Alexandra Cherniavsky, the savvy sommelier who helped The Love earn a major national accolade, decants Pennsylvania’s best bottles for fall. The Love knows its wines. So much so that Wine Enthusiast recently named the Rittenhouse boite and celebrated collaboration by Aimee Olexy and Stephen Starr one of its best wine restaurants for 2019. This distinction puts The Love’s beverage manager, Alexandra Cherniavsky, an advanced sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Pennsylvania Wines Ambassador, in the spotlight when it comes to selecting interesting bottles.
“I spend so much time talking about how much and why I love Pennsylvania wines—my own passion—that I can speak on behalf of all these great local wineries,” says Cherniavsky of her ambassadorship. She says that what defines Pennsylvania wines mirrors what diners love about local foods. “Corn, tomatoes, the great meats and the extent of Pennsylvania’s farming history—people know that. What people don’t know is how great the grapes we grow are.” That’s because of the wealth of microclimates in the state. There is no one defining taste—think Oregon and pinot noir—but Pennsylvania is recognized for Lehigh Valley’s rieslings and Chester County’s riper styles of wine such as merlot.
Cherniavsky is bringing in a handful of special bottles in September. She has yet to see what Olexy is cooking up for fall—“the food menu is so up-to-the-moment,” she says—but the wine list will include a juicy 2016 Nebbiolo from Christiana that’s not as heavy or tannic as similar varietals. “This wine will play well with fall spices such as nutmeg and clove, and vegetables such as squash and pumpkin,” she says. Another exceptional wine to sample is a 2016 Carmine from Wayvine Winery in Nottingham that boasts a deep merlot-meets cabernet profile. “It’s rich and super friendly, and plays well with many flavors.” Cherniavsky’s appreciation for regional wines comes into even sharper focus for Pennsylvania Wine Month in October, when the statewide celebration ushers in special dinners and tasting events with restaurants and wineries from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. Who says the Keystone State only has great beer? 130 S. 18th St., 215.433.1555, theloverestaurant.com