4578 Gibsonia Road
The saying "In vino veritas" may come from Latin, but there's no one I veritas more with my vino than the Italians. And for those seeking good wine and Italian culture, La Casa Narcisi in Gibsonia is a veritable oasis.
It's part winery, part café and part outdoor entertainment venue. Owned and operated by the Narcisis, a fourth-generation family of winemakers (and Pittsburgh natives), La Casa Narcisi produces more than 30 wines. The selection ranges from dry reds and whites to specialty wines like peach and blueberry. You can try up to five at a complimentary tasting. My favorites were the fruity sangria, and the Seyval Blanc, a tropically-flavored dry white that had a sweet and crisp finish.
You can take it home or drink it there. There's a bar area in the tasting room where you can have a glass or buy a bottle; the La Vité Ristorante, with indoor and outdoor patio seating; and a pavilion and grounds where you can take your own picnic or take-out from the restaurant.
We ate on the patio of La Vité, enjoying the views, the jazz band, and the horse and carriage that was traveling around the grounds. A menu of Italian fare complements the wine -- with appetizers, such as a cheese, meat and fruit tapas plate, and full entrees (gorgonzola filet mignon). From a long list of brick-oven pizzas and flatbreads, we opted for traditional cheese pizza, which was topped with a gooey blend of parmesan and mozzarella. We rounded this out with a chicken Caesar salad. The crisp romaine lettuce was mixed with a creamy dressing that had hints of garlic and anchovies. And we ate the bowl! It was made of parmesan cheese.
But the restaurant is just an option: Other visitors had brought picnic baskets to sit at the covered outdoor pavilion, or on the pet-friendly grassy field with picnic tables. An outdoor stage offers free entertainment, ranging from jazz and bluegrass to salsa and Italian classics.
The atmosphere at La Casa Narcisi is one of its best assets, from the rows of grape vines that greet visitors pulling in and the winery's red tile roof and arches, to the views of the lush forests, hills and trout stream that surround it. We're just thankful that the Narcisis decided to share the scenery, and the wine, with us.