by Corin Hirsch
For most of Trattoria Delia’s 20-year existence, its Italian-centric wine list has earned awards from the Wine Spectator. Yet would-be guests at the cozy Burlington spot may not always get to taste those wines, because the resto's popularity often means waiting for a table.
Tomorrow, Tratt owners Tom and Lori Delia will change that when they open Sotto Enoteca, a wine bar connected to the restaurant via a back hallway, and with an entrance a few feet north on Saint Paul Street.
"I've been working the concept in my mind for awhile," says Tom Delia. And when Mane Attraction vacated the space at 150 Saint Paul, he and Lori decided to lease it. "You have to challenge yourself and try new things."
Part wine bar and part overflow lounge, Sotto (“under” in Italian) will be open roughly in tandem with Trattoria's Tuesday through Sunday dinner hours, and will offer at least 17 Italian wines by the glass, including a Barolo and a Valpolicella Ripasso.
"We also wanted to represent some international varietals that are done well in Italy," says Delia, and so the glass list also includes some Italian-made Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as a Merlot-Cabernet blend. Guests who snag one of the 25 seats (six of them at the bar) can sip them alongside a handful of dishes from Trattoria’s menu. Those include the house-cured duck confit, snails with Sambuca, fried calamari and a selection of salumi and cheese plates.
Those who prefer other beverages can have their glass filled with beers such as Heady Topper, Fantôme Saison and brews from Hill Farmstead Brewery and Grassroots Brewing. And there's still more to drink: Manager Matthew Marrier has put togther a craft cocktail list that includes a re-creation of Ernest Hemingway's favorite daiquri (which the writer supposedly drank with grapefruit juice) and an "eggnog-esque" classic flip made with oatmeal stout, Amaro and a whole egg. It's called Breakfast In Bed.
"The whole concept is a place for our customers to wait, but also to be a kind of neighborhood wine bar, the place away from home where people can talk and grab a light bite," says Delia.
Welcome to the ’hood, Sotto.