Take Me to Terroir

I’ve found the wine bar to take my next hip investment banker boyfriend to when I want a bottle of expensive wine on a Thursday night: Terroir.  I scouted out this East Village alcove last saturday, and give it mixed reviews unless you’re willing to drop some dough.

My lack of rich boyfriend notwithstanding, let’s start from the beginning: What the hell is terroir anyway?  According to Google it’s “a group of vineyards (or even vines) from the same region, belonging to a specific appellation, and sharing the same type of soil, weather conditions, grapes and wine making savoir-faire, which contribute to give its specific personality to the wine.”  An easier way to think of terroir–it’s the affect of soil conditions on your wine–i.e. why all Napa wines should have some similar characteristics. (Like how Southern Miss America contestants have that God awful Dolly Parton hair.)

Walking in, The hipster East Village vibe was everywhere–but in a good way (read: the opposite of the L train at Bedford Avenue).  Recessed lighting casts a dim glow through modern bamboo shelving, which conveniently double as coat/purse storage areas.

The indie rock vibe permeates everything from the locale’s motto (“The Elitist wine bar for everyone”) to the soundtrack, to the menu (A bright organge vinyl, 3-ring binder covered in tape and magic marker).  Overall, this vibe was great–the place is totally unpretentious, though the menu was certainly intimidating.

I expected something much smaller from the binder, but it included almost thirty pages of wines, most of which were expensive bottles (topping out at $2100 for a bottle of Hermitage la Chapelle, Jabulet 1978). The sheer amount of wine available was the intimidating part, since most pages also included a huge description of the variety at the top of the page, practical and often hilarious–Justin Timberlake was a contributor.

I brought a critical friend along for this ride, and the first thing we noticed after squeezing through the door was that we couldn’t communicate without shouting.  Not sure if it was the blaring rock music, or happily tipsy tourists seated across from us, but the evening started out in silence.

The lack of conversation didn’t take away from the food/bev combo at Terroir. Since we missed happy hour (DAMN), my friend and I sampled some of the more frugal fare Terroir offers.

I grabbed a glass of Côte du Rhône, Château Cheylus, 2009 ($8), which was yummy and full bodied, with woody notes in the nose and mouth.

Even better than my wine choice (surprisingly) was the sandwich–Fontina and prosciutto melted together on a rustic baguette with beer pickles that added an awesome tartness ($12).

If I had a real job the chance I’d be back a Terroir tonight–I loved the vibe and menu, but it’s just not the most wallet-friendly wine bar.

(Cue rich investment banker sweeping me off my feet….and carrying me to Terroir.)

Terroir Uncorked

Hours:Mon-Sat 5 pm-2 am (food til 1am)

Sun 5 pm-midnight

Laura Loves: Happy Hour–who can argue w/ $6 pours and FREE sherry?? (Not this girl.)

The staff was also excellent–attentive and knowledgable.

Beware: A single communal table dominates seating except for a dozen barstools, so this spot is no good for big groupsseating could take awhile, or just be unmanageable on a busy night.

Fun Facts:  Terroir has 3 locations and owns Hearth restaurant as well.

Chef/owner Marco Canora also released “Salt to Taste,” a cookbook that strives to develope kitchen confidence in readers.


  • January 9, 2012
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