Secret Wine Club – The Loire Valley

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Last Saturday, Colleen and I hosted another Secret Wine Club with our awesome friends. The theme this time was the Loire Valley. We featured wines from all corners of this swath of land, which runs along the Loire River, just South-East of Paris. This region produces primarily Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Melon de Bourgogne, and Cabernet Franc. The wines can be light and acidic with ample minerality or dark and brooding with weedy, earthy, red fruit undertones. I was on wine duty and Colleen was on food duty. We were quite excited to shop for the party.

Colleen and I like to do a mix of traditional and unconventional food pairings. We find that we are able to demonstrate “What grows together goes together” as well as “Look at everything you can do with California’s bounty” this way. Below you will find the wine list along with the foods we paired.

2010 Domaine de la Louvetrie Muscadet Sevre et Maine sur lie
Melon de Bourgogne from Muscadet
Manila clams sautéed in white wine, shallots, and butter with parsley.

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2012 Thirot-Fournier Sancerre
Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre
Herbed mixed green salad

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Le Pepie rosé Loire Vin de Pays
Rosé of Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley
Sweet peppers stuffed with fresh goat cheese & herbs

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2012 Henry Marionnet Touraine
Gamay from Touraine
Sausage, watercress and gruyere flatbread

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2011 Tessier “Le Point du Jour” Cheverney Rouge
Gamay/Pinot Noir blend from Cheverney
Mushroom, onion & gruyere puff pastry tarts

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2011 Bernard Baudry “Les Grezeaux” Chinon
Cabernet Franc from Chinon
Bonne Bouche and Terra aged goat cheeses with Acme Bakery Herb Slab crostini

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2004 Jerome Lenoir Chinon
Cabernet Franc from Chinon
Home-made pork terrine with Acme Bakery Herb Slab crostini

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2009 Francois Chidaine Vouvray Petillant Naturel
Petillant-Naturel of Chenin Blanc from Vouvray
Apple cake with whipped creme fraiche

All of the pairings were an absolute hit. I especially loved the goat cheese & herb stuffed peppers with the rosé and also the clams and Muscadet, a classic pairing. The favorite wine of the evening was the Gamay from Touraine. The favorite snacks were the pork terrine (aka “Pork Butter”) and the puff pastry tarts with mushrooms, onions & cheese. I found it especially interesting to try a fresh Chinon next to one with some age. We also learned that Shelley does NOT like brett on her wine (“It smells like a corpse!”) and that sparkling Vouvray with a little age is quite delicious. Regardless, everything was great, and the best part of it all is that none of these wines cost more than $25 retail. They can be enjoyed any night of the week.

Do you have a favorite Loire Valley wine? Let us know in the comments.

Coming Soon: Purchasing Wine from Winelandia.com!

Dear Readers,

It’s been about 7 months since we launched our blog with the intent of bringing you closer to the wines you consume as well as helping you discover the joy of food & wine pairing, mixology, cookery, and baking. It’s been a great experience for us since the beginning, considering we have to learn everything we write about. It’s been a joy to watch our reader base grow, and it’s been our honor to have your attention every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

One of the longer-term goals of this project was the intent of launching a retail feature on the website, so you can buy wines curated by us and have them delivered to the doorstep of your home or office. We love natural wines, made in small batches, hand-crafted by real people. Moreover, we love to share these wines with others, exposing great producers to people who might not be able to find them otherwise. The whole idea of Winelandia was born after several friends who came to our educational tasting parties began asking us how they could buy these wines from us. All we could do was point them in the direction of the shop we bought them at, or tell them “Sorry, this one is from my cellar”.

The process involved in obtaining the appropriate licenses to buy and sell alcohol in the state of California is long, complicated, confusing, and at times, very frustrating. I am pretty sure the process is designed to be this way to weed out the riff-raff. Thankfully, we are not Riff-Raff, and the great state of California has approved and issued our license which allows us to buy and sell wine.

We are excited to announce that we are launching a wine subscription service to a very small pilot group of users in the state of California. The initial subscription is quarterly shipments of half-cases of wine. That’s 2 bottles a month, or 2 cases a year. The goal is to keep the price reasonable, around $25 per bottle on average. All of the featured wines will come with tasting notes, food pairing suggestions, and a recipe or two. We have some kinks to work out and need to test out some ideas on you guys, so if you are interested in joining the pilot program, please let me know by emailing me at tala@winelandia.com. We can only accommodate a small number of people, so be sure to let me know ASAP. Our goal is to have the first shipment out in time for Thanksgiving. If you are unable to get into the pilot group, we will have a wait-list up so you can be notified when we have room for more members.

