Philly Wine Week, like all those weekly festivals, are always fun, but also so fleeting.
We only have Wednesday and Thursday this week left to attend a special PWW event.
But…on Wednesday, I’d definitely consider channeling your inner-Portlandia for Tria Taproom’s “Put a Bird on It!” pairing of Oregon wine with wings; or going to sip some amphora-aged wines normally available only by the bottle at Barcelona; or tasting the orange wines and Ribollas of Slovenia at Southwark; or learning about how Plenty Café is now making its own vermouth.
For Thursday’s finale, head to Jet Wine Bar (always one of the city’s best bets for a wine adventure) to sample some of my favorite Italian wines from Campania. Surprise yourself with some impressive local wines at several places (High Street on Market, Panorama, Martha); or explore Bordeaux with an importer at Vintage Wine Bar.
While PWW may be over way too soon, this festival has really highlighted the reemergence of wine as a subject of excitement, passion, and creative energy in local restaurants.
Philly has long been a beer town. But the new generation of sommeliers has done a fine job over the last few years overcoming the limitations of pricing, selection, and other factors dictated by PLCB rules to foster a vibrant wine scene that’s been increasingly focused on educating diners about independent producers, emerging regions and natural wines.
But this past year has also been a bright one for new wine-driven projects, beginning with the arrival of the Walnut Street Café (from the crew behind New York’s now-closed Rebelle), whose somms are incredibly knowledgeable and willing to sell half bottles of anything on their fascinating list.
There are new hubs for natural wine, like Maison 208 and Teresa’s Next Door, which recently revamped its list. And we’ve also seen chefs with a great track records in vino expand their existing commitment to good wine with new projects like the Spanish-themed Oloroso, whose sherry-driven list program is overseen by chef Tod Wentz’s partner, sommelier, and wife, Gordana Kostovski; and Nicholas Elmi’s new Royal Boucherie, whose French brasserie just happens to be featuring the Beaujolais Cru trend on Thursday night. General manager Nancy Benussi’s eclectic wine list, which ranges from Majorca to British bubblies, is always worthwhile.
But it’s been great to stop for a moment to sip and celebrate the impressive momentum of Philly’s lasting wine progress.