Sunset Wine Cruises – all summer long! back to Homepage

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Luna Cafe + Pinot Boutique back to Homepage

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 11.50.41 AMLuna Cafe, Old City’s newest restaurant is dedicated to providing great food from fresh, local ingredients. And we have to tell you — they have hit it right on the head! At Pinot Boutique, we are always looking to build new relationships with the businesses around Old City and Luna Cafe is a great addition to the neighborhood.

Luna has been so kind to offer 10% off to Pinot Boutique class participants! After your wine class or tasting at Pinot, head over to Luna Cafe (just down the block on Market Street) for a delicious meal.

Some of our favorites from the menu include:
Luna Mac and Cheese
Rustic Crostini
Salmon Burger
Brie Stuffed French Toast (brunch item)

… just to name a few! Head over to their website to see the full menu. And don’t forget to follow them on Facebook and Twitter too!

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NEW! Happy Hour at Pinot back to Homepage

It’s been a day. Not just a long day, but that never-lasting-too-much-to-do day. Now let’s be honest: nothing feels quite as good as finishing a long day and pouring that first glass of wine. Whether you’re at out and about in Philly or on your living room couch, this is THE happiest hour of the day.

Well guess what: this hour just got happier!

Pinot Boutique has just added NEW Happy Hour at Pinot Wine Tastings Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday: every week. AND there are still great wine-sipping classes and events on the weekend! Our calendar just got a whole lot busier, and yours just got a whole lot better. These tastings are great for an after-work drink, a before-dinner drink, or just a chance to try new wines for just $8.00. You can even keep track of these wines on your Pinot Boutique tasting card to pick up your favorites and enjoy beyond Happy Hour after hours!

So call up your friends, your significant other, or just take an hour for yourself! Celebrate every day of the week with Old City’s favorite wine boutique. Come on, after the day you’ve had you know you need a drink!

Happy Hour at Pinot will start at 4:00pm every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for just $8.00. These tastings include (2) whites, (2) reds, and (1) dessert wine. Pick five (or have us pick for you) and celebrate Happy Hour at Pinot with us all week!

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Save 10% at Luna Cafe! back to Homepage

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LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE WORLD OF WINE back to Homepage

So you want to know more about wine?  A good way to get a real in-depth education is to study with the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET), which is represented in Philadelphia by Neal Ewing and his Phillywine.com organization.  I’m nearing the end of the 8-week Level 2 Course and I’m loving it.

I’m already leading tastings and discussing wines using the local wines here at Pinot Boutique. We have examples of most of the world’s great wines made right here in the Delaware and Lehigh Valleys.

But I wanted to firm up my knowledge and speak with more confidence about grapes and regions from all over the world. So I made the investment and signed up. Pinot Boutique owner Dan “The Wineman” Soskin is already a Level 2 & 3 graduate with merit. 

The class is held one night a week (mostly) in a meeting room on the 3rd floor of the Sofitel Hotel.  (I say “mostly” because occasionally we are displaced by other hotel guests to an alternate location.) Each week we cover a different major wine category, such as Cabernets & Merlots, or Dessert Wines.  Neal starts each session with a Powerpoint covering the characteristics of the wine and the different regions in which it is made.

Then comes the good part: we each get out our personal set of six tasting glasses (included in your course fee), and taste typical examples that Neal has purchased at the State Store. He gives you a great chart to help you keep track; it shows vintage, vineyard, region, grape, alcohol percentage, and what he paid for it. The actual tastings in my class are lead by Neal’s assistant, Delores. She has an uncanny, almost-canine ability to discern any number of scents and tastes in a given glass.

One of the main things you learn is a systematic approach to tasting, and an objective way to judge and compare each wine’s appearance, nose, quality, and taste characteristics like acidity, body and tannins. That’s one of the things I like about the course: it is a no-B.S. Zone.

