Jet Wine Bar

Philly's Global Vineyard.
We specialize in wines from emerging and lesser-known regions, as well as uncommon varietals.

We also have a selection of craft beers and a full bar.

Come see why we think we are Philly’s friendliest bar!


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    212 posts tagged jet wine bar

    Tuesday is back!  Experiment with our list with flights and half glasses…

    Galen Glen vineyards Ravines vineyard on Keuka Lake Cave Springs Vineyards - in the snow. Millbrook Winery vineyard walking trail Penns Woods Winery vineyards

    Tasting Cold-Climate Wines (i.e. PA, NY, and Canada!)

    In our latest tasting in the Global Vineyard Passport Tasting Series, Bob Barrett brought 5, fantastic wines from cold-climate regions of the East Coast and Canada. 


    Why “cold climate”?

    Many of the world’s fine-wine regions occur in “Continental Climate” zones in which hot summers can give way to occasional periods of ice and snow in the winters.  These regions include Germany’s Mosel, northern Italy’s Piedmont, Marlborough in New Zealand, the Wachau and Danube of Austria, and France’s Champagne region.

    The effects of a cool climate on grapes are, generally, less sugar and thus less alcohol, more minerality and less fruitiness, and good acid balance.  Because of these qualities and their lighter styles, these wines tend to be very complimentary to food.

    A lot of wine makers and wine drinkers seek out these characteristics, leading to winemakers in warmer climes – such as California – to seek out grapes produced in that state’s cooler micro-climates like the Western Sonoma Coast, the Santa Lucia Highlands, and the Santa Ynez and Santa Maria Valleys.

    Here on the East Coast (and above the Mason-Dixon Line), we don’t have to worry about seeking out those regions; we are in a Cold-Climate zone.

    Characteristics of a “cold climate” that need to be reckoned with for grape growing are freezing temperatures in the winters, the likelihood of frost conditions in the springtime,  and a relatively short growing season.  So, grapes used in these regions need to be cold hardy, bud late, and able to mature quickly.  Fortunately, there are many grapes that do fit this bill that occur throughout the Continental zones, including the very popular riesling, chardonnay, and pinot noir varietals.  Even with these cold-hardy grapes, grape growers in these regions can (and do) try to mitigate some of the effects of the cold, namely by siting vineyards in protected, sunny areas, and by placing them near geographical features that produce “moderating” effects, such as lakes and rivers. 


    What did we taste?

    Galen Glen Winery Stone Cellar Grüner Veltliner, Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

    Galen Glen is found in rolling hills between two sets of mountain ranges:  the Appalachian and Mahoning. Their vineyards sit at 1000ft on a ridge North of Blue Mountain at the Appalachian’s eastern end. The region is characterized by these long, even ridges, with adjacent, continuous valleys. Grapes are grown in well-drained soils – called Berks Shale – composed of fossil-filled sedimentary-rock.  The Stone Cellar label comprises “select” grapes of the varietal.  For this Grüner, the selection is from the winery’s oldest vines.

    The Stone Cellar Grüner is complex and round.  We tasted white pepper, hints of peach/apricot, and Marisa perceived a celery note.  Acid is light and balanced.  It is crisp wine that could pair with nearly any food – particularly some spring asparagus - and a perfect wine for spring.  This was liked by nearly everyone, and we are pleased to soon have it on our by-the-glass list at Jet!


    Ravines Wine Cellars Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, New York

    Ravines Winery and vineyards are found in New York’s famous-for-wine Finger Lakes.  Ravines has a 17 acre parcel of land on the eastern slopes of the small-ish, y-shaped, Keuka Lake, and also receives grapes from other vineyard areas – including the rather-famous Argetsinger vineyards on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake.  The main Ravines parcel benefits from being sited at the widest part of Keuka Lake, whose temperature-moderating effects helps extend the growing season.  Soils are mineral-rich and sloped, and 2, nearby, namesake ravines serve as cold-air sinks in the (freezing) winters.  Ravines’ slow-ripening vineyards in sloped soils of shale and calcareous stones provide classic Riesling conditions.

    The Ravines Dry Riesling is… fantastic.  The winemaking team says the 2013 vintage was grown and harvested under excellent conditions for the grape.  This wine has many of the same flavors and notes as the Galen Grüner, along with the crisp, fine acidity for which good Riesling is known.  The mineral soils are also apparent in the finished product.  This was a very-well received wine though, following the Grüner, its acidity proved a bit too sharp for a few of our tasters.