The incentive for you to join our pilot program is not only the honor of being able to tell your friends you were one of the first people to use Winelandia, but you will also receive first dibs on any extremely small-production or cult wines that we may not be able to secure enough of to offer as part of the subscription, before we offer them for sale on the website. I am a collector at heart and will take every opportunity to secure a case or two of really special wines for you guys.

These are very exciting times for us, considering I have dreamed of owning a business since I was a little kid. Life is short; pursue your dreams, do things that are hard, and amaze yourself every time you accomplish something new. I’ll leave you with this photo of Colleen, being very excited, surrounded by food and wine. Basically, this is what we look like any time we are together. We hope that you will join us in this new chapter!

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How to Store an Open Bottle of Wine

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe have all been there before – you have a nice (or not so nice) bottle of wine, and you want a glass. Just a glass! (Ok, maybe two). You don’t have anybody to share it with, and you don’t want to get incredibly crunk on a weeknight because you have to work/exercise/be productive tomorrow. Believe me, I know how you feel. The good news is you can still have a glass, and if you decide to have another one tomorrow, it just might be better than the first!

The truth is, a lot of wines will be fine – if not better – the following day. This mostly applies to red wine, but can also apply to white. You see, wine begins to oxidize quickly after the bottle is opened and the contents are exposed to air. The rate at which it oxidizes will vary from bottle to bottle. This depends largely on how well the wine is made, the amount of Sulphur Dioxide (a chemical preservative used in most wine and many foods) added before bottling, and various other nebulous & hard to quantify factors. It’s hard to guess which wines will be just fine for several days vs. one that will be terrible the next day, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much and just get to opening your wine.

A general rule of thumb is that red wines take longer to oxidize than whites. The tannins in a red wine act as a natural anti-oxidant, so they are sturdier than whites. I’ve opened red wines and left them out for up to 5 days and gone back to them, only to find that I liked them better than when I originally opened the bottle. You could do the same with a white wine, and it will lose it’s freshness and vibrancy much more quickly than a red. Still, you can leave a white open for 2 days and have it still be totally drinkable.

Here’s what you do: If you open a bottle of red, replace the cork ASAP and leave it in a cool, dark spot until you are ready to finish it. I recommend drinking it the next day or two days later, but if it’s a sturdy wine it could be fine (or improve!) for as many as 4. If you are not planning on drinking it the next day, put it in the fridge. This keeps it fresher, longer. Just take it out a couple of hours before you want to drink it. If you open a bottle of white wine, replace the cork ASAP and stick it right back into the fridge. Leave it there for up to 2 days. Whatever you don’t drink, use to cook with. I wouldn’t cook with a wine that had been open for longer than a week or two. As they say, don’t cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink.

There are various products on the market that claim to help extend the length of time you can leave your bottle open, and we will go over those (and their effectiveness) here.

1. Vacuum-pump stoppers, like this one. Notice that the “Sauvignon Blanc” in the photo is brown, which is the color yours will turn if you use this product. The claim is that the vacuum pump thingy “removes” the oxygen from the bottle, creating a vacuum. The problem with this is there is no such thing as a true vacuum here on earth. While I am sure it removes some of the oxygen/air, it doesn’t remove enough to prevent the wine from going south. When my husband and I first started dating, he bought me one of these because he knew I loved wine. I used it often, and much to my dismay, it didn’t seem to do much preserving. I’m sure whatever “preservation” I noticed was psychosomatic, and I probably told him it worked great because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. The only good thing about this product is the stoppers it comes with, which I still use to this day as replacement corks for half-consumed bottles of wine. They are fairly air-tight. If you get one of these as a gift, throw out the vacuum thing and keep the stoppers.

