The New York Times travel section ran a decent enough article on Pittsburgh's best local food restaurants on Sunday, highlighting a quartet that emphasizes "what's fresh and what's local."
Did any of this take into account whether any of the restaurants served Pennsylvania wine? Of course not. I'm trying to contact Kathryn Matthews, who wrote the article, to ask her why she didn't include Pennsylvania wine in an article about Pennsylvania food, and if I can reach her, I'll update this post.
But this lack of respect for local wine is not surprising. Those of us who care about local wine, despite the successes we've had over the past several years, still run into too much of this closed-minded approach to what's local. Critics, chefs and restaurateurs bend over backwards to praise and to find locally-raised tomatoes and pigs, but wine? Too many of them can't be bothered. More, after the jump:
One of the handicaps that regional wine has faced over the past several years is that it has not been embraced by the regional food movement. Locavore has become a key term in the foodie and chef vocabulary, but locapour (with several notable exceptions) has been missing from the discussion. And, when local wine advocates like Todd Kliman point out this discrepancy, they take a lot of abuse.
Which is why I was so glad to hear Kent Rathbun — yes, that Kent Rathbun — plug local wine during our chat at the State Fair of Texas yesterday. Local wine, he said, is a part of the local food movement, just like local tomatoes and local cheese. It's not local wine and local food; it's local, and it's all part of the same process.
His advice? Consumers need to try local wine with the same enthusiasm that they try other local products. The quality is good, he said, and getting better. And you know what you're missing until you try it.