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.


Brooklynguy said...

Hi Joe - Sounds like a great place, not much out here in Brooklyn like it. The Cheverny is Gamay and Pinot Noir, in my understanding anyway. They other 06's have different blends - Rouillon is also Pinot and Gamay, and there's Guerrerie which is Malbec and Gamay. I'm sure Puzelats make a Pinot D'Aunis, but not sure what it's called this year. I think the plain old Cheverny is as good as it gets in wine for under $15 this year.

Where has your blog been all my life, by the way?!? Thanks for leaving a comment on mine, leading me over here.

Joe Manekin said...

Brooklyn guy,

It is a cool place. Definitely a gutsy business move to have such a focused selection, with a fairly high avg bottle cost for a retail shop. But I think where they will really focus their efforts is more on the wine bar side and less on the retail end, but we'll see. Either way it's a great spot.

Thanks for reading - just started this up fairly recently, in September of this year.

Anonymous said...

Terroir is so great, a haven for wine geeks working in the biz. Anyway, I hope they do well too--I was in there maybe a couple days before you and had a great night...write up here:

Anyway, great blog. Keep it coming.

Anonymous said...

The Tue-Boeuf Pineau d'Aunis bottling is called "La Tesniere," I believe. It's on the shelf at Terroir. Don't miss the Telquel...mmmmmm.

Joe Manekin said...

Wolfang -

Let's hope that more than wine geeks get hip to Terroir and support them.

Steve - I'll have to try the Tesniere next time. Telquel sounds good about now - well not right now as I've got a cold.