2. Cans of “inert” gasses, such as this one. These resemble “cans of air” that you use for dusting, however the contents are much more specific. Generally, they contain a blend of gasses – argon, CO2 and nitrogen. Winemakers often keep tanks of pure argon around to “top off” their barrels with when they are doing barrel samples (this is done to remove the O2 in the headspace in the barrel). Argon is inert; it won’t absorb into the wine, it’s flavorless, and it’s heavier than air. This is perfect for wine-making and wine-preserving because you can just spray it onto the surface of the wine. Since it’s heavier than air, it will protect the wine from oxidation indefinitely as long as the argon doesn’t leak out due to a faulty closure. The thing that confuses me about most commercial “wine-saver” is that it contains CO2, which is NOT inert, and DOES get absorbed into the wine. I only assume they blend the argon with CO2 and nitrogen because they are cheaper to produce and work just fine for short periods of time. Anyhow, if you can find wine-saver that is pure argon, that’s your best bet. It works great, and for around $8 a can, it’s worth trying.

3. Coravin wine preservation system. While I have never used this product, it was received with much fanfare as it entered the commercial market several months ago. It’s a pretty expensive device (around $300) that uses a needle of sorts to puncture an in-place wine bottle cork, and remove a glass of wine while replacing the liquid removed with argon gas. Basically, you can pour wine from a bottle without taking the cork out or exposing the contents to air. Unfortunately, the system and replacement cartridges are so expensive, it only makes sense to buy one of these if you a) use hundred dollar bills in place of toilet paper or b) own a wine shop/bar/restaurant which pours extremely expensive wines by the glass. Apparently there have been trials where trained Sommeliers couldn’t tell the wine had been “open” for several months. Get one of these if you are rich, I wish I could justify buying one.

My point is, don’t hesitate to open a bottle of wine if you don’t intend on finishing it in one go. It will probably be fine for a day or longer, and it might just get better. Nice wines will definitely perform better than cheaply made ones, so keep that in mind when choosing which wines to leave out.

 

Wine Review: 2010 Fort Ross Vineyard Symposium

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Remember the Picture Cows? Remember the amazing views? Remember how I took the day off to have an adventure with Tala where we ate oysters and drank wine? I sure do. Here’s a reminder, just in case you forgot.

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This guy lives at the bottom of the road that leads to the breathtaking Fort Ross Vineyard tasting room, outside of Jenner. Perched high on a ridge within a stone’s throw of the Pacific Ocean, Fort Ross Vineyard’s tasting room has only been open for about a year, and it’s the only tasting room in the Fort Ross-Seaview AVA. It’s small, quiet, and well-appointed, with a great back deck that overlooks the ocean and the forest that this here Picture Cow lives in.

All their wine is from estate grown fruit, and you know by know that both Tala and I love Sonoma Coast wines, especially Pinot Noirs. When we visited, we took home a bottle of the 2010 Symposium, a Pinot Noir with 4% of Pinotage blended in. This wine had the classic new world Pinot nose – cola, some cherry, some earth, a touch of oak, and smells like velvet, if that’s even possible. Smelling this wine makes your mouth water – it makes you eager to drink it.

Upon drinking, I liked it more than Tala did for sure. I thought it was bright and delicious, with more of that earthy/mushroomy characteristic, and a medium/heavy body. I’m guessing some of that weight comes from the Pinotage. It also has some spiciness to it, which was unexpected. It’s a beautiful ruby color, but this photo doesn’t capture that it’s also kind of brick-colored – reminiscent of the color of an older wine. The finish is a tad bitter, which I actually quite enjoy in wine. Overall, I liked it quite well, but if I bought another bottle, I’d keep it in storage for a couple of years. I think that the oak, tannin, and spice will integrate more in 2-3 years, and this wine will come  out all the better for it.

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If you’d like to pay a visit to Fort Ross Vineyard, their tasting room is open 7 days a week from 10am-5pm. It’s about a 2 hour drive from San Francisco, and as you read with us earlier, it’s a great opportunity to make a full day of adventure.

Seasonal Foods: Pink Pearl Apple

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI will never forget the look of shock on my step-father’s face the first time he saw the flesh of a pink pearl apple I was eating while we were out on a hike. They are bizarre, for sure, these rosy-fleshed treats. What’s more surprising to me is not just the color, but the great flavor of the Pink Pearl apple. They are tart, sweet and crisp – the perfect fruit.

I never knew these existed until this year when I saw them on display at Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco. Surely they couldn’t taste as great as they looked, so I picked up a few to try out. I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious they were, and later came to find out that they are Colleen’s favorite apple (no surprise there, she loves weird things in nature).

