Madame Claude in Wall Street Journal
Uncorking the City
Wine City, N.J.
When a town or a neighborhood experiences a “renaissance,” it usually happens in a series of waves: first come the artists, then the developers and finally the restaurants and shops. Eventually, someone will open a wine store. In fact, the presence of a shop with a good selection of bottles may be the best indication of an area’s full blossoming.
The renaissance of Jersey City has been well documented; its growth as a wine city is less widely known. After a few visits, I’m happy to report that a Jersey City wine renaissance appears to be well under way.
Of course, a wine renaissance can occur only where there is already an appreciation of good food, and there are two particularly successful pairings in Jersey City right now: Madame Claude Café and Madame Claude Wine and, a few doors down on Jersey Avenue, Thirty Acres restaurant and Jersey Wine & Spirits.
Madame Claude’s proprietors are Mattias Gustafsson and Alice Troietto, a husband and wife team. The couple has owned their small bistro for years, and recently decided to open a wine shop as well. The landlord of the wine shop wanted Mr. Gustafsson to open a restaurant in the location, but Mr. Gustafsson wanted to open a wine shop instead. He liked the bistro’s Fourth Street location, though it’s a 10-minute or so walk from his wine store.
Mr. Gustafsson grew up in Paris “in the Seventh,” and his cultural heritage is readily apparent—from the selection of the wines (mostly French) to the writing on the store shelves (prices are written in chalk, a common practice in France). There are wines from other places as well, though Provence, Ms. Troietto’s home, gets especially big play. One highlighted producer, Domaine de Terrebrune, is from Ms. Troietto’s home town. Red, white and rosé versions are all offered. I purchased the red 2007 Chateau Terrebrune ($37). A “lovely wine with soft tannins,” said Mr. Gustafsson. (He was right.)
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Write to Lettie Teague at [email protected]
A version of this article appeared October 5, 2012, on page A16 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Wine City, N.J..
Photo courtesy of Bryan Thomas for The Wall Street Journal