Neal also records and webcasts each class for distance learners. (Hope they’re savoring a nice glass at home while they watch!). But it’s so much fun and quenches my thirst for knowledge so well that it’s got to be better in person. The course ends with a 50-question multiple choice test (Do you know your Volnay from your Vouvray?  Your Moscato from your Muscadet?). I’ll miss it, but I’ll be much better prepared to go forth and order that delicious bottle that’s just perfectly paired with tonight’s dish.

 

 

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#whyilovephilly Twitter Campaign for Valentine’s Day back to Homepage

whyilovephillyFebruary 3, 2015 (OldCityDistrict.com) — On Valentine’s Day, February 14th, Philly Love Notes, media outlets, bloggers and non-profits, will once again run a day-long #whyilovephilly Twitter campaign to promote love for Philadelphia. Last year’s campaign flooded social media with positivity with approximately 4000 posts, 2000+ users, and almost 9 million impressions. It helped change the negative dialogue about our city on a day created to celebrate and be thankful for what we love.

Pinot Boutique is proud to be part of Philadelphia and we are proud to participate in this #whyilovephilly campaign! Read why we are doing this and how you can be a part of the Philly Love at www.OldCityDistrict.com.

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Harvest Ridge Wines Now Available at Pinot Boutique back to Homepage

We are so excited to welcome Harvest Ridge Winery to Pinot Boutique! This addition to our robust selection means more wines to choose from (view the wines of Harvest Ridge Winery) as well as the added expertise of the Harvest Ridge family!

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 12.46.47 PMAs a family farm winery, family comes first at Harvest Ridge and it all began with Chuck and Chris Nunan. After a visit to a winery in Charleston, South Carolina in 2010, Chuck decided to take his love for wine and turn it into a winemaking business using land originally purchased for a family farm Marydel, Delaware. The name “Harvest Ridge” was the original name of the farm and was retained for the winery. The first vines were planted in 2011 – Chardonnay, Viognier, Malbec, and Merlot. The winery opened to the public (as Delaware’s fourth winery) on November 1, 2013.

You will have the opportunity to meet a representative of Harvest Ridge on Friday, February 6th while you sip, chat, and shop at our monthly First Friday event. Make sure you’re signed up for the event so you don’t miss out on this exciting tradition of Old City Philadelphia!

And — mark your calendar, the official launch of Harvest Ridge Winery at Pinot Boutique will take place at March’s First Friday event on March 6th! We will not only have their delicious wines to taste, but the winemaker and others from their team will be joining us. We can’t wait to introduce all our wonderful customers to the wines of Harvest Ridge!

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Dan ‘The Wineman’ Teaches Wine 101 at Heritage Vineyards back to Homepage

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 10.30.13 AMDan ‘The Wineman’ is taking his show on the road! Three Wine 101 classes have been scheduled at Heritage Vineyards in Mullica Hill, NJ, taught by Dan ‘The Wineman’.

Each class will guide you through a tasting of six different wines and help you discover what you like and why. Learn about the  “structure of a wine”  as well as the influence of oak, tannins & acids on the taste of the wine. Five of the tasting wines will be from the Heritage Vineyard collection along with a special old world bottle.

 

The first class held on January 22nd sold out and these seats are filling up fast so don’t wait to register!

Thursday, March 26th; 7:00-8:30pm –> Register here

 

Heritage Vineyards is a family owned and operated estate vineyard and winery located in Mullica Hill, New Jersey. Mullica Hill is located in the heart of the Outer Coastal Plain American Viticultural Area (AVA), which covers over 2.25 million acres in Southeastern New Jersey. Named New Jersey’s “Winery of the Year” in 2011 and 2014 by the Garden State Wine Growers Association, Heritage has begun cementing it’s self as a benchmark producer in New Jersey’s largest wine growing region.

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Center City Fall Restaurant Week back to Homepage

It’s back! Center City Fall Restaurant Week, running September 7th-12th and 14th-19th is the perfect time to try one of Philadelphia’s hot, new spots at a discounted rate. The deal, $35 for dinner and $20 for restaurants participating during lunch, includes some Old City favorites; Bistro 7, Plough & The Stars, Continental Restaurant & Martini Bar and Amada.

