Northbay's best wine outlets for value/selection?
Does anyone have a reccomendation for Northbay wine outlets on par with K&L on the peninsula? Aside from Cost Plus, Trader Joes and Costco? To be fair, I'm not just looking for a bargain, but also a good selection. I mourned the passing of Liquor Barn in the early 90's when living in the Southbay. I see the wine recommendations from the Chowhounds posts and from the Press Democrat, but something like a Uruguayan wine is not the easiest to find these days, nor a Montpelier Petit Syrah at $7 that is rated 4*'s in the Press Democrat. Celery's Gewurtz-Reisling from the Chowhounds dinner also intrigues me.
I could use some local Chow-wisdom!
Not sure of your precise location although your e-mail address tends to suggest Sonoma County. Try Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa, Marin Wine Cellar in San Rafael and Michael's in Corte Madera (if it is still there). Also, there is a Beverages & More in both San Rafael and Santa Rosa for more large production (mostly) choices. Good luck!!
If you're looking for imports, there's a very good shop in Sebastopol across the street from the front entrance of Whole Foods. It's called something like Sebastopol Wine Company, has a tasting bar and carries Kermit Lynch Selections and many other European wines. Not big, but well-selected, talk to John Kwitcor. Over in Calistoga, All Seasons has good selection of European wines.
Of the two Bev Mo's, San Rafael has the best selection of imports and in fact is the leader in the chain for sales in imported wines. The Santa Rosa shop has some too, but not as many high end. The good thing about hte Santa Rosa shop is that they often mismark items in the customer's favor. Keep a sharp eye out and you can save quite a bit. Also the stock here doesn't move as fast so you have a chance to find something a few months after release. Prices aren't great, but if you save the discount coupons and find mismarked stuff, you can do very well.
Andy, fwiw, the Uruguayan producers had a big presence (10-12 booths) at the recent world wine market in San Francisco. I think these were some of the most talked about wines of hte show. Very good quality - especially Cabernet Franc and Tannat alone or blended with each other, and some interesting Merlots, Syrahs, and Pinots - and prices are low. I think we'll be seeing more of them in this market soon.
I can't help with Northbay wine outlets - but can let you know where to get that Gewurz/Reisling blend that Melanie mentioned we had for dinner at Banana Garden the other nite. It's from Handley Cellars in Anderson Valley. They sell some of their wines at retailers but we always get ours directly from the winery - either via UPS or at the tasting room.
The wine that nite was a 2000 Brightlighter - $11/bottle. They also have a '99 Brightlighter but I can't find my brochures on what that blend was. It's a nice summertime picnic wine (and goes well with Singaporean food too).
I'll include their website link below. Good luck with your wine search!
They're not located in the North Bay (unless you're in San Jose), but I trek regularly to Weimax in Burlingame. This is a wonderful wine place with a great selection of wines not seen everywhere. They taste carefully, apparently, and I've always gotten good wines there.
The little tasting room in the back is worth a visit, too. Check their web site: www.weimax.com
That'll give you a feel for the place. I take advantage of their case discounts (mix or match) and putting a dozen bottles on the counter is easy.