Last night I met up with Annie P and her British Guy at my favorite after-work wine bar (other than my own office), Barrique. Annie P and I discovered this place last year (shortly after it opened), and I since been several times; it was also my destination for last year’s birthday celebration. In any case, it’s a small-ish, comfortable, casual wine bar on Pacific Street in the Jackson Square district of San Francisco. Filled with high tables, bar-seating and cushy booths, the ambiance is welcoming and bustling with FiDi dwellers that are aching for an after work glass of wine (the truffle popcorn is also a nice touch).
What makes Barrique unique (hey, that rhymes!) is that they produce their own wine and serve it out of directly out of the barrels that are mounted on the wall behind the bar. They have a wide selections of their own wines, including an off-dry Pinot Gris (Annie P had three glasses), a spicy Zinfandel (British Guy had two glasses), a fruitful Pinot Noir, and my favorite, a deliciously smooth Petite Syrah.
They also have a varied selection of other wines by the glass, mostly European since all the Barrique wine comes from California. Tom (the head sommeiller) suggested I try a 2010 Michel Gassier “Visan Cercius” Cotes du Rhone Villages that he had loyally been buying by the case at K&L for years. The wine is popping with fruit flavors of black raspberry and cherries, balanced with hint of pepper and lavender, with a round, elegant finish. I loved it! So much so, that I bought two bottles with my 30% industry discount.
We also ordered a cheese plate to go with out several glasses of wine. I insisted that my two friends try Cypress Grove Midnight Moon, since it is “literally the best cheese I have ever had” (actual words that I used), so we got two portions of that, some Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog, Nicasio Square, “Bandage” Cheddar, and one other one that is slipping my mind. The cheese plate was spot-on, so was the fig jam that came with it, and my friends loved the Midnight Moon, as I promised.
Suddenly a plate of truffle popcorn went by our table, wafting with fumes of savory truffles and peppercorn, so we had to order a bowl of that, too. Good decision, and something that I will definitely try to recreate.
So if you’re in the neighborhood – and you’re not already visiting JAQK Cellars – do stop by at Barrique for a flight of Tom’s selections, some Midnight Moon, and of course, the truffle popcorn.