Updated January 24, 2010
The fifth Pittsburgh-area PAWineTalk tasting, held on Friday January 22nd, was quite educational. As a group we learned three things:
Building on the success of the last blind tasting, our host bigred chose a blind Pinot Noir tasting. Seventeen people tasted seventeen bottles, the largest turnout to date. As before, corks and foils were removed and bottles bagged in advance. Some wines were also decanted.
In an effort to avoid multiple bottles of the same wine, various people declared in the PAWineTalk Forum what they were intending to bring. Despite best efforts, one pair of identical bottles still did manage to slip though. However, that didn’t stop our crew of experienced tasters from forming differing opinions of those two! More on that later.
As the tasting got underway, several folks threw caution to the wind and boldly predicted that various wines were, in fact, Pinot Noir. There was some debate however as to whether one wine was actually a Merlot or Meritage.
The restaurant, Pizzutti, in Shadyside, provided wonderful food and excellent service in a nice if somewhat crowded dining room, right up to the point when the owner informed us that we had been there for 3 1/2 hours and they needed the tables. Some uncomfortable dialog ensued and most folks left while six stragglers agreed to move to the bar that had neither chairs nor wine glasses (although a few of the latter were eventually produced). Only after leaving and looking at a clock did we realized that we had only been there 2 1/2 hours at the time when we were evicted. So despite the truly excellent three-cheese ravioli, a return visit seems rather unlikely.
The wines were:
There was one additional wine tasted, Ponzi Pinot Noir Reserve Willamette Valley 2006. It was not tasted blind, rather, some clown brought it along for comparison and opened it after all the wines had been revealed. It was not included in any of the voting.
Several wines received one or two votes for wine of the night but couldn’t muster a majority, including “G” Casa Marin Cartagena, “D” Erath Estate Selection, and “F” Freeman Vineyard & Winery. The popular choice for wine of the night was “P” Williams Selyem Sonoma Coast 2007. Whether it justified the PLCB’s $78 asking price, however, remained an individual decision. Many people felt redeemed however, that even in a blind tasting their favorite was among - if not the - most expensive and highly rated wines. But perhaps more revealing was that some of the other favorite wines were considerably cheaper, while other expensive wines didn’t fare as well.
Undoubtedly, the bottle of the night was “D” Erath Estate Selection. The empty bottle weighed almost as much as some of the others when full!
The burgundies as a group had a poor showing. While there were no Grand Crus, there were four 1er Crus with the remaining a Villages, and the two most recent noteworthy vintages were represented, 2002 and 2005. None received any votes for wine of the night, and a couple were simply not enjoyed. Some people commented that burgundies often fare better with food, while others said they had a hard time getting past the prices.
As mentioned earlier, the “A” and “F” bottles were identical, with the "F" receiving one vote for wine of the night while “A” did not get any. One taster scored "A" an 85 and "F" 89. There's always the possibility that "F" could have been stored in a wine cellar and "A" on top of a radiator, but it is also entirely possible that peoples' tastebuds simply got tired through the course of the evening. It should be noted that the wines were not tasted in the order above. With so many people and so many wines, it was more of a free-for-all.
Overall it was a fun and enlightening event. Rumblings about the next tasting seemed to be leaning towards Cabernets. Stay tuned!
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