A Guide to Wine at Tofino Wines
Other than a late night at the Lucky Penny or an emergency food run to Trader Joe’s the northwest corner of Geary and Masonic is not much more than a thoroughfare from one part of the city to another for most San Franciscans. It has held even less interest for visitors, who usually don’t go grocery shopping or to diners when they’re out of town. But now there is a very good reason for anyone and everyone to spend some time in this trafficked intersection: Tofino Wines.
Opened in April, partners, Mark Nevin and April Sack, carved the space out of a nearly 100-year-old building that has housed a Yamaha Motorcycle dealership, moving and storage company. It is quite spacious, with enough room for tables, a bar and a separate retail area and 500 wine selections from all over the globe.
Both Nevin and Sack are wine industry veterans who worked corporate jobs but they’ve selected primarily small producers with a penchant towards minimalist winemaking. Many of California’s most exciting up and coming producers such as Lo-Fi are well represented with wines such as the 2014 Cinsault that retails for $38. All of the bottles can be opened on premise for a $10 corkage fee.
Twenty-five wines are available by the glass and several can be ordered in a 375 ml or 500 ml carafe. If you want something off the beaten path you might find the Thurnhof Lagrein, “Merlau” ($13), a spicy, floral and fruity red from Alto Adige, or Guimaro Godello Joven ($13), a mineral driven white wine with citrus accents from Galicia. However, if you just want a glass of Chardonnay, they’re serving up Lioco’s 2013 Sonoma County ($14 - gl, $26 – 375 ml, $34 - 500 ml), which will appeal to both hardcore California Chardonnay drinkers and international palates.
Several beers and ciders are available and the limited snack menu is not to be overlooked. The Smoked Trout Paté ($11) and Whole Burrata ($16) are worth a trip, even without wine.
While San Francisco has a number of good wine bars and shops, Tofino is a most welcome addition as it not only provides excellent on- and off-sale wine experiences but also is drawing attention to a somewhat overlooked part of our city. To both, we say salut!
2696 Geary Blvd.