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.