According to Wikipedia, the Pink Pearl apple is a cultivar developed in 1944 by Albert Etter, a northern California breeder. It was the seedling of the “Surprise”, another red-fleshed apple. If you ever read or watched The Botany of Desire, you may remember Michael Pollan’s chapters on apples. He explains how the seedling produced from the seed of a tasty apple is never a genetic match and usually produces apples only suitable for making hooch. Apples are weird like that, so Mr. Etter must have been pretty stoked when his seedling started producing these amazing apples.

Most heirloom varieties of apples have been wiped out and replaced with commercial apples such as Fuji, Pink Lady, McIntosh, Red Delicious, and the likes. We are fortunate to have so many heirloom apple varieties here in California, and I take full advantage. The apple season is reaching full swing with the onset of Fall, so I highly recommend going to your local farmer’s market and picking up some of these beauties before they are gone.

Day Trip: The Sonoma Coast

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEvery year around the beginning of September, it gets really warm here in the Bay Area and in some of the foggy, freezing, coastal towns nearby. Some call it the Indian Summer. I just call it Summer, as it’s all I’ve ever known. What we experience from June through the end of August is NOT summer, just ask any local. Anyhow, our summer finally came around, luring the fog back over the ocean, finally exposing our coastline to the late summer sun. Colleen and I took the opportunity to drive north and visit the extreme Sonoma Coast.

The California coast in the summer is a sight to behold. Highway 1 runs from North to South, offering expansive views of oceanside cliffs, sandy beaches, waterfalls, sycamore trees, pastures, azure waters, and blue skies for miles and miles. When I see the coast, it warms my heart and reminds me of why I pay a zillion dollars a month for rent to live in the Bay Area. I can drive an hour north or south and visit it anytime I want. I was practically raised on the beaches of Bodega Bay, my mom hauling us kids around with her as she explored the places that I still find myself drawn to today. These memories were the preface to our adventure.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe first stop on our route was Bodega Bay, a small coastal town that sits right on top of the San Andreas fault. This adorable little village offers many amenities to people passing through, including a market, taffy shop, several restaurants, an ice cream parlor and an adorable little wine shop called Gourmet au Bay. All we had to see was the Wine Tasting sign and we pulled right into their parking lot. Colleen and I weren’t sure what to expect, but we were gleefully optimistic about the prospect of wine tasting on this beautiful, sunny day.

Upon entering, we noticed rows of wines for sale, with a wine bar selling wines by the glass in the back. We took a closer look at the wines offered for retail sale and noticed some of our favorites. The selection here is mostly local wines, or at least wines from vineyards that are on the Sonoma Coast. The prices were reasonable, and if we were from out of town and looking for a special bottle to take home, this would be a good place to buy one.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter inspecting the retail offerings, we made our way to the back and spied the wines by the glass. We settled on splitting a glass of Vermentino, and it wasn’t until then that we realized Gourmet Au Bay had a patio on the water. We deployed our huge sunglasses and took our tasty wine outside to enjoy with a spectacular view of the namesake Bodega Bay.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGourmet au Bay is located at 913 Hwy 1 in Bodega Bay, CA 94923.

After taking in the view and slowly sipping on our glass of Vermentino, we packed up and journeyed north to check out some of the beautiful beaches Bodega Bay has to offer. When I was little, my mom took us to a tiny beach called Shell Beach for family adventures. I remember scrambling over the huge rocks, poking sea creatures in tidal pools with my finger (don’t try this at home), making sand-angels, and eating peanut butter sandwiches while watching the waves crash on the inhospitable shore (this is not a place you go swimming!). I thought it would be neat to show Colleen this beach and tell her stories about my family’s visits.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou can find Shell Beach by driving north of Bodega Bay for several miles, until you see the sign for Shell Beach. It’s farther north than most of the other beaches in the area, so keep driving even if you think you’ve passed it. This is a wonderful spot to stop at and enjoy your peanut butter sandwich, or just to take in the views. If you are lucky enough to be there during low tide, you can walk pretty far down the beach and see some of the less-traveled areas. I recommend always bringing layers, as even on this hot day the fog line was just over the highway, and the beach was pretty foggy and cold.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter spending a few minutes torturing Colleen with boring family stories about the beach, we got back into the car and continued north. Our mission was to find a cow suitable for photography for the blog, from here on out known as the Picture Cow (not to be confused with a Gift Horse). If you’ve ever driven around here, then you are familiar with the miles and miles of green pastures inhabited by happy California dairy cows. If there’s any one scene that embodies the Sonoma Coast perfectly, it’s a serene cow munching on grass, mooing gently into the breeze. Eventually, we found the Picture Cow near Fort Ross.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPleased with our Picture Cow findings, we continued north until we reached our only planned destination, the Fort Ross Vineyard. Having been pleased with their wines at the Family Winemakers tasting a few weeks ago, we thought we would visit their winery and taste through their offerings without the madness of the event. It’s one of the only winery tasting rooms open to the public on the Sonoma Coast, and they don’t require an appointment to enjoy a tasting. To find it, continue north past the town of Jenner (right past the mouth of the Russian River) and hang a right on Meyers Grade Road. Go up the hill, following the Winery signs, and you will see it on your right. Be sure to take in the views as you drive, as the highlight of this trip is not the destination, but the sights along the way.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe enjoyed our flights of wine on the lovely patio of the tasting room. This place is very fancy, not your typical rustic Sonoma tasting room. The wines are remarkably California in style, with their Chardonnay being rich, bold and buttery. We quite enjoyed all of the wines, but the 2010 Symposium Pinot Noir was our favorite. We picked up a bottle and will be posting a review here soon, so stay tuned for that.