    Cave Springs Cellars Pinot Noir, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada

    Canadian wine!  Cave Springs Winery, located in southern Ontario, is the northernmost winery in our tasting.  It is found on the southern end of Lake Superior on the Niagara Escarpment. The slopes beneath the escarpment cliffs are well drained, and composed of limestone, clay, sandstone, and shale. The Great Lake provides temperature moderation in the cold climate, and springs stemming from caves at the base of the escarpment provide underground nourishment for the vines during drier weather.

    This wine provided an excellent introduction to Canadian wine, which - outside of Ice Wine - was almost completely unknown to our tasters.  Bob – an avid Pinot Noir fan – waxed poetic about the light, perfect, pinot color of the wine.  It has great earthy and woodsy undertones, white pepper, and a dose of almost-candied fruit.  It is lighter bodied with excellent acid – very typical of pinot noir from cooler climes.  It is a very nice wine.


    Millbrook Vineyards & Winery Cabernet Franc, Hudson River Valley, New York

    Millbrook is situated in the midst of New York’s Hudson River Valley.  The north-south oriented Hudson River provides the temperature moderation needed for the cold-climate, which is further provided by the placement of vineyards on southwest facing slopes with well-drained, gravelly soils. Millbrook was the first vineyard in the Hudson River Region dedicated to growing vinifera grapes, and cold-tolerant Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc grow well in appropriately-situated vineyard-sites.

    This wine is a blend of 75% Cabernet Franc, with 20% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.  It drinks like a nice, classic, Cabernet Franc, with notes of raspberry, cherry, and chalk.  The Merlot gives its typical smooth, round tannins and hint of plum.  This is a well-balanced wine, with herbal notes and acid to balance the fruit.  Another well-like wine!


    Penns Woods Winery Chambourcin, Pennsylvania

    Penns Woods Winery, in the Brandywine Valley of southeastern Pennsylvania, is the southernmost winery in our tasting.  At the winery, they have 30 acres of vineyards on rolling hills of shale and clay, essential for good drainage and warming southern-exposures that give them a relatively long growing season with moderate temperatures.  The Chambourcin grape is a French-American hybrid that has found a niche in the States, particularly in the mid-Atlantic States.  The grape is resistant to fungal rot and is thus prized in humid regions.   

    We, at Jet Wine Bar, are pretty familiar with Penns Woods Winery.  We’ve carried several of their wines and we’ve even taken a field trip to their tasting room.  But, this wine still blew us away.  This is a fuller-bodied wine, with a nose of chocolate and blackberry, plus more chocolate, blackberry, raspberry, and bramble in the mouth – which is nice juicy.  The full-flavors, balanced acid, and great mouth feel make this a very nice drinker that was thoroughly enjoyed by our tasters. 


    We did have a clear “winner” on the night as the Penns Woods Chambourcin was easily the favorite, followed by the Galen Glen Gruner Veltliner.  So, I guess it was a win for PA wines, too!  Of course, our tasters were the real winners. This was an excellent tasting of 5, very high-quality wines.  Many of these wineries – and regions – were new to the class and were well received by them.  If you missed the tasting, why not take a road trip or two?

    Jill & Phill - Arcadia London Porter & Cottrell's Perry's Revenge Ale

    It’s a beer chat!  Listen as Jill & Phill talk about the Arcadia London Porter from Battle Creek, MI - the home of Kellogg’s - and Cottrell’s Perry’s Revenge Ale from Pawcatuck, CT.  Yes, there is laughter.

    Jill & Phill - Soave & Sangiovese

    Jill has a cold but still manages to confuse Hamlet & MacBeth AND sniff the Soave.  Lots of laughs with Phill, plus two great wines.

    Phill & Jill - Beers! from Rex 1516

    Jill and Phill chat about 2 great beers:  21st Amendment’s Back in Black & Weyerbacher’s Blithering Idiot.  Listen here, find out which one is Phill’s favorite beer of 2014, and then try them at Rex 1516.  

    Jill & Phill - South Italy Imports

    Jill & Phill have guests on the Brilliant Wine Sketch!  and they brought 2, fantastic, inexpensive wines:  Pecorino and Barbera d’Asti.  Find out how they tasted, and all about the South Italy Imports company.

    Phill & Jill - Brilliant Balvenie Sketch

    Jill & Phill chat with David Laird of Balvenie!  Jill coins a new term and we all learn about Scotch…

    Bonarda Reserva, Nieto Senetiner, Argentina

    Grape: 100% Bonarda.  What is Bonarda?  Well, it used to be the most widely-planted red varietal in Argentina, but now is second to Malbec.  It is late-maturing, and can produce young and fresh wines, or deeper, more concentrated wines - depending, in part, on vine age.  Its exact origins are controversial, to say the least.  I have yet to find an explanation of that contentiousness nearly as fun as the cartoon boards (pictured) from this post at Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews.

