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J2K's 50th!

Posted November 22, 2017

On Sunday November 19, eight PAWineTalk users and guests gathered at Avenue B in Shadyside to celebrate J2K's 50th birthday. It was believed to be the group's first visit to the Pittsburgh neighborhood since an infamous tasting almost eight years ago. In keeping with the spirit of PAWineTalk, J2K organized the event himself.

There was no set wine theme for the tasting, just "enjoy good wine, good food, and good laughs." Dump buckets were specifically prohibited, although Tonypoli managed to sneak in a small container for spitting.

Our host had a fashionably late arrival, just after the other guests had started in on the first wine of the evening. He more than made up for his tardiness however when he produced five (5) bottles!

In no particular order, the following wines were shared:

  1. NV Jean-Pierre Legret Champagne
  2. 2014 Bruno Giacosa Roero Arneis
  3. 2015 E. Guigal Condrieu La Doriane
  4. 2010 Louis Jadot Pommard Rugiens
  5. 2006 Château de Pibarnon Bandol
  6. 2006 Camerano Barolo Cannubi San Lorenzo
  7. 2010 Luke Lambert Syrah
  8. 2013 McPrice Myers Beautiful Earth
  9. 2013 Elizabeth Spencer Cabernet Sauvignon Special Cuvée
  10. 2013 Seaver Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon GTS
  11. 2003 Château Cos d'Estournel St. Estèphe
  12. 2001 Château Gruaud Larose St. Julien
  13. 1957 Château Pontet-Canet Pauillac

While it was our first visit to Avenue B for a tasting, several folks from the group had been there previously. The late afternoon start time worked well for the working stiffs, and the restaurant policy of no corkage fee on Sundays was a plus. The food was very good. Despite Mark's nit-picking about an inconsistency between the blackboard and printed menus, there were no complaints. The Wagyu beef meatloaf was a popular choice.

For the wine tasting, there was no formal tasting procedure, no tasting sheets, and no voting. Everyone tasted the various wines at their own pace, and was free to grab any bottle they liked in any order. There was however a general progression starting with the whites, then to the lighter reds, with the California Cabs last.

Bagged wine

Part way through the dinner, J2K stood up and said we were going to play the "Wine Reduction" game. He produced a bottle in a brown paper bag and poured some into everyone's glass. He then asked a question about it and gave two possible answers. Everyone raised their right or left hand based on the answer they chose. If they were wrong they were out (the "reduction"). If they were right they remained in and moved on to the next question. The questions continued until there was only one person left.

The first question was easy, but they got progressively more difficult:

  1. Is the wine red or white?
  2. Is it new world or old world?
  3. Is it from France or Spain?
  4. Is it primarily Grenache or Mourvèdre?
  5. (After that question, there were three people remaining.)
  6. Is the vintage 2006 and younger, or 2005 and older?

After that question the only person remaining was Angela, who happens to be J2K's sister-in-law (SiLoJ2K). She correctly answered all questions about the 2006 Château de Pibarnon Bandol. For her blind tasting prowess, she receives a PAWineTalk pen!*

One disappointment was the 1957 Château Pontet-Canet. Jlburd bought it at auction, as it represents a "significant" year for him. The bottle apparently had been recorked at some point, and it had a very high fill. The nose was great, but the wine itself had very little fruit or acidity. It was not flawed, but simply over the hill. Truly a shame.

Given the high ratio of bottles to tasters, there was a good bit of wine remaining at the end of the meal. Everyone grabbed their favorite(s) as they parted. But rumor has it that J2K went home and opened a whole other bottle!

Happy birthday J2K! Salute!

*Pen to be presented at a later date. Unless we forget.

lineup1 lineup2 lineup3 Camerano Cos Grusud Spencer McPrice Arneis legret La Doriane Pontet-Canet Bandol Luke Lambert Group meatloaf

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1. bigred - November 23, 2017 9:48PM

Well Admin, you really had to dust off the archives to dig out that reference to a tasting I hosted so many years ago; I'll never live that one down :) This one, however, sounded like a real treat. Sorry I missed, but I have a feeling this will not be the last of such events! Nice recap.

2. Mark - November 27, 2017 1:38PM

My favs were, geez, well, most of them! The two whites were different but each was great; Napa Cabs were young but good (my first taste of each, Seaver was bigger and better but that Elizabeth Spencer is a true value); McPrice Myers was more Aussie Shiraz style than the actual Aussie Shiraz...or put another way, the Aussie was more old world style than the Cali. I figured the Pommard would be way too young but it was drinking very well. I took the remaining half bottle of that home but I don't know what happened, the next night it was practically undrinkable. The Cos and Gruaud were both great, the Cos could've used even more time in bottle IMO. Really too bad about the Pontet Canet. I shoulda ordered the meatloaf.

3. jlburd - November 27, 2017 1:49PM

Great fun. This tasting reinforced my preference for old world over new. The GTS was an amazing wine but not my cup of tea compared to the Elizabeth Spencer Cab. Would love to have the Seaver in 7-8 years. The Barolo was WOTN for me, with the Grauard second. Interesting note about the Pommard. I thought it had much more going for it than expected at the dinner. One night wonder I guess. Thanks to J2K for organizing and turning 50.

4. J2K - December 9, 2017 6:07PM

Thanks to all for coming! Lots of good wines. I thought the Barolo was drinking beautifully right now. Just the aroma was mesmerizing. The Gruaud was also excellent. Even though the I decanted the Cos 5 hours earlier, it was great but easily could use a few more years in the cellar. Overall great night- wine, food, and company! And yes, my brother and I drank another bottle of Elizabeth Spencer cab back at home!

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