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:
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.
Part way through the dinner, J2K stood up and said we were going to play the "Wine Reduction" game. He pulled out one bottle which was 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 then got progressively more difficult:
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.
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