Fleurie, Tavola newly awarded by Wine Spectator and other local restaurant news

“Walking through a wine cellar used to mean walking by a bunch of bottles, but now it is sort of like walking through a group of friends,” says Erin Scala of Fleurie, which received a 2016 Wine Spectator Award. ”I try to honor all [winemakers’] efforts and tell the story behind the bottle as best I can.” Photo: Eze Amos “Walking through a wine cellar used to mean walking by a bunch of bottles, but now it is sort of like walking through a group of friends,” says Erin Scala of Fleurie, which received a 2016 Wine Spectator Award. ”I try to honor all [winemakers’] efforts and tell the story behind the bottle as best I can.” Photo: Eze Amos

There are those who love wine and then there are those who live for it. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of two live-for-it wine directors, Tavola and Fleurie have earned an Award of Excellence and a Best Award of Excellence, respectively, for the first time from Wine Spectator magazine.

“I’d love for Fleurie to, in time, become a wine destination restaurant and awards like this certainly help spread the word,” says Erin Scala, the sommelier at Fleurie and Petit Pois (as well as a contributing writer for C-VILLE Weekly) for the past two years.

“The magazine seeks out the best wine lists from [applicants] around the globe by comparing each restaurant and winery’s food, presentation of list, diversity, size of selection and level of commitment to providing a solid wine experience,” says Gillian Sciaretta, Wine Spectator’s director of restaurant awards program.

The list of 3,595 wine selections includes 2,414 in the Award of Excellence category (including The Downtown Grille), 1,093 in the Best Award of Excellence category and just 88 in the Grand Award category. All 50 states and nearly 70 other countries and territories were represented in this year’s list.

At Tavola, wine director Wells Blanchard says he has “a fondness for rare and obscure grape varietals” and is able to combine quality and affordability in wines with these features. He inherited a list that had most of the famous Italian regions represented, as well as some California and French, then tailored it to make half the wines Italian, categorized by light, medium and full-bodied to aid in customer selection.

“Being honored with an award as a family-owned restaurant with a list of only 95 wines —well, it makes me proud,” says Blanchard. “It’s also nice because everyone looking for a Spectator-rated restaurant now knows that Tavola has a list that they can get into.”

Sciaretta found that Scala’s attention to detail is exactly why Fleurie made the list. The Fleurie wine list, which boasts more than 350 varieties, has great “vertical depth of producers, a superior presentation and a unique breadth across regions,” says Sciaretta.

But for Scala, it’s more than just an award. “Awards are always great,” she says, “but really the most important thing is that people have a nice wine experience when they come to dine at the restaurant.”

Beef—it’s what’s for dinner

In case you couldn’t get enough of Timbercreek Market at breakfast, lunch and snack time, it’s added dinner to its menu.

Beginning July 21, every Thursday through Saturday, Executive Chef Allie Redshaw will be easing the “what’s for dinner?” stress with a farm-to-fork menu that’s a smidge fancier than Timbercreek’s lunch menu, featuring beef tartare, stuffed pork loin and watermelon and beet salad.

Based on the success of its farm dinner and private events, Timbercreek decided it was time to take the plunge and join the supper scene. Make reservations at info@timbercreekmarket.com.

Expansion practice

Every so often Charlottesville boasts a beautiful, sunny day where the mere thought of sitting inside seems like a crime.

This, Orzo Kitchen & Wine Bar owner Charles Roumeliotes says, is the reason the restaurant decided to add a patio. In December, when Orzo expanded into The Frenchman’s Corner next door, it gained a third more space and access to the outside.

“It just made sense to add a patio because of that,” Roumeliotes says of the area that officially opened last week. “We were definitely at a disadvantage compared to other restaurants with outdoor seating in those shoulder months where it’s 70 degrees and people are looking for places where they can be outside.”

The design was completed in collaboration with resident artist Laura Wooten, and added eight tables—enough seating for 25 people.

Tasty tidbits

Global grounds…Perhaps because UVA is always encouraging students to study abroad, the place that keeps those students awake on Grounds is too. Greenberry’s, a local, small-batch coffeeshop, is set to open its first location in Japan this fall. Pour me another…The Georgia peach may be a classic but right now it’s all about the Shenandoah Peach, from the Virginia Distillery Company. The drink is the first full-sized cocktail to be served at the whiskey company’s visitors center since the passage of a recent Virginia law allowing for a three-ounce serving per person, per day.