Territoriet My Favorite Wine Bar in Oslo

Territoriet is my favorite wine bar in Oslo. Today, on the 3rd of December, they celebrate their one year birthday. Yet, I hardly remember Oslo without this place. I’ve already said that Pjoltergeist is my second home, so I guess Territoriet has to be my third shelter. I am most at peace when I can sit in their petrol colored couches with a good glass of Mosel Riesling in my hand. Those couches are usually taken, because Territoriet has become extremely popular in a very short time. Thus, some people will probably dislike that I promote the best kept secret among wine lovers in Oslo further, but they deserve all the attention they can get.

Territoriet wine bar OsloI love Territoriet because of their huge selection of wine by the glass, the high quality of wines they offer and the skilled sommeliers behind the counter. Most of all I love Territoriet because of the unique ambiance in the venue, which must be a combination of great lighting, excellent taste in interiors and superior people! The general manager Magnus Nørsett has a special place in my heart too. He offers you a beer the moment you enter, always makes sure your glass is full and will even remember your preferences if you become a regular. Magnus together with Karin are responsible for the daily operations, but there’s actually six owners. They all live in the area and it’s important for them to keep Territoriet local. That’s why they serve Schous beer and coffee from Tim Wendelboe. The wines are not local, though…

Every day Magnus risks his life in the ladder, and he invites guest sommeliers to do the same
Every day Magnus risks his life in the ladder, and he invites guest sommeliers to do the same
The ambiance...
The ambiance…

Did I forget to mention the vinyl? I also love Territoriet because they only play vinyl. “Vinyl is an organic material,” Magnus explains. “We wanted our music to be organic and not Spotify or mp3”. Being a collector of records myself, I know how much hassle it can be to constantly flip the B-side or change disc. I have incredible respect that they actually bother to do that so many hours every day, with a busy bar of impatients guests waiting for their next glass. It’s a bonus that most music they play is just to my liking. Territoriet is truly the place for wine and music lovers!

The musical box
The musical box
Wine and vinyl...
Wine and vinyl…
 I always thought this photo was of Kate Moss, but apparently her name is Malin Elisabeth Kvande and the photo is taken by Trine Hisdal
I always thought this photo was of Kate Moss, but apparently her name is Malin Elisabeth Kvande and the photo is taken by Trine Hisdal
Check out this vintage portable record player! Kaizers Orchestra is perfect on vinyl.
Check out this vintage portable record player! Kaizers Orchestra is perfect on vinyl.

Finally, I love Territoriet because of the regulars who hang out here. Wine importers, wine producers, chefs, waiters, sommeliers or just wine lovers. I am looking forward to meet them all again tonight as we celebrate Territoriets one year birthday.

Just one of the regulars chilling...
Just one of the regulars chilling…
You don't want to get in trouble with these wine gangsters. Better drink up your wine and smile when you pay.
You don’t want to get in trouble with these wine gangsters. Better drink up your wine and smile when you pay.

One year has passed, but so much has happened inside the doors of Territoriet. I have a few stories I wanna tell about this place.

The one about Coravin…

Can you believe that Territoriet is the second biggest wine bar in the world when it comes to number of wines served by the glass? Yes, in the world! They offer 310 of their 350 wines by the glass. Only beaten by the London wine bar 67 Pall Mall which has more than 500 bottles in their cellar. Coravin is the invention which allows Territoriet to hold this position. Invented by the American surgeon Greg Lambrecht all the way back in 1998, this genius device allows you to pour wine without taking the cork out of the bottle. It does so by inserting a medical grade needle through the cork, which replaces the wine with harmless Argon gas. Oxygen is never let in, and the wine can be put back on the shelf or in your cellar until you want to drink some more.

Coravin 2nd edition for the American market
Coravin 2nd edition for the American market

Apparently, the story of how it was invented is that Greg wanted to be able to drink wine while his wife was pregnant. Without leaving half the bottle to be ruined. The first official product was launched on the market as late as 2013, and a second edition only for the American market was introduced recently. However, Territoriet has managed to get hold of one of each. In Oslo you can actually buy the original Coravin for home use at Howard! The price is NOK 3499,-. A small price to pay for a product that allows you to taste more wines through the years, and increases your life quality. Expensive wines are no longer resevered for Russian oligarchs.

