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.
The 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.
The 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.
This 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.