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Best Wine Shop in nyc?

280 Ninth Jan 11, 2007 09:15 PM

NYC hounds,

Tell me your favorite place to buy wine. When I'm shopping, I'm looking for decent selections, a range of prices, and I've always found it valuable to interact with a staff knowledgeable about the inventory, and friendly enough to share their passion.

Where would you tell me to go (be nice, please....), and thanks!

  1. c
    Captain Jan 11, 2007 09:18 PM

    I like Sheery-Lehman. If you know what you want, order online and have it delivered. If you want advice, they give good recommendations, most of the time. While sometimes you need ot wait for someone to help you, it's good help when it comes.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Captain
      shane Jan 12, 2007 12:14 AM

      I've had to wait at least 10 minutes to be helped every time I've been there. And you can't just pick up a bottle and pay; you have to ask for help then let the assistant check you out. Like Captain suggested, check out their website first.

      1. re: shane
        c
        Captain Jan 12, 2007 12:26 PM

        Picking the time when you go, go when it's slow, helps. The required wait can be avoided, if you know what you want and go to the counter.

    2. f
      fauchon Jan 11, 2007 09:20 PM

      So many...here are a few...

      Garnet on Lex & 68th for incredible selection & great prices...

      Morrell in Rock Center...

      Acker, Merrill, Condit on 72nd bet Columbus & B'way

      Astor Place Wines & Liquor in the Village

      K & D on Madison North of 96th

      and, of course,

      Sherry Lehmann on Madison Avenue more or less opposite Barney's...

      All of these offer amazing selections & knowledgable help...happy shopping!

      1. d
        downtownstefanie Jan 11, 2007 09:23 PM

        I like Astor Wine for the size, price and variety. We've found the staff to be very knowlegeable & helpful too

        1. o
          obob96 Jan 11, 2007 09:23 PM

          Yes, so many. Beyond Astor, Garnet, and Sherry-Lehmann, I'd add
          K+D on Madison/96th, Nancy's on Columbus/77th, Mr Wright on Third/90th and Vino on 27th/Park-Lex.

          2 Replies
          1. re: obob96
            f
            fauchon Jan 11, 2007 09:26 PM

            Oh, yes...I'd forgotten Nancy's. I've had so many really good recs from them. Also on the West Side 68th Street Wine & Liquor at Columbus & 68th is very good...

            1. re: fauchon
              amyleechen Jan 11, 2007 10:33 PM

              Nancy's, definitely. They make wine very accessible.

          2. o
            obzhorkin Jan 11, 2007 09:24 PM

            Astor Wines:

            - Great space
            - Good selection (the best Sake selection I've ever seen, talk to KC, he is sake guru)
            - friendly people
            - interesting tastings and events
            - good prices (especially during sales)

            Chamber Street Wines:

            - Fantastic Selection of lesser known European Wines
            - Excellent tastings
            - Great staff

            Both of these stores are where wine enthusiasts want to work. Chamber Street is more quirky. But both stores emphasize educating consumers as well as selling great wine. Remember -- price is not everything. You may save a buck in Warehouse Wines on Broadway, but you will not make many great discoveries there.

            1. r
              romafan Jan 11, 2007 09:29 PM

              Moore Bros. on 20th St., across from the TR House. You will find none better when it comes to friendly knowledgable help, and wine stored @ the proper temperature.

              3 Replies
              1. re: romafan
                280 Ninth Jan 12, 2007 12:59 AM

                Thanks all you who've posted....I've been to Moore Bros. and have been just blown away by the value for the $$. Very helpful staff. Had a tres serendipitous encounter with a wineseller at Lucien's Restaurant on First Ave./First St., and he was raving about Park Ave. Liquors. Anyone try it?

                1. re: 280 Ninth
                  e
                  ESNY Jan 12, 2007 06:33 AM

                  Park ave Liquors on 41st and Madison is well known for their vast scotch selection and reasonable prices. Not sure how they are known for their wine selection.

