Philly might be better known as a beer city, but the oenophiles aren’t hurting for options. More than 100 wine-themed events are taking place at bars and restaurants all over town for the fourth annual Philly Wine Week, which kicks off Sunday, March 19 and runs through Sunday, March 26.
To navigate the deluge of choices, Philly Wine Week set up a new website that’s easy to search through, with events broken down by day, venue and type — types range from “educational” to “fun/crazy.” If that doesn’t narrow it down enough, here’s a guide to some good bets, including a few where the food is as much the focus as the wine.
Executive chef Jon Cichon and beverage director Hai Tran at Lacroix (210 W. Rittenhouse Square) are doing the type of decadent lunch one would expect at the Rittenhouse Hotel restaurant, with smoked rainbow trout rillettes, roasted lamb leg, and desserts, all paired with wines from France’s Loire Valley. It’s available through Saturday.
Swing by the new Queen Village location of Plenty Cafe (705 S. Fifth Street) between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. any day of Philly Wine Week for an ongoing The Best Wines You’ve Never Heard Of event, with selections from countries like Israel, Slovenia, Uruguay and Lebanon.
Tredici Enoteca (14 S. 13th Street) is celebrating female wine makers with a weeklong Women in Wine theme. For $22, get a three-glass wine flight paired with three cheeses.
SUNDAY, MARCH 19
Start with a Philly Wine Week sampler — and drink among the dinosaurs — at the swank Opening Corks kick-off party at the Academy of Natural Sciences (1900 Ben Franklin Parkway).
MONDAY, March 20
Nicholas Bazik, chef at The Good King Tavern (614 S. Seventh Street), is borrowing his former Lacroix coworker for the night: Sommelier Justin Timsit is coming down Gramercy Tavern in New York to handle the wines at an intimate five-course dinner, with guests seated at a communal table at the back of the restaurant.
Panorama (14 N. Front Street) is also putting the spotlight on the people who make the wine happen, with Bar-Somm. SmackDown, a wine-cocktail demonstration and competition. The winning concoction will be added to Panorama’s spring cocktail menu.
Don’t forget about Lambrusco. Three different bars will be set up at Kensington Quarters (1310 Frankford Avenue) for the Lambrusco Festival, with food and drink from KQ’s Damon Menapace along with guest chefs and bartenders Jesse Ito of Royal Sushi & Izakaya, Sam Jacobson of Stargazy, Val Stryjewski of Prohibition Taproom, and several others. The music playing will all be by local bands.
TUESDAY, MARCH 21
Is bottled wine that much better than boxed? Can you even tell the difference? Find out at a blind taste test during Think Inside the Box at Vintage Wine Bar (129 S. 13th Street).
“Oregon inspired cuisine” doesn’t bring much to mind, but Bud & Marilyn’s (1234 Locust Street) is enlightening diners with a prix fixe menu featuring oysters Rockefeller, clams and smoked pork sausage, and grilled lamb loin paired with wines from Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Paris Bistro & Jazz Cafe in Chestnut Hill (8229 Germantown Avenue) is putting a spin on wine pairings, serving up bouillabaisse with a flight featuring a white, a rosé, and a red to demonstrate how different wines can match with one dish.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22
Cave à Manger 2.0: Orange is the New Black is the name of The Good King Tavern’s ode to orange wines (a type of white wine), cheese and charcuterie.
Get educated on what “nose” and “tannic” actually mean at a Learn Your Lingo lesson at Vintage Wine Bar.
Pinot Boutique (227 Market Street) is pairing wines with Philly food staples, including cheesesteaks, soft pretzels and Tastykakes, for those who’ve always wondered what goes with a Butterscotch Krimpet (answer: everything).
FRIDAY, MARCH 24
There’s no need to choose between wine and beer at the Grapes and Grain day at Lo Spiedo (4503 S. Broad Street). The Navy Yard spot will be offering the collaborative saison Chrysos, which is Goose Island Brewery’s Sofie aged in Petite Verdot and Cabernet Franc barrels from Karamoor, a Fort Washington winery.
Hungry Pigeon (743 S. Fourth Street) is toasting to pink wine with Rosé All Day.
Ever marvel at how the Tria staff can answer any question about anything on the long list of wines, beers and cheeses? Sit in on Wine 101 at Tria Fermentation School (1601 Walnut Street) to learn like the pros do.
Merlot might have fallen out of favor, but Vintage Wine Bar thinks it deserves another taste. The bar will be pouring Merlot flights during the Don’t Call It A Comeback event.
SUNDAY, MARCH 26
Barbuzzo (110 S 13th Street) is doing its first Sunday brunch, in the form of a pop-up in the private upstairs space. Chef Marcie Turney’s food will be Italian, matched with negroni mimosas, flights of wine from Calabria and Sicily, Italian wine cocktails, and prosecco.
David McDuff of David Bowler Wine (no relation) will be pouring the bubbly at Hungry Pigeon’s fried chicken and Champagne night.
American Sardine Bar (1800 Federal Street) must be praying for warmer weather because it’s closing out Philly Wine Week with an outdoor barbecue in the backyard, complete with draft wine, tapas-style plates and a fire pit.