It’s Fredag! That’s Friday in Danish if you didn’t know. And the sun is shining here in Copenhagen. Double bonus. Today deserves a toast. Don’t you think? In Danish, you say “Skål!” Cheers. Raise your glass. Oh – what’s that? You don’t have anything to toast with do you? Let me introduce you to some locals who can help rectify your precarious situation. Here in Copenhagen, you should definitely get to know them. Don’t live here? No problem, they’ll be ready and waiting for you when you come to Copenhagen. This shop is destination worthy.
Let me introduce you to best little wine shop in Copenhagen. This third installment of my Meet the Locals series brings us to Nordre Frihavnsgade, the main shopping street in the easterly Copenhagen neighborhood of Østerbro. It happens to be my neighborhood. How convenient! Here you will find a most unique and charming purveyor of wine and other spirits. This is Trøffelsvin. Say hej! Come inside. Take a look around. It’s cute in here. You’ll see. This is no average Danish wine shop. I think it the best little wine shop in Copenhagen.
Nordre Frihavnsgade 36
Trøffelsvin is the two year old love child of Katrine Ekman and her husband Allan Graven Nielsen. Directly translated, Trøffelsvin means truffle pig in Danish. A funny play on words. And you probably already figured it out, but VIN = WINE. This charming pair are motivated to “sniff out the good stuff” and share it with you.
Now if you live here or have been to Copenhagen, you know that there are many, many, many places to buy wine in Denmark. Seriously. On almost every corner. So what makes this Copenhagen wine shop different? Why should YOU come here? Three things.
FIRST: The wine.
A good starting point for a wine shop. A requisite really. Of course. At Trøffelsvin, Katrine and Allan aim to offer wines that you won’t find at other shops around town. And they are specifically motivated to find bottles that will inspire all of your senses. Not only should a wine taste good. It should feel good on your tongue. It should smell good. But it should also look good. And we’re not just talking about the color of the wine. Once here in the shop, you can sense the aesthetics immediately. All of the labels and bottles are gorgeous. Katrine likes that. She is a maker at heart and her own letterpressed cards litter the shop.
I was drawn into Trøffelsvin initially because they were advertising a Washington State wine from Walla Walla. That is near my from – so naturally, I stepped in. Upon further inspection, it is easy to see that they carry a wide variety of wines from the U.S.A. And yes, don’t worry – while I am here living in Europe – I promise you that I am learning and tasting and experiencing glasses outside my from. But I can’t help but admit that it is refreshing to see recognition of what you know is good. California chardonnays, Oregon pinots, Washington merlots. What? Super. Cool. They also have delicious French and Spanish and German wines. Don’t believe me? Let Allan convince you. I did not know that I could a love German riesling so. And the cava! Ummm. Cava.
I mean, lately. I’ve been really into Riesling.”
– spied on the wall at Trøffelsvin Wine Shop
Katrine Ekman & Allan Graven Nielsen
SECOND: The space.
Look – I get you. I know that it is convenient to buy your wine with your groceries at the grocery store. There is no problem doing that here in Denmark. But there is something about buying your wine in a delightful shop that enhances the experience. They don’t want you to drink more wine. They want you to drink the right wine. Life it too short and all that. Katrine’s creative sensibilities are clear and you can see her mark on the shop. Her stamped tags adorn bottles. Funny little notes inspire on the subway tiled walls. I am personally dying to see her letterpress, the products of which she sells in the shop. (But that isn’t here, alas.) Just one more of the reasons that I was drawn to learn more about this quaint space. She admits that she wanted the store to look less like a Danish wine shop and more like the places she found on her travels. Places she had loved in London, Berlin, NYC and San Fran. I can feel her Copenhagen from in the minimalist Danish design and the clean lines, lamps, colors and layout of the shop. But that is where it ends. It feels unique here. Special. Not your average Danish wine shop. It is a destination wine shop, worthy of the stop.
THIRD: The stories.
The people that inhabit that space help. For sure. Katrine and Allan are two passionate, well-traveled aficionados who enjoy good wine and want to share it with you. Ask, listen and feel. You can’t help but be enthused by their enthusiasm. Why they like this bottle. What makes this maker special. How this vintage is unique.