                  1. re: ESNY
                    m
                    mle18 Jan 12, 2007 01:31 PM

                    Solid wine--Park Ave was going to be my recco
                    Along with Beacon wines on 75th and Broadway and Bachus on Broadway maybe 68th--limited but well edited selection and a really knowledgeable staff. and winesby in the WV. 67 Wines on 68th and Columbus.

              2. chowcito Jan 11, 2007 09:33 PM

                Astor Wines is solid.

                Also worth mentioning is Wine Therapy on Elizabeth between Spring and Kenmare. Small boutique type place with a nice variety.

                1. o
                  oc200 Jan 11, 2007 09:48 PM

                  By far the best prices and great selections can be found at PJ Wine in Inwood (Broadway b/w 204th & 207th), although some Manhattanites may be reluctant to travel so far up north....GASP.

                  If you have a car, take a half hour drive to Wine Library in Springfield, NJ. This is probably the best wine store in Eastern U.S. in terms of price, selection, customer service, and staff knowledge.

                  IMHO, most Manhattan store are priced at least 15 to 40% more than Wine Library.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: oc200
                    c
                    Captain Jan 12, 2007 12:28 PM

                    PJ Wine delivers all over Manhattan and does have good prices, through its webpage. You don't need to head that far uptown.

                    1. re: Captain
                      danoots Jan 16, 2007 01:37 AM

                      I've actually found that shopping at PJ Wine is actually a far better experience online than in-store. They'll deliver to the boroughs for free, btw, for orders over $100.

                  2. d
                    dbird Jan 11, 2007 09:49 PM

                    Second Moore Brothers. And while it's kind of a wine version of Whole Foods, Union Square has its points, chief among which is the 20 per cent case discount, especially good when combined with one of their occasional tax-free sales.

                    1. fat parish Jan 11, 2007 10:31 PM

                      For Italian wines, I enjoy Italain Wine Merchants off of Union Sq. I have had gracious, knowledgable service there with good variety and pricing.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: fat parish
                        e
                        ESNY Jan 11, 2007 11:45 PM

                        For Italian wines, I really like Vino on 27th street. Owned by the same people as I Trulli, they have a great selection and offer great advice. If you want them to, they also keep a record of what wines you've purchased so they can find similar styles or match up your tastes.

                        1. re: ESNY
                          b
                          bobby06877 Jan 12, 2007 03:13 PM

                          Agree with Vino, it was recommended to me on this board a few months ago. I called the store, spoke with the owner Nicole(Nicola?)and gave her an idea of what I was looking for. She put together a great case of regional red wines that we had not been familar with. Prices were decent and service was very good.

                        2. re: fat parish
                          Yaqo Homo Jan 12, 2007 01:41 AM

                          I've been to Italian Wine Merchants twice:

                          First time was in December of 2004. It was surreal, and not in an amusing way. There were no price tags. There was no overt sales staff, and the two men at the counter seemed startled and confused when I asked them for help. They had trouble ringing up my order--lots of bumbling and head-scratching. It scarcely seemed like a store at all. There was a loud cooking demo taking place in the adjoining room.

                          The place seemed much more together when I visited in spring of 2006. When I said I wanted to try several unusual Italian whites, the saleswoman swiftly and competently guided me to some unfamiliar and delicious Ligurian and Piedmontese options. I'll probably be back.

                          1. re: fat parish
                            g
                            gutsofsteel Jan 13, 2007 10:54 PM

                            The prices at Italian Wine Merchants are high.

                          2. m
                            mrnyc Jan 11, 2007 10:35 PM

                            sherry lehman is the best. it's a pleasure.

                            i like astor place a lot too, lots of variety.

                            if you want a real crowdy new yorky style wine shop, hit crossroads on 14th st. it's great.

                            1. h
                              Hicks0846 Jan 11, 2007 10:35 PM

                              I would vote for Chambers St. Wine. I used to live nearby and go there many times each week. David, the owner, has a great knowledge of French wines and Mickey, if he is still working there, is an absolute expert in Spanish and Argentina wines. Now that I live in Boston, I am sure to stop in each time I'm in the City.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Hicks0846
                                c
                                Calcifer Jan 12, 2007 01:51 PM

                                Unfortunately, Mickey retired from Chambers St. a few years ago--I miss him! I think he's still working for the importer he was with, though.