Also included on the list are BYOB’s. And where are you going to get wine to bring with you to your meal? Pinot Boutique of course! Stop in for delicious, local wines at a great price. We are open Monday-Thursday until 9pm; Friday-Saturday until 10pm and Sunday until 6pm.

DEAL! Show us the receipt from your Philly Restaurant Week meal and enjoy an in-store wine tasting Buy One, Get One FREE! In-store wine tastings include 5 tastes of our award winning local wines. Stop in for your BOGO tasting now through Sunday, September 21st.

Check out the full list of participating restaurants for Center City Restaurant Week on PhillyMag.com.

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PART II: BIKE RIDING THROUGH THE VINEYARDS back to Homepage

How to spend a beautiful fall day in the heart of Burgundy with Kathy, my love of 30 years?  Why, it’s off to the bike rental shop, of course!  With a bottle of Aligote in my backpack and a baguette sticking out the top, we rounded the Beaune circular road, found the right exit, watched for signs, and voila!  We suddenly found ourselves on a narrow paved path surrounded by Vitis vinifera in full berry-mode!  We were on the Bougogne Veloroute, and set for the trip of a lifetime.

In the distance was our first town, Pommard, which presented from afar as all the Burgundy towns did: a steeple surrounded by slate roofs.  To the West, paralleling the trail, the hills rose to a steady ridgeline: the Haut (or “High”) Cote d’Beaune.

Most grapes were right there for the touching.  Some were enclosed in walled vineyards with ancient gates: the Clos des Perrieres, the Clos des Santenots of the Domain Jacques Prieur.  “Clos” means walled vineyard.

More towns appeared: Volnay, Chassagne Montrachet–each clearly marked both as you enter and as you leave, the latter with a red diagonal through the town name.  If you’re shopping for a fine burgundy, these are the very town names you will read on the labels.

Though we were a week early for the main harvest–called the “Vendange”–there were pickers in the vineyards with their large white plastic conical backpacks.  We could see the workers stepping up on the scales with their cones empty (the “before”) and full (the “after”) to measure their production.

The workers seemed like normal townsfolk making some extra money.  One group called to us as we rode by.  I hopped off my bike, jumped down off the wall surrounding the vineyard, and ran over to the rows where they were working, ready to go to work.  Alas, not one spoke any English.  In hindsight, I should have used their scissors to make at least one snip!

On the main square in one town, perhaps Volnay, we passed a small market.  Starting to feel dehydrated, we agreed to stop in the next town for energy drinks or whatever was available.   That was a mistake: the towns got smaller, and there were no shops, only signs for various wine-related businesses.  Stopping at them would no doubt have produced serendipitous discoveries, but we pressed on.

Finally near the end of the Veloroute in Santanay, we stopped at a picnic table in a grove of trees and enjoyed our Aligote, baguette and cheese in the shade along with genuine nougat, which is widely sold in French shops.  I never really knew what it was before, though every Three Musketeers bar, I now realize, has it in its center!

We headed back along the same trail toward Chateau Meursault for a wine tasting and cellar tour. Finding it, even from within the town of Meursault, proved to be difficult. There were few other cyclists along the path, and no signage toward what we thought would be a common destination. In short, the Burgundy Veloroute is still an undiscovered travel gem!

But once we had asked enough directions in our patchwork French, we finally walked where Thomas Jefferson is known to have toured and to have bought wine to be sent back to Monticello.  We were the only visitors when we arrived.  But the caves began to fill up as we circled through the vast cellars filled with hundreds of thousands of dusty, unlabeled bottles.  Upon exiting, we found that the empty parking lot had filled with Rolls Royces!  A British motoring club had chosen Meursault as their destination on the same day as this lowly pair of bike-touring Americans.

Total mileage for the day: about 25. Value of the experience: priceless.

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