After saying our goodbyes to the friendly folks at Fort Ross Vineyards, we turned south to meander back home, with at least one more destination in mind. If Colleen and I have any one thing in common, it’s our lust for oysters. Delicious, briny, fresh, succulent oysters, gently plucked from the beautiful Tomales bay. Little did Colleen know, I had a special bottle of wine in the cooler, waiting for this occasion. We made a bee-line back down to Hog Island Oyster Co. in Marshall, CA. To get there from Fort Ross, just drive south on Highway 1 until you reach it. You have to do a little jig to stay on the highway once you pass Bodega Bay and it makes a left turn for Petaluma, just keep an eye out for the signs to stay on Highway 1. Once you turn right to stay on the Highway and head towards Marshall, just continue south until you see the farm on the right.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn a normal day, you might not get as lucky as we did at the farm. The most cost-effective way to enjoy oysters here is at the Shuck-yer-Own picnic tables, which generally require a reservation made months in advance. Lucky for us, it was late in the day, and there was a vacant picnic table for us to shuck our own oysters at. You can also buy pre-shucked or BBQ oysters from the stand in the back, but you will pay a lot more that way. We decided on 3 dozen oysters total; 1 dozen Kumamoto (our fave), 1 dozen X-Small Sweetwaters, and 1 dozen Atlantic. If there is any duo on earth that can put away 3 dozen oysters, it’s the Ladies of Winelandia. We grabbed our oyster knives and got right to business.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShucking an oyster is a learned skill. It’s not as easy as those guys at the oyster bar make it look. I’ve shucked hundreds (if not thousands) of oysters, and I still struggle with it. My only advice is to never give up, and keep on shuckin’ until you become a master. I haven’t gotten there yet, but I will die trying. I love oysters so much, it won’t be a problem.

Wine and oysters are a match made in heaven, and there aren’t many white wines I wouldn’t pair with them. The only white wine I would avoid is anything with oak, as the woody or buttery flavor can clash with the fresh, briny oysters. I stashed a bottle of Robert Sinskey’s 2012 Pinot Gris in the cooler before we left, which on this hot day was closer to cellar temperature when we opened it. I wanted it to be ice cold, desperately, so we devised a technique we dubbed Ice Mountain to keep our wine cold. Worked like a charm. I encourage you to use our patented technology should you find yourself in a similar predicament.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Robert Sinskey 2012 Pinot Gris was perfect with these oysters. It’s rich, full-bodied, bright, pure, fruity, and refreshing. If Robert Sinskey does anything right, it’s white wine. They are some of my favorite from California, and they are one of the few producers to make a 100% dry Muscat, which is absolutely insane. If we are lucky, we might offer some Sinskey white wines on Winelandia.com once we start our retail operation.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was getting late in the day, and we needed to start heading back home. We decided to take the scenic route, meandering through Nicasio Valley and stopping at the reservoir to enjoy the last bit of sunshine before landing back in reality. The sun was getting low and casting a lovely golden hue on everything surrounding us. It’s days like this that remind me of why I started Winelandia. I want to share these experiences with people who weren’t lucky enough to be immersed in it their whole life, showing them the hidden gems along the way, and how to find ways to make the experience even richer. The landscape of California and the fruits of the vineyards, farmland and pastures have inspired me for decades. I am grateful to share these experiences with our readers.