    Wine:  The Bonarda Reserva is made from 40 year old vines from Lujan du Cuyo in Mendoza.  Farming and wine-making both follow sustainable principles, minimizing intervention. The wine is a mouth-filler, with heavier notes of fig, tobacco, walnut, coffee, leather, chocolate, & dark cherry.  It drinks easily, but has staying power.  Great with- or without- food.  Try it with aged Gouda, cured meats, or our soft polenta.

    Fun Fact:  Not only does great wine come from Lujan de Cuyo, but famed tango singer, Oscar Serpa, also originates from the ciudad. 

    Listen: learn more here

    King Estate Pinot Gris 2011, Oregon

    Grape:  100%Pinot Gris from the Willamette Valley

    Wine:  Fermentation in stainless steel, and aged on the lees for 5 months. The wine has a ton of flavor: melons, green apple, grapefruit, tomatillo, pineapple.  It has plenty of acid, feels lush in the mouth, and finishes long.

    Fun Fact: King Estate has embraced sustainable practices across all aspects of production, and “maintain an organic eco-system”.  They practice Biodynamic farming, and also support a raptor program to aid natural pest control.

    Listen: Learn more here

    Map by John Tallis, 1851 Nuraghe

    Tasting Re-Cap:  Exotic Grapes of Italy

         We continued our Global Vineyard Passport Series of tastings last night with “Exotic Grapes of Italy”.  That is, we tasted wines made from unusual- uncommon- and generally unknown- grapes.  The word “exotic” is a little misleading as applied to these grapes, as the word implies non-native varietals.  While some of the grapes were introduced from elsewhere in years BC, they may now be considered “indigenous” varietals. 

         This particular tasting is part of a series of 3 classes in which we will focus on lesser-known varietals from different countries.  We started with Italy as that country has many hundreds of known grape varietals, and probably many more yet recognized.  This stems from its long history of trade and wine production that helped introduce a large number of varietals from all over Europe and Asia from Phoenician, Greek, Etruscan, Roman, Venetian, and Genoan colonies, colonists, and merchants.  A lot of these ancient imports remain in cultivation as many Italian winemakers have championed the preservation of venerable varietals, in some cases with the support of the Italian government.  A case in point is wine producer Mastroberardino  who was given government consent and encouragement to re-cultivate Pompeii with its ancient varietals.

         There are so many unusual grapes in Italy that we limited our tasting to Southern Italy and Sardegna.


    Name That Grape!

    Grape: Verdeca

         Verdeca has long been grown in Apulia, where it may have originated and in which it is one of the grapes that comprises several of its DOC – Denominazione di Origine Controllata, including Gravina DOC, Locorotondo DOC, Martina Franca DOC, Ostuni DOC and San Severo DOC.  Its origin is not without dispute, however;  it may have come from the Balkan peninsula – possibly Greece or Croatia.  Verdeca produces wines with crisp flavors, a bit of acidity, and floral aromatics.  

     Wine: Messapia Verdeca Bianco Salento IGT 2011 

         100% Verdeca, fermented and aged in stainless steel.  The wine is produced by Leone de Castris Winery, whose origins date to 1665 and which produced the first Italian rose to be bottled and sold in Italy, in 1943. 

         The wine drinks very clean and fresh as, apparently, typifies the varietal.  It has some citrusy notes with lemon and tangerine, and also a bit of brine.  It is lighter bodied, but has a fairly full mouth.  The wine seemed most similar to Verdicchio or Grillo, and Paul likened it to a Cotes du Rhone.  This is a light and easy drinker that was enjoyed by all tasters.  It was the favorite white of the evening of Taylor and Rex, who wanted to drink it with lobster. 


    Grape: Mantonico

         Mantonico (Bianco) is indigenous to Calabria, and comprises several of the region’s IGT and DOC.  Mantonico has a long history of cultivation in the region, and its first, known mention is believed to date to 1601 in a work of  the Italian writer Girolamo Marafioti.  DNA analysis suggests that Mantonico bianco might be a parent varietal of another Calabrian native, the red grape Gaglioppo.  It is said to have some characteristics of Garganega (predominantly found in Soave).  Given remaining questions about its taxonomic identification, it is unclear whether it is native to Calabria, or of other Mediterranean origin.  

    Wine: Librandi Efeso Mantonico Val di Neto IGT 2010 

         100% Mantonico fermented in stainless steel and barrique, aged one year in new French Barriques.  The Librandi estate was founded in 1952 in Calabria, where it is committed to reviving the region’s indigenous varietals.  They named this wine “Efeso” after the ancient city of Ephesus, located on the West coast of modern Turkey 

         This is a fuller-bodied wine with a ton of character.  It is nicely balanced with acid, stone-fruits, and mineral.  I was immediately taken by the “spiciness” of this wine, Bob and Rex thought “White Burgundy”, and Marisa and Evan found buttery vanilla notes.  we most agreed with Bill when he said, “There is nothing timid about it”.  This was the clear white favorite of Kim, Elaine (whose birthday it was!), Paul, Marissa, Mike, and Milton.


