A little R&R from the normal grind over the last few days but that certainly didn’t mean the reviews and data points wouldn’t keep coming.
At the Capital Grille in Washington, D.C. we had what could only be described as gastronomic gluttony.  And rightfully so on vacation. 
Dinner was a “Delmonico” steak – which is, a bone-in ribeye.  Dry aged, prime, and grilled to absolute perfection with a seared crust you could hear as you sliced it, the meat was flavorful and tender as butter. Sides were mashed potatoes, roasted wild mushrooms and creamed corn with bacon.  The latter was especially a hit as it was obviously sliced from the cob, gently creamed, and accented by the bacon. It was amazing. 

Dry Aged, Prime Bone-in Ribeye “Delmonico”

We opened and thoroughly enjoyed two excellent Tuscans.  The 1999 Antinori Solaia, a blend of 80% Cabernet and 20% Sangiovese, was nothing short of an elegant beauty. Deep, blackish purple in the glass, the aromas blended black fruits, licorice, cedar, and minerals.  In the mouth, the wine is full bodied and silky, fruit just seems to sit on your palate. Black fruits, minerals, licorice and coffee notes mingle, and there is nary a tannic bite in sight.  They are fully resolved, intricately woven and perfectly balanced with the acids. Powerful and elegant at the same time.  This wine seems ready to go, but can easily withstand further cellaring.  92 points – About $90 on release.

1999 Antinori Solaia

The second wine was given to me by a good friend.  The 1997 Castello Banfi Poggio Alle Mura Brunello might just have outshined the Solaia.  In the glass, the wine sports an almost blackish red color, while the rim of the wine is trending ever so slightly to copper. The nose of this wine defines it’s greatness. There are dark red fruit aromas accented with spice, tobacco, and warmed earth, but there is also an enormous aroma of fresh fennel and anise. It’s wonderfully combined and would pass this off as a dead ringer for a classic Barbaresco.  In the mouth, the wine displays finesse over power.  Flavors follow the nose, and the aromas of the fennel turn to a soft licorice aftertaste in the mouth. This wine has aged beautifully and is showing no signs of slowing down.  This was the inaugural vintage for this wine, a Brunello sourced from the vineyards closest to the walls of Castello Banfi’s Poggio Alle Mura castle, and the result of Banfi’s clonal research project.  It’s simply outstanding. 93 points, about $60.

1997 Castello Banfi Poggio Alle Mura Brunello di Montalcino

Unfortunately, the Capital Grille was very dark, but I did my best with the pictures.  I highly recommend a stop at this Pennsylvania Avenue location if you find yourself in D.C. – among the best steaks, (and meals) I’ve ever had.


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