Wine and stories flow freely at Lawrenceville’s Arriba | Food | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Wine and stories flow freely at Lawrenceville’s Arriba

For newcomers, the best bet is a wine flight

click to enlarge Wine and stories flow freely at Lawrenceville’s Arriba
Photo courtesy of Rieder Photography
Engine House 25’s Malbec

Duane Rieder didn’t set out to sell wine. Though he had made wine for years as a hobby, Rieder kept busy working as a photographer and running The Clemente Museum, in Lawrenceville. He used the wine as a portfolio, putting his work on the labels as a way to stand out to potential clients. When recipients were asking to buy the wine as often as they asked for his photos, Rieder knew he was on to something.

In 2009, Rieder officially launched Engine House 25, a boutique winery in the basement of his museum honoring Roberto Clemente. (The building is a former firehouse.) He sources his grapes carefully, working with Consumer Fresh Produce in the Strip to import unique varieties from around the world. Though his sulfite-free wines are available only directly from the winery, they’ve attracted an impressive following. Celebrities like Eddie Vedder and Hines Ward have purchased them by the barrel, and proceeds help support the museum. 

This summer, Rieder added yet another line to his business card with the opening of Arriba, a wine bar located next to the museum. Open Thursday to Saturday from 5-9 p.m., Arriba offers guests a chance to try Engine House 25’s creations, which lean toward big, flavorful reds. Guests can sip a glass of wine or buy a bottle to go, but for newcomers the best bet is a flight. Select three of Rieder’s excellent wines (make sure the bright, peppery Malbec is among them) and pair them with a bountiful local cheese board from Wheel and Wedge.

Arriba is a hidden gem; slightly removed from the Butler Street bar scene, the building is easy to miss. It’s a refuge from the hubbub of Lawrenceville, a classy but relaxed place to snack, drink and get lost in conversation. Part wine cellar, part baseball museum, part convivial gathering space, the whole thing is worth seeking out. You’re not likely to find anything else like it.

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