Katrine explained that she was let go from her long time career in publishing. With a little more time available, she and Allan embarked on a three month slow tour of the United States. This is the kind of trip everyone should take. A whole month for NYC alone in an AirBnb apartment followed by visits to Chicago and then the natural wonders of Utah and the Grand Canyon. More time followed in Portland, Oregon (is it any wonder why we clicked?) and then a month in an apartment in San Francisco. With requisite visits to Napa and Sonoma Valleys of course. Being able to experience a place with time is remarkable. Covetable really.
Obviously they tasted wine on this three month excursion. Good American wine. But American wine is not hugely popular here in Denmark. Shocking. I know. French wine and Italian wine and Spanish wine hold sway. Not without cause. Duh. Those places make super delicious wine. And I’m not trying to exert a bias. (Although I can if you want.) I will happily try your Bordeaux, Côtes du Rhône, Champagne, Chianti, Grechetto and other Umbrian offerings, or your Cavas and Temperanillos. But you can find that here in Denmark. Fairly easily. And many of the Danish wine shops here buy from the same distributors. You see similar stock from shop to shop.
Katrine and Allan started as importers, trying to bring some of those tastes they’d found on their travels back to Denmark. They started selling to restaurants and the like. It was rough going through a middle man – selling to those who would then have to sell it. Hard to tell the story in third person. Something was lost. The inspiration behind that specific bottle left before the sales slip. These were good stories. It motivated Katrine and Allan to sell directly to those who were going to enjoy it. Losing her job may have been the perfect impetus to go out on their own. One door closes and the next opens in a nutshell. The Østerbro space became available and two years later they are still telling stories. About wine.
And while Katrine has set the mood with this beautiful shop and can help you select the perfect wine for your dinner party, it is Allan who tells the stories. You can’t help but feel the passion. I was lucky enough to be responsible for procuring enough wine for my husband’s recent team dinner. Sushi for 12 at our home. Set the table, Allan will help pour. Or help you with what to pour. Actually Trøffelsvin does parties. They will set up wine tastings at your place or are happy to host at their shop. And with their passion and stories about each sip, I can imagine it the perfect experience. Allan helped me pick some perfect pairings for our Danish-Japanese evening.
And he educated me as well. Allan asked – who was coming? Danes? Or Americans? I smiled. Yes, that would be different wouldn’t it? Some of both and a few others. German, Mexican, Finnish as well. He thought Danes and Americans would go to different things for a sushi dinner. Bubbles or a riesling for the Danes. Oh. Really? I don’t especially love riesling. Why? Allan asked. Do you know German riesling? I thought so? Maybe you don’t. Try this one. This is a very special maker. And he proceeded to give me insights on the terroir of said grape, the wine makers style and how this was not the stereotype of sweet German rieslings. I trusted him. And for excellent reason. I am a new fan. Who knew. Trøffelsvin specializes in American, German and Spanish wines. But don’t limit them to that. The also carry craft brews, ports and some darn cool looking Scandi gins. Hello.
I can also promise you that you need to have no terror for knowing nothing of terroir. There is no snobbery here. You can come in knowing nothing except what you like. Allan and Katrine are happy to help send you home with something you will enjoy. Tell them what you prefer. They will not judge. Tell them what you are looking for. What you are serving? How many. Happy to help. Allan will tell you that even though he can suggest a certain wine for its acidity or sweetness or dry finish as the perfect compliment to whatever masterpiece you are serving, he will concede willingly that he still acknowledges “to each his own.” If you love a certain kind of wine. Go with that. There are no rules. How very un-Danish. (Wink. Wink.) He is happy to help with the kind you love or if you want to try something new. I guarantee that you will be happy to take his advice. And when you pour the wine for your friends, you just might be able to share a story about how, where and why it was made. Because Allan shared it with you. The people make a place. The stories make it connect.
Lovely wine. Lovely shop. Lovely people.
WANT TO VISIT?
Nordre Frihavnsgade 36
Open Tuesday 11-18
Take the 1A, 14 or 3A busses to Trianglen stop. Cross over to the 7-11 and keep walking. Maybe stop at Original Coffee, but then keep going. But I just passed a wine shop. Keep going. Past the toy shop where we buy Lego, the music shop where we procured our son’s guitar, past the grocery store, look quickly at the delicious pastries at Lagkagehuset and walk one more block. On your right is Trøffeslvin. Congrats. You sniffed it out! Let them sniff out the perfect bottle. Skål!
Planning a trip? Save it for later! Or feel free to share this post with all your local friends who need to come say hej to Katrine and Allan immediately. This post is tweetable, pinnable, sharable and loveable. Happy Fredag from Copenhagen! Cheers, Erin