If you want to replicate our adventure, feel free to reach out to me directly (tala@winelandia.com) and I will send you a map with all of the side-missions and destinations. I certainly hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Urban Parklet Picnic: Sherry on 11th St.

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Recently, it came to my attention that I might be a fan of sherry. After all, I love oxidative white wines from the Jura, and especially Champagne made in a slightly oxidative style. I was given a bottle of Manzanilla sherry, presumably because the giver thought I am an old lady. He was right. The first thing I did was call up my Old Lady Partner in Crime (OLPIC), Colleen. We decided that this bottle of sherry needed to be enjoyed at 3PM on a Thursday, at a parklet on a busy street because, why not?

Sherry is an incredibly inexpensive Spanish wine made in a solera and under flor. Because of the process, sherry takes on a very distinctive, oxidized, nutty aroma, which can be an acquired taste. The type of sherry we had, Manzanilla, is typically a lighter, fresher style of Sherry than it’s cousins. The color was light straw, the aroma strong and enticing. The flavors were saline, nutty, and mouth-filling, with an incredibly long finish. The acidity was crisp and refreshing, a nice balance to the unique flavor. As this sherry opened up, it became even more delicious and complex, and Colleen and I were both big fans.

We paired this wine with a hard Spanish cheese, peppadew peppers stuffed with chèvre, castelvetrano olives, and a few hunks of Tartine bread. Sherry is one of the few wines that pairs well with both very salty or pickled foods, and I was very pleased with the outcome of our pairing. We snarfed up that whole block of cheese lickety-split.

If you are a big fan of weird wine that doesn’t break the bank, go pick up a bottle of Sherry from Ruby Wine in Potrero Hill (which is where mine was from), or your friendly neighborhood wine shop. You will be very pleased with the price, and you can go then spend all the money you saved on some fancy hard Spanish cheese, and some Jamón Ibérico de bellota (pata negra only, please). Whatever you end up doing, be sure to enjoy it slowly, as the sherry we had really evolved with some air.

Wine Bar Review: Terroir Natural Wine Merchant

Tucked away in the hustle and bustle of Folsom street in SOMA lies Terroir, an unassuming wine bar with very little signage out front. You would probably walk right past it if you were looking for it specifically, and you might not know about it at all if you weren’t some sort of wine geek or fell upon it accidentally. Needless to say, it’s worth stepping into if you find yourself on the block with some time on your hands.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe first thing you’ll notice walking into this place is the downright hip ambiance. Everything is so unintentionally stylish, with a distinct, playful Soma-in-Paris feel to it. It’s a mix of old-timey and modern with it’s steel stools, loft seating, dark grey bar, wooden accents and record player. I love to come here with a friend and chill out upstairs on a comfortable chair with a carafe of wine and a cheese plate. There’s something about the atmosphere here that begs you to slow down and stay a while.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe wines served and sold here have a similar old-yet-new feel to them. One of the things I’ve heard repeated here time and time again is, “This is a real wine.” Terroir is very true to it’s name, serving only wines of terroir. Nothing added, nothing taken away. All of the wines here are either organic, biodynamic or just plain vin naturel. Chances are, you will not recognize a single wine on the menu. On a good day, I might be familiar with two. Don’t let the list intimidate you. Instead, tell the bartender what sort of wine you enjoy and they will help you find one to your liking.

Terroir seems to specialize in white wines with acid, texture and mineral as well as red wines that are taught, lean, juicy and rustic. This is the sort of place you can find Jura by the glass or perhaps a Cheverney rouge. Not only do they have an impressive by-the-glass selection, but they also have tons of wines for retail sale by the bottle. No, there isn’t a list, although if you see a wine out on the wall, they may have it for sale. Yes, they do sell high end Burgundies. Just tell the bartender what you are looking for.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a great place for all sorts of people, from major wine geeks looking for the next mind-blowing $25 bottle to wine newbies looking for a romantic spot to go on a first, second, or third date. They open pretty early for a wine bar (2PM most days) which makes it a superb spot for people like myself with nowhere to be in the middle of the day. In the evening, it’s a very vibrant place with lots of locals of all ages stopping in for a glass or bottle. Whatever your persuasion may be, this is definitely a place to go out of your way to check out. You might even see me there, sitting at the bar, alone, enjoying a half-glass of Jura, and harassing the staff.