Last Updated on May 12, 2021 by Jeremy
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We're suckers for a good wine bar, and it didn't take long after 23rd & Vine opened in Pittsburgh's South Side for us to make it in for a couple of flights of wine.
While this one is heavily tilted to a few regional producers in Italy and California, we have to admit we loved the variety in the wine list here and can see returning many, many times in the future.
Build Your Own Wine Flights at 23rd & Vine
Shortly after arriving at 23rd & Vine you'll notice two things about the menu. First, their wine list is quite robust and has an impressive spread of well-known varieties as well as more obscure grapes. Second, they predominantly feature wines from just a few producers- a few of note from our visit included Smokey Robinson (yes, that Smokey Robinson), Joseph Jewell, Le Origini, and Old Oak Cellars (which are predominantly California and Italian producers).
Inherently, you may think that the second point is a bit limiting considering how large the world of wine is. But it isn't until you dive into the menu more that you start to see that despite having wines from just a few producers, the growing regions they source from within California and Italy cover quite a significant area. So not just one tiny AVA in Napa, but many in Napa, Sonoma, Santa Barbara, and more.
As we learned in our WSET Level 2 class with Palate Partners, the region influences the wine in your glass a lot. So while the common producers may tie some of them together, the unique locations within these broader destinations ensure they are quite different when sipping.
So why is this important? Well, at 23rd & Vine you can get quite creative with their Build Your Own flights of three half-glasses!
For example, during our visit, they had three Pinot Noirs from Joseph Jewell in three different locations in California. A very intriguing flight option if you like Pinots. Or you could go broader and pick a Zinfandel from California and a Primitivo from Italy (same grape) for a side by side that way. Or you could do what I did and find more obscure grapes out there and try them just because you can (we have an entire wine blog, The Grape Pursuit, all about that, so you know exactly what we did- give me that Aglianico and Falanghina).
In fact, one of the best parts was that our server was quite helpful in breaking down the menu and he took time to get to know us, our wine experience and tastes, and even provided some samples that he thought we'd like in order to help us pick wines for our flight that we'd be more likely to enjoy.
All this took what could've been just another wine bar experience and helped elevate it to something special.
Throw in periodic weeknight happy hours for discounted glasses (which we were sadly a bit too late on- typically Tuesday to Friday 4 to 6 pm), a snacky menu of charcuterie, cheese spreads, and dips (meaning we can save some more room for a South Side restaurant), regional delivery, and half off sparkling on Sundays and we can see many reasons to return to 23rd & Vine moving forward.
But, to be honest, we also do not need any of these to be happy. Pittsburgh's wine bar scene needs to grow, and having a gem like this in South Side is enough for us!
23rd & Vine is located at 2333 E Carson Street in South Side.