                              2. ballulah Jan 11, 2007 10:46 PM

                                Not sure if it's the best, but it's enjoyable to go to Bottlerocket on 19th off of 5th. It's a boutique-y kind of place, with a small but well chosen selection. They profess to specialize in off the beaten path varietals, and they've made some excellent suggestions for me recently.

                                I also adore Cabrini Wines on 181st Street. It's my local wine shop, but they just recently expanded to encompass 4 store fronts (used to be 2, then 3, now 4). They have a tremendous stock, what they lack in the polish of some of the Madison Ave and downtown wine stores, they make up for in sheer volume and variety, and lots of the staff there know their wines (look for the tall, Dutch, blonde saleswoman, she's never ever steered me wrong, or Ernie, the owner). Someone explained to me that most Manhattan wine stores have somewhere between 200-300 different bottles, a larger store will have maybe 500-700; Cabrini Wines regularly has about 1500-1700 different bottles in stock, and now that they've expanded they say they are now at 2000-2500. And you get a 10% mixed case discount on just 5 bottles. I think they're actually cheaper than, or comparable to PJ's in Inwood as well.

                                1. a
                                  AET Jan 11, 2007 11:18 PM

                                  I'm a big fan of Le Du's Wines on Washington Street in the West Village. Well chosen selection from all regions in all price ranges and a passionate, knowledgeable staff. They also have frequent tastings in addition to well-run classes and wine dinners.

                                  1. h
                                    howardthefoodie Jan 11, 2007 11:25 PM

                                    Union Square wines is pretty cool because you can taste so many of their wines before you buy them. You buy a prepaid "tasting" card and you can just go down the aisle and taste all sorts of wines.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: howardthefoodie
                                      j
                                      jasmurph Jan 12, 2007 01:28 AM

                                      Union Square is also routinely $2-3 more per bottle than the not too far away Astor.

                                      My votes, in order: 1. Astor (price, selection, ease) 2. Sherry-Lehman (Selection, price) 3. Chambers St. (Selection)

                                      1. re: jasmurph
                                        Yaqo Homo Jan 12, 2007 01:31 AM

                                        Agree with the first point (but not your rankings).

                                        My go-to bottle of Rioja was actually $10 more expensive at USQ than Astor.

                                        1. re: Yaqo Homo
                                          j
                                          jasmurph Jan 12, 2007 01:37 AM

                                          I'll agree on your comment about the level of help being uneven at Astor. I've been told flat out wrong info there and (better yet) been told I was wrong when I suggested it was incorrect. Still, there's lots of choices and good sale prices. The dessert wine slection is pretty great.

                                        2. re: jasmurph
                                          bengoshi Jan 25, 2007 01:09 PM

                                          True, but they routinely discount 20% to 30% a case, so it winds up being cheaper I think. Right now USQ has a 30% promotin; I bought $400 worth and saved over a hundred.

                                          BTW, a great buy at USQ is the Le Clerc Briant Champagne. Great Champagne, real Champagne, for a small price. ($23bottle? Cant remember)

                                      2. jon Jan 11, 2007 11:31 PM

                                        no joke, the wine shop on 3rd ave between 32nd and 33rd is fantastic. great service/knowledge, fantastic selection, and pretty decent prices. i've found wines there that i have had in restaurants which i havent found anywhere else.

                                        8 Replies
                                        1. re: jon
                                          h
                                          howardthefoodie Jan 11, 2007 11:33 PM

                                          i live on 28th and lex and also go to the one on 3rd and 32nd. i have always found them to be really helpful and they definitey have a great selection!

                                          1. re: jon
                                            s
                                            Sweatshirt Guy Jan 13, 2007 07:26 PM

                                            +1 on this place. The owner flat out knows french wine!

