Friday, December 14, 2007
Terroir - natural wine bar
Last night a co-worker and friend who is also in the retail wine business went with me to a terrific new wine bar named Terroir. The place looks great - worn poured concrete floors, single bottle facings displayed on wooden shelves, several well-spaced wooden tables, and a small temperature controlled cellar adjacent to the bar where the vast majority of bottles are stored. There are a dozen wines served by the glass or 1/2 carafe, and about 150 bottles in the store that you can purchase and open with a $12 corkage fee.
The selection is small in terms of number of bottles, but offers many interesting choices, all of which are either organically or biodynamically cultivated. Not surprisingly, the selection currently focuses on French regions such as the Loire, Rhone, Languedoc-Roussillon and Burgundy. Guillaume, who buys the wine for Terroir, was saying that he will be bringing in lots of Beaujolais soon as well. Italy is a distant second in terms of representation, with producers like Roagna, Gulfi, Radikon (for which they are currently featuring several wines from different vintages) and Paolo Bea on the shelves. Not much in the way of Spanish, German, Austrian and domestic wines for now. But given the breadth of terrific selections from France, there is no lack of choices. We ended up starting with one of the few German or Austrian wines on the shelf, an '05 George Breuer Riesling Charme. It was tasty as always, with delicious, ripe '05 fruit and the typical Breuer creaminess on the mid palate. Good, basic riesling trocken from this producer, though it will be much better in 3-5 years. Our next wine was the 2006 Tue-Bouef Cheverny Rouge, which I was told consists of Gamay, Grolleau and Pineau d'aunis (though I am not convinced, I am now reading elsewhere that the wine is Pinot Noir and Gamay?) This wine was a blast. Some gamay earth on the nose, and bright, red berry fruit on the palate. Anyone who wants to taste what all the excitement is about with regards to French country wines should just try the Tue-Bouef Cheverny Rouge. If you don't get it after that, then I don't know what to tell you.
I really want Terroir to succeed. Their selection shows a commitment to quality wine, and to educating customers on the merits of naturally made wines. If you live in the SF area, or plan on visiting, check out Terroir. It's on Folsom between 8th and 9th streets.