Magnus demonstrates how you pour Coravin with style (and a liquorice pipe)
Magnus demonstrates how you pour Coravin with style (and a liquorice pipe)

I attended a Coravin event at Territoriet and we learned a few advices when using it. Especially if you run a wine bar or restaurant it is not smart to use Coravin for the entire bottle, since each access has a cost in terms of a capsule of Argon gas. You can serve the first 2-3 glasses using the Coravin, and then just pull the cork out for the last glasses once they’re sold. A fun fact: The most expensive wine by the glass at Territoriet costs NOK 1500,-. The 40 wines that are not offered by the glass are either bottles with screw caps or sparkling wines. Rumors has it Coravin is working on a product to handle those challenges too…

Tasting the difference between one accessed and one untouched bottle of the same wine is not an easy task.
Tasting the difference between one accessed and one untouched bottle of the same wine is not an easy task.

The one about Gin & Tonic…

Territoriet is not only about wine. Gin & Tonic is another passion. Currently they offer 18 different types of G&T. Each drink is named after a specific person, which is a friend of the house in some way. I don’t know all of them, but I believe some are the owners. Atli from Pjoltergeist has his own drink at least, with Icelandic söl seaweed! The sommelier Liora Levi has given her name to a pretty pink one, and wine maniac Rune Rake is also featured on the menu. I guess I am not a proper regular customer and friend of the house until I have my very own G&T some day!

Ingredients for the gin & tonics
Ingredients for the gin & tonics
The current selection of 18 different Gin & Tonics
The current selection of 18 different Gin & Tonics

Territoriet wine bar Oslo

The one about GREAT FOOD…

At Territoriet they know that good wine sometimes need delicious food on the side. The ham and cheese platters they serve are legendary! Maybe the best in town. You can usually get a good toast as well, with seasonal ingredients. In the truffle season you will find truffle toast on the menu! If you are really lucky you might come by when Elisabeth or Karin has brought homemade baked goods, or Magnus is making fresh waffles. On the 17th of May this year he was even doing some crazy liquid nitrogen ice cream in the backyard!

Have some ham & cheese...
Have some ham & cheese…
One of the mouth watering toasts you can order...
One of the mouth watering toasts you can order…
...served with seasonal ingredients. Sometimes you even get truffle...!
…served with seasonal ingredients. Sometimes you even get truffle…!
Waffle time!
Waffle time!
The copper Hario Buono Drip Kettle and V60. The same gear as I have at home, and the only color for Territoriet obviously.
The copper Hario Buono Drip Kettle and V60. The same gear as I have at home, and the only color for Territoriet obviously.
Classic Norwegian waffle with brown cheese, sour cream and jam
Classic Norwegian waffle with brown cheese, sour cream and jam
You can also just munch on a liquorice pipe like Ronny demonstrates with style here.
You can also just munch on a liquorice pipe like Ronny demonstrates with style here.

The one about birds…

There used to be a pheasant at Territoriet called Frank. He was the mascot and the motivation of the sommeliers. Now he is kidnapped. The adventure started when someone stole the wooden duck from the wine bar Don Pippo in Bergen, and brought him to Oslo. Revenge came quick and relentless – Frank was abducted shortly thereafter. His Instagram account was hacked as well (yes, Fasanen Frank is online). At first, some proper terrorist looking guys held him hostage. Then Frank traveled the world. His current whereabouts are unknown. Now, to further confuse matters, another Instagram account has emerged. Pippotoriet follows the journey of yet another duck. I am not sure which one, to be honest. Apparently, to reduce the longing for a stuffed bird Territoriet also kidnapped the one at St. Lars. The circle is complete… or just broken.

Frank the pheasant in his happy days of freedom
Frank the pheasant in his happy days of freedom
Save Frank - dead or alive
Save Frank – dead or alive
The Don Pippo duck...
The Don Pippo duck…

The one about A DOCTOR…

There are special events at Territoriet almost every week. If a famous winemaker is in town, he is almost obliged to visit this tiny wine bar in the far southern end of Grünerløkka. I’ve missed quite a few of them, but I did get a chance to meet and talk with one of the biggest names in the Riesling world; Dr. Ernie Loosen! Being a Riesling lover I am of course very familiar with Dr. Loosen’s wines. However, I still consider myself a rookie in the world of wines. Describing flavors and aromas is not my biggest strength. “I know when I taste a good wine, and I know when I taste a wine I don’t like,” I told Ernie. The doctor agreed that this was the most important question he asked himself too: “Do I like it, or not?” Wine doesn’t necessarily need to be more complicated than that.