                                            1. re: Sweatshirt Guy
                                              Yaqo Homo Jan 13, 2007 07:30 PM

                                              If so many of you patronize the place, please share the name of this store with the rest of us

                                              1. re: Yaqo Homo
                                                s
                                                Sweatshirt Guy Jan 13, 2007 10:35 PM

                                                I cannot remember the name. It is on th3rd Ave. between 32/33 on the East side of the block. Mcdonalds is just a few doors up.

                                                1. re: Sweatshirt Guy
                                                  Yaqo Homo Jan 13, 2007 10:39 PM

                                                  I'm sure I could find it if I were in the nabe. Just thought it was curious and ironic that it made such an impression on at least 3 chowhounds, yet know one knows what it's called

                                                  1. re: Yaqo Homo
                                                    s
                                                    Sweatshirt Guy Jan 13, 2007 10:42 PM

                                                    I must have gotten tipsy on the wine every time I have bought there!

                                                2. re: Yaqo Homo
                                                  w
                                                  weinhen Jan 14, 2007 06:40 PM

                                                  It's called Windsor Wines. A very solid neighborhood shop. Good diversity, moderate prices, strongest on Italian wines. The guy to talk to there is Knute, don't bother with the owner who can be a bit peevish. BTW, it's on the west side of 3rd.

                                                  Andrew

                                                  1. re: weinhen
                                                    s
                                                    Sweatshirt Guy Jan 15, 2007 10:30 PM

                                                    My bad! It is on thec west side.

                                            2. Yaqo Homo Jan 12, 2007 01:05 AM

                                              Sherry Lehman is by far the finest wine store, with an extraordinary selection of quality (even legendary) wines. The staff is super-knowledgeable, and the prices are good. However, I find the vibe and clientele there a bit stuffy. Call a day or two in advance to take full advantage of their huge selection (many of the wines from their catalogue are kept only at their Brooklyn warehouse and are not available at the store unless you call in advance).

                                              Astor Wine has a remarkable selection, but getting informed service there is a crapshoot... a lot of the people who offer help at that joint are friendly but clueless

                                              My favorite wine store is probably Chelsea Wine Vault, within the infinitely pleasant depths of Chelsea Market on 9th Ave. Their stock is intelligently selected, constantly changing and significantly smaller than Astor's or S-L's.

                                              Their staff tends to be frank (they do not hesitate to steer customers away from wines with bloated reputations and prices), well-informed and accommodating.

                                              11 Replies
                                              1. re: Yaqo Homo
                                                d
                                                dbird Jan 12, 2007 03:30 AM

                                                I really think Astor's selection verges on mediocre and is not particularly well priced. Thinking particularly about any American wines, Austrian (gruners especially), champagnes. I don't think much more of USQ but there are enough good bottles mixed in to make it worth the effort when you can basically get 30 pc off. I used to have a locker at CWV and even with the 10 pc discount found them very expensive.

                                                One thing I'd like to see is a wine shop with an accurate on-line inventory.

                                                1. re: dbird
                                                  Yaqo Homo Jan 12, 2007 02:00 PM

                                                  I'm surprised that you're unappy with Astor's selection. If there's a downtown wine store with a broader selection of highly regarded wines, I'd sure like to know about it.

                                                  Chelsea Wine Vault's website was awful last time tried to use it... completely inaccurate. That's not cool, but as stated above, I find it fun & stimulating to shop there in person because their offerings change so frequently.

                                                  Sherry-Lehman, Morrell and Beacon Wine, in my experience, have very accurate on-line inventories, especially compared to some other stores mentioned here.

                                                  Also, I know of at least one fine wine store outside Manhattan that keeps an immacculate and instantly-updated online inventory.

                                                  1. re: Yaqo Homo
                                                    s
                                                    Sean Dell Jan 12, 2007 03:33 PM

                                                    Would you care to divulge the name of this wine store outside Manhattan?

                                                    Thanks,

                                                    - Sean

                                                    1. re: Sean Dell
                                                      Yaqo Homo Jan 12, 2007 03:45 PM

                                                      Hart Davis Hart in Chicago. They ship to NYC (which is a bad idea, of course, when it's very hot or very cold outside). If you call them, ask for Christine..

