A few weeks ago I noted that The Capital Grille hasa special wine on their menu for a limited time created as a collaboration between Capital Grille Master Sommelier George Miliotes and Napa Valley winemaker for Atalon Vineyards, Thomas Peffer. I had the chance to try one of the limited production bottles, only 1000 cases were made, the other night. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley’s stunning Pritchard Hill from what some have regarded as one of the best vintages in recent Napa Valley history. The best part, $25 of every $75 bottle goes to Share Our Strength, helping end childhood hunger in America.
We did decant the wine, often not the norm with young bottles, but perhaps should be as the air can help bring a young wine along. Throughout the course of dinner the taste of the wine changed from a licorice, cherry and cedar heavy wine to a slightly softer, more balanced wine, still with lots of dark fruit but also layers of nutmeg, black pepper and cola.
2007 Napa Cabs are also perfect pairing partners to dishes that go beyond just steak, though steak is still an ideal pairing. Why is steak so good with Cabernet Sauvignon? Cab is a big, full bodied wine usually with pronounced fruit flavors married with licorice, leather, cedar and spice from oak aging, common with Cabernet. But, steak isn’t the only pairing for Cabernet, a perfectly grilled cedar plank salmon is a great pairing for the non-meat eater. Salmon is a fattier, heavier fish that can handle the weight and richness of a Cab, the cedar plank adds a smokey earthiness accentuating the spice in the wine.
Capital Grille has many options to fit either the fish or the beef path. We opted for a spicy ancho rubbed filet with bacon-jalapeno polenta. Bursting with flavor, and heat, the spice rub brought out the spicy black pepper and nutmeg flavors in the wine. We also tried a cedar plank salmon, cooked perfectly medium rare, with a fennel and tomato relish, highlighting the licorice, fruit and smokiness of the wine.
Each bottle of the Artist Series is individually numbered, and displays the label created from the artwork by Patricia Timbrook, winner of the Artist Series artwork competition that Capital Grille hosted. This special wine is available now exclusively at The Capital Grille.