    Grape: Nuragas

         Nuragus (di Caligari) is the most widely-planted white grape on Sardegna.  It is known for its high-yield and strong acidity.  The grape has long been grown on the island but, as with many other grapes in this tasting, it is unclear whether it is native, or whether it was introduced by the Phoenicians, who had colonies on the island by the middle of the 1st millennium BC.  “Nuragus” takes its name from mortar-less stone-towers (Nuraghe) that can be found throughout Sardegna and which date to the 2nd-1st millennia BC.      

    Wine: S’elegas Nuragus di Cagliari DOC 2011 

         100% Nuragus, grown at 200 meters above sea level in Trexenta.  Grapes are gently pressed, fermentation in stainless steel.  This is produced by Argiolas, whose family has a keen interest in promoting Sardegnan biodioversity by protecting and preserving native varietals – including Nuragus, Caricagiola, Monica, and Bovaleddu, among others.

         This is quite an aromatic wine, with flowers, citrus, and also some earthy “funk” on the nose.  It is fuller-bodied, has ample acid, and feels intense and concentrated in the mouth.  This really has tons of character.  The aromatics and citrus resemble a Traminer from Alto Adige or, less so, a Greek Malagouzia.  Bob and I were absolutely smitten with this wine.  It was also the favorite of Rachel and Evan.  t was not enjoyed by all, however, as its strong character inspired rather divergent opinions.  In the middle were Kim, who “wouldn’t throw it away”, and Mike for whom it took two tries to realize that it was ok.


    Grape: Magliocco

                There is very little written about this grape (but see here).  It seems to be grown exclusively in Calabria and is often confused with Calabria’s other main, red grape – Gaglioppo.  Like the other grapes tasted, it may well be native to Calabria – but could have been imported by more merchants.  It produces wines with good tannin and acidity, spice, and dark fruits.

    Wine: Magno Megonio Val di Neto Rosso IGT 2010 

         100%  Magliocco, stainless fermentation, aged 16 months in French barriques.  This is produced by Librandi, who have been working with the grape (and other local varietals) for years.  The “Magno Megonio” name refers to a Roman centurion (commander of a typical 100-man unit, or century, in the Roman army) who owned a portion of Librandi’s current estate.  

                On opening, this wine has soft, round tannins with light acidity.  Taylor and Joe were instant fans of the nose – on which I smelled green pepper and graphite, Evan has caramel-y butter, and Marisa noticed pepper.  The wine evolved in the glass a bit, becoming spicier and more acidic even in the 10 minutes in the glass.  However, I tasted this wine again on the second day and it had really evolved.  There was much more acidity present, and the fruit really came forward.  It was a different wine with extended breathing, and one that was more complex, longer-finished, and better balanced.  At the time of the tasting, this was the overall favorite wine for Kim, and it was Rex’s favorite red.  Upon re-taste, I absolutely loved it.


    Grape: Nero di Troia/Uva di Troia

         Uva di Troia, or Nero di Troia, is yet another grape in this tasting with a very long history in southern Italy, but of unclear origin.  It may have been brought from Asia Minor, by the Greeks, or it may have originated in Troia (thus the name) – a commune in Puglia originally founded by Diomedes, of Trojan War fame.  Of course, Diomedes and Troia being Greek, both could be true (more here).  The grape yields dry wines with low acidity and higher alcohol.

    Wine: Botromagno Nero di Troia Murgia Rosso IGP 2010 

         100% Uva di Troia.  Hand-harvested grapes are fermented and aged (20 months) in Stainless Steel, 6 months in bottle before release. Botromagno is a merger between a private winery and a local cooperative, located in Gravina in Puglia.

         This wine is very tannic, but soft, with quite a lot of cherry flavor.  I likened it to a Sangiovese – mainly due to the tannin and cherry - but its softness is more in keeping with a Primitivo (which Botromagno also produces), as Bob suggested. This wine felt very “casual” to our tasters, and it seems that everyone wanted food with it; there were suggestions for dried meats, fatty/buttery items (always Evan’s suggestion!), and cheese steak.   Any of these would have been nice with the wine.  This was Joe’s and Mike’s favorite wine, and the preferred red of Taylor, Paul, and Milton.


     Be sure to join us for our next tasting on October 22nd, where we will learn about obscure grapes of France!

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