Pinot Boutique is right in the heart of trendy Old City Philadelphia among lively pubs, martini bars and brunch spots with names that are hard to pronounce. This little establishment specializes in a broad selection of wine related accessories from wall art, barrel tables and wine racks to games, clothing and a huge array of openers. Pinot recently started selling wine itself, thanks to a collaboration with Paradocx Vineyard in nearby Chester County.
For weeks I’ve been trying to get down to one of their Friday night onsite tasting classes. The classes are offered every week and the theme changes each Friday of the month. Tonight, second Friday, the subject is ‘Varietals’. This week in particular we were going to taste some sparkling wine.
The Pinot facility is laid out over two stories (There’s A LOT of stuff here) and the tasting classes are held in a cozy space downstairs. The instruction was led by Dolores, a Pinot employee and extremely wine savvy WSET student (I have a piece on wine education coming soon). The 7:00 class was made up of a comfortable mix of about ten people (including a group of young women for a birthday) scattered among a casual array of tables, couches and comfy chairs. One hour, three wines. I have to say it beat a night on the couch watching ‘Two and a half men’ reruns.
Dolores did an outstanding job creating a comfortable environment for everyone. She started off by talking about the wines that we would be tasting and how to evaluate them. She covered the differences between sparkling and regular wine, how sparkling wine is produced and getting the most out of the tasting. We would be trying three wines tonight and tasting sheets were provided.
Tasting #1 – Ca’ Furlan Prosecco Cuvée from Beatrice, Italy – Prosecco is a light, sparkling wine, served best when chilled. A good summer selection. One thing that I learned (during class and at dinner after class, actually) is that Prosecco is very popular for mixing in drinks. It is good on it’s own but offers that versatility. A Bellini, for example is a popular Italian cocktail that is a collaboration of Prosecco and peach purée.
Tasting #2 – Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs from the Carneros region of Sonoma, CA, USA – This wine is not as light as the first, more like a traditional Champagne-like sparkler. The bubbles are more evident and had more of a tartness. A much longer finish also. All three offerings were served chilled tonight, as is the norm for sparklers.
Tasting #3 – The Chook Sparkling Shiraz from South Eastern Australia – Though not as common, reds too are available as sparklers. This shiraz was quite enjoyable. Spicy, cherry flavors but not overpowering. Another tidbit worth mentioning … sparkling wines are not normally meant for aging and can be enjoyed anytime after purchase.
I chatted a bit with the staff after class and really had a great time. Pinot Boutique is a worthwhile stop if you find yourself in Center City Philly … especially if you’re a wine dork like me. The employees are very knowleadgeable & friendly. The owner, Dan opened this place in 2006 and it has quickly become a staple of the Old City community. When you do stop by, do me a favor and casually mention that you heard about his awesome toy store from Uncorked Remarks.