Jan-Marc Cellars is the epitome of an urban winery, producing a 1,000 cases from a two-car garage in residential North Portland. Along with his wife, Barbara, Jan-Marc has recently opened Garagiste, which they describe as a pub and tasting room. It’s an attractive space—cozy and homely—focused on the bar, behind which sit tanks of wine where customers can refill their bottles to go, in the European tradition.
The wines are all by Jan-Marc, available by the glass or bottle, and range from a delicate Gerwürztraminer, via Pinot Noir, to heavy hitters such as Merlot and Zinfandel. At $7 a glass, the Riesling—delicate and dry—was the stand out, but there were other, unorthodox, options: the Campfire Syrah ($9), so named because the grapes were affected by forest fires, was smoky on the nose, with notes of sweet wood and vanilla bean amidst the fruit, though it was a bit light on the tannin and acid for a Syrah.
There’s a chalkboard menu of food—Jan-Marc spent much of his career as a chef and Barbara is an accomplished pastry chef—that offers more than the standard wine bar cheese and charcuterie, with seasonal dishes such as steelhead with tomato and fennel ($14), along with a choice of cakes ($8). I’m not sure you can judge a dish by how good it looks and how much fun is being had in the kitchen, but on that basis, it should be exceptional (I’ll be back to try it). There’s also beer, whiskey and a neat little patio, making for a (welcome) local hang-out rather than a spot for wine dweebs.
Garagiste, 1225 N Killingsworth, janmarcwinecellars.com