Intimate wine tasting fun, delicious

Jeremia Schrock / Sun Star
March 29, 2011

On March 24, the Pub saw an intimate wine tasting hosted by Bruce Abbott. Abbott is the resident wine expert at K&L Distributors, a beer and wine importer that provides the Pub with its medley of libations. He also maintains Frozen Grapes, a wine blog. The tasting was an intimate affair with a dozen attendees sharing wine, conversation and knowledge.

Abbott began his talk by discussing how evaluating wine can help one better appreciate it. The process has four steps: check the color, swirl it, sniff and then taste. A cursory glance across the room showed many at the tasting preferred to skip to the last step.

In between wines, Abbott discussed the culture and history of the liquids, as well as their myths. One of the more interesting myths Abbott discussed (and dispelled) was that all wine gets better with age. Not true, said Abbot. While red wines do get better with age, white wines do not. In fact, most white wines have a limited shelf life and go bad within twenty years.

As the evening progressed (and as the wine continued to flow) the room began to swirl with greater conversation and laughter, rivaling Abbott’s own enthusiasm. “I get excited about this stuff, if you couldn’t tell!” he said.

When Abbot left for the second tasting he was holding that night (this one at Gambardella’s), Ken Thomas took over. Thomas is a senior wine distributor for K&L. He stated that while he was not a specialist, he had no problems sharing what he knew while he refilled attendees’ glasses.

While Thomas stopped drinking years ago, he still loves wine. “I can taste it just by smelling it,” he stated. Thomas is also studying to become a certified wine expert like Abbott, and intends to have his certification by the end of 2012.

Attendees Bridget Hardy and Jen Medl made their own fun by scribbling down interesting (and potentially lewd) quotes that they overheard during the tasting. One of their favorites? “It tastes better then it smells.” Both said that they had a “very good time” and spent a good deal of the evening laughing and helping other taste-goers finish off the sample bottles of wine that had been provided.

Michael Skulstad, a figure skater attending the event with friends, enjoyed the tasting for both its peace and quiet. “I absolutely love it,” he said. “It was something I really needed.”

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