3 Essential Wine Tips for When You’re Not at Tria
We understand. You don’t drink all your wine at Tria.
You can’t be with us all the time. But our words of wine wisdom can always be with you. Wine is never to be feared when you are armed with our Sommelier Secrets. This week we tackle three real-world scenarios.
Celebrating at a fancy restaurant? Look for Crémant.
You’re commemorating your birthday or anniversary at a fancy joint and want to pop some bubbly. You don’t want to blow a small fortune on a bottle of bling Champagne? No worries. Do what the sommeliers do instead and search for a bottle of French Crémant sparkling wine. Why? Crémant is a group of sparkling wines made with the same technique as Champagne (méthode champenoise), but from outside the Champagne region. You get all that prized toasty taste of genuine Champagne at about half the price. Look for names like Crémant du Jura, Crémant de Bourgogne, and Crémant d'Alsace, just to name a few. And then propose a toast to celebrate your good sense. (Tria Tip: you will often find Crémant wines on the list at Tria, too.)
Entertaining at home? You can decant.
If you want to impress your dinner guests without raiding your prized collection, or if you don’t have a prized collection, remember one word: decant. Simply pour your red wine into a decent decanter and whammy, that Two Buck Chuck just morphed into a $50 bottle. You see, not only does decanting look cool, but it makes your wine taste better through the wonders of aeration. All of those delicious aromas are trapped in the bottle and decanting sets them free. If you’re wondering, “I thought decanting is to prevent sediment for getting into the glass,” you are correct, which is why many mature red wines require decanting. But making an everyday wine special is another benefit. Check out this video on Wine Folly for more on the subject.
Shopping at the State Store? Get to know the wine buyer.
Today there’s more to wine shopping in Philly than, well, getting in your car and driving elsewhere. One of Pennsylvanians’ favorite pastimes is to bitch about the PLCB, but in all fairness, the stores have improved greatly over the years. But the selections are not exactly curated for overall excellence, so how does a shopper shop with savvy? Get to know your store’s wine buyer, that’s how. Indeed, and perhaps surprisingly, each Premium Collection store employs an individual who procures Special Order “SLO” wines that are not “listed” items that are all you’ll find at lesser Soviet Union-style stores. 101 of the state’s 602 “Fine Wines & Good Spirits” locations are of the Premium Collection variety. Many of these are concentrated in our five-county area, given both the region’s demographics and its residents’ proximity to bridges and highways leading to New Jersey and Delaware.
The Premium Collection stores’ buyers are granted the authority to put Special Order wines on their shelves. Think of these folks as “state store sommeliers” and you’ll get the idea. Get to meet your store’s buyer, seek his or her advice, and drink better in PA. Our go-to guy at Tria’s store (1112 Chestnut) is a gentleman named Max. He has a quirky palate, gets all the cool stuff, and is happy to share his knowledge with you. Ask for him. Go to his free weekly tastings! Pretend you’re not in Pennsylvania!
Michael McCaulley, Tria Partner and Wine Director