille bought up the entire US supply - so diners need to make it before September 2 to get a sip. He recommends pairing it with the cheesecake for an unforgettable eating experience.
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This year's Generous Pour selections include:
Lunetta Rose, Sparkling Rose, Trentino-Italy
Simcic, Rebula, Goriska Brda-Slovenia, 2008/2009
Gary Farrell, Chardonnay, Carneros, 2009
Conn Creek, Anthology, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2007
Ferrari-Carano, Mountain Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, 2008
Chateau du Pin, Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc, Bordeaux-France, 2009
Falesco, Assisi Rosso, Sangiovese/Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon, Umbria-Italy, 2009
Villa Mt. Eden, Grand Reserve, Pinot Noir, Russian River, 2007
Kanu Kia Ora, Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2006
The Generous Pour summer wine event is available at The Capital Grille through September 2. The cost is $25 with dinner, and no special reservations are necessary.