Dr. Ernie Loosen in the ladder!
Dr. Ernie Loosen in the ladder!
The grand old dad of Mosel Riesling
The grand old dad of Mosel Riesling

The ONE about BAR DANCING…

Another event I attended was the launch of Simon Zimmermann’s red wine in cooperation with Barone Ricasoli. Simon works as head sommelier at one Michelin star restaurant Ylajali (which closes its doors in 2015). This year he won the Norwegian sommelier championship, and one of the rewards he got was to make his own wine. What an achievement that must be for a sommelier! The 600 magnum bottles are sold only in Norway. 400 of them are already in the hands of restaurants, and the remaining 200 can be ordered from the wine monopoly here. I had the pleasure of tasting his wine this evening, as well as a 1927 Barone Ricasoli… The biggest surprise, however, was Simon’s dancing skills. I will let the video speak for itself.

Simon Zimmermann Territoriet wine bar Oslo

The "Simon Zimmermann" Barone Ricasoli
The “Simon Zimmermann” Barone Ricasoli
Simon Zimmermann playing around in the ladder, just hours before he performed the legendary dance.
Simon Zimmermann playing around in the ladder, just hours before he performed the legendary dance.
I got a taste from this 1927 Brolio Riserva from Barone Ricasoli. The oldest wine I have drunk.
I got a taste from this 1927 Brolio Riserva from Barone Ricasoli. The oldest wine I have drunk.

The one about Champagne & High Heels…

I love wine. I love Champagne too. But I know someone who are even more crazy about these pleasures of life than myself. Meet the Champagne and High Heels girls… Astrid and Linn are currently doing their WSET diplomas level 4. Don’t worry, I didn’t know what WSET meant either. It is the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. The class they are following is something similar to a sommelier education, as far as I have understood. The CHH are regulars at Territoriet whenever they are in Oslo (they live in Brussels). You should definitely follow their Instagram, as well as Linn’s wine blog – Vinstudinen. Check especially this post about nature wine.

Champagne and high heels at Territoriet this summer
Champagne and high heels at Territoriet this summer
Selected wines swimming in the Bollinger Champagne cooler
Selected wines swimming in the Bollinger Champagne cooler
The legendary words of Madame Lily Bollinger, one of the grande dames of French champagne. "Unless I'm thirsty" is the final sentence.
The legendary words of Madame Lily Bollinger, one of the grande dames of French champagne. “Unless I’m thirsty” is the final sentence.

The one about the 1 year anniversary…

We arrived quite late around 22.00 I believe. I’ve seen Territoriet packed with people, but I’ve never seen it this packed before. It seemed like half the population of Grünerløkka had decided to join the celebration. Everywhere we turned there was someone we knew. For a second we almost lost focus on getting a glass of Champagne. Karin saved us eventually. Cheers!

99 luftballons
99 luftballons

We drank Champagne. Then we drank more Champagne. The sales representative from Bollinger climbed the ladder, inhaled helium and yelled happy birthday with a Mickey Mouse voice. We drank Bollinger of course! Magnus, Karin and Elisabeth all inhaled helium in turns. They woke up the next morning with a major helium hangover no doubt. We had some more Champagne, until Tølløv and Alexander Pflüger came in the door and popped a bottle of Pflüger’s white wine. It was a great night. I didn’t remember to take too many pictures. Probably a good thing.

The roof was flooded with helium balloons!
The roof was flooded with helium balloons!
Ditte, AK & Hedda getting some fresh air inbetween Champagne and helium
Ditte, AK & Hedda getting some fresh air inbetween Champagne and helium

Where do you drink your Champagne? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Lagre

Anders Husa

I am Anders Husa – a foodie living in Oslo. I eat at the best restaurants in Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm and the major food destinations in the world. I share my foodie stories here.

9 comments

Submit a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *