Friday, September 3, 2010

MONDAVI WINES AT BISTRO ON THE AVENUE, KINGSTON, PA


If you've been checking this site recently, you know Denise and I spent some time in northeastern Pennsylvania.  The trip afforded us an opportunity to hang with family and friends in some of greater Wilkes Barre's finer establishments.  Some of the hangouts were funky, old-school places while others were moderately upscale - and then there was the pierogie stand at the Kielbasa Festival in Pittston.  Margarine?  Puh-lease.  Today's location - Bistro On The Avenue - falls into the second category.

Bistro On The Avenue is in Kingston, PA.  It sits nestled in the crook of an elbow-bend strip mall on Wyoming Avenue, a street I became very familiar with during my stay.  You take Wyoming Avenue to get anywhere in the valley, no matter where you are.  If there is anything remotely resembling a traffic pattern on it, the locals scramble for a different way, usually the back road - which is actually called Back Road.  Los Angeles drivers should be so versatile with alternate routes.
At Bistro On The Avenue, our table ordered what looked like every appetizer on the menu - whch is quite a few.  The Lobster Strudel should be spoken of only in hushed, reverent tones.  It's divine.  The wine list is not bad, but not what one might expect from a place with "Bistro" in its name.  I had hoped to drink local whenever I could, but with no wines from the great northeast on the list, I went back to Cali.  Passing on the fairly pedestrian entries there - none looking very exciting - I settled on a Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon, and liked it so much I followed up with the Mondavi Merlot.
Mondavi CabThe Cabernet was dark ruby in the glass, with a nose featuring black currant, smoke, leather and pencil shavings.  It was nice to give my palate something more complex than the samples of the Keystone State wines I had been enjoying thus far.  The Cab had a good grip and felt very full in my mouth.  Blackberry, blueberry and cassis showed on the very fruit forward palate.
Mondavi MerlotWhen the waitress inquired about another round, it seemed everyone was in agreement.  I stayed with Mondavi and had the Merlot.  Medium ruby in color, this wine was not shy either.  The nose was a huge fruitfest, with blueberry and cherry coming forth.  There was a lot of smoke on the palate here, too, even more than the Cab.  The taste of big, dark berries swam around in a setting that resembled a wood fire.  The finish was long and luxurious.

Tomorrow, a visit to an actual winery tasting room - at Wilkes Barre's Mohegan Sun Casino at Pocono Downs.