                                                      They do a lot of consignment sales, so they offer rare bottles I've never seen anywhere else, except maybe at auctions.

                                                    2. re: Yaqo Homo
                                                      d
                                                      dbird Jan 13, 2007 11:08 PM

                                                      Maybe it's because I moved back to NYC from LA a couple yrs ago and really miss a wide (and well priced) selection of small central coast producers, Oregon pinots etc. Central coast is producing some great Rhone varietals (as well as some swill) but the last few times I checked at Astor there was nothing, and the only new world viognier was that gold snow globe. Otherwise also limited as I noted in my original post. If you order from Chicago I am surprised that you haven't found the Austrians & Germans to be thin, too.

                                                      That said, if you are referring to Chateau Margeaux with some age on, for example, when you recommend Astor for 'highly regarded wines', then I respectfully bow out of the conversation.

                                                      Thanks for the other tips about solid on line inventories. I will check them out.

                                                      1. re: dbird
                                                        oolah Jan 14, 2007 06:12 AM

                                                        dbird, have you found any great manhattan stores for california wine? There are a ton of really great wine stores in manhattan, but I've found they have a much better selection of european wines than californian ones. I get the sense that California is keeping most of the really good stuff to themseleves.

                                                        1. re: oolah
                                                          d
                                                          dbird Jan 17, 2007 01:58 AM

                                                          Sadly, no. Crossroads is not at all bad especially given the size of the store but the prices are not great and the storage and service don't mitigate. As you say, there are European opportunities here that aren't available on the west coast so I am trying to take advantage and expand my horizons--but I do miss me a good range of racy but comfortable old regulars incl Alban, Domaine Alfred, Babcock-- all of which I used to buy regularly for less than (in some cases much less than) $20/bottle.

                                                          1. re: oolah
                                                            pitu Feb 6, 2007 06:35 AM

                                                            oolah, I think you've got it
                                                            I never see Cali wines here that are widely avail out there

                                                            I did have a nice Viognier from Washington state from Astor
                                                            by Maryhill

                                                        2. re: Yaqo Homo
                                                          k
                                                          kenito799 Jan 16, 2007 01:09 PM

                                                          Chelsea Wine Vault has a well-chosen selection but prices are 10-20% more than Astor Wines. Astor has good sales and reasonable prices.
                                                          PJWine has the best prices in Manhattan and the best selection of Spanish wines in the city.
                                                          Moore Bros has a great unique selection, often you won't find their wines anywhere else. But value seems to vary a lot--a Chianti I bought there was available for about 50% less at a store in NJ, but some Chinons were priced well.

                                                          1. re: kenito799
                                                            Spoony Bard Jan 25, 2007 08:47 AM

                                                            Kenito799, have you been to Tinto Fino, the new all-Spanish wine store in the East Village yet? I was disappointed with their selection of sherry, but the non-fortified wine selection seemed pretty wide and quirky to this novice (e.g. multiple Txakolis). According to NY magazine there have 150 wines in a shoebox-sized space. But the mag also says they have a particular emphasis on sherry, which wasn't apparent on my last visit, where it was largely pedestrian and smaller than I'd hoped.

                                                            1. re: Spoony Bard
                                                              k
                                                              kenito799 Jan 25, 2007 05:46 PM

                                                              kool I will check it out, thanks!

                                                    3. m
                                                      Matzaball Jan 12, 2007 01:42 AM

                                                      I am a big fan of Bottle Rocket. All there wines have any ratings listed (ie parker, w.s., etc). The selection is not the largest but is like a great wine list very well rounded with some ecclectic picks. The staff is very into wine and a fun bunch. When you buy a bottle they print out tasting notes and info on the bottle, a nice touch. In addition they are very dog frinedly (ie water bowl in front, a jar full of dog biscuits)which is a big plus for me. I now go to bottle rocket and have not gone to Astor or USQ wine in a while.

                                                      1. c
                                                        Chef Z Jan 12, 2007 01:55 AM

                                                        I'm a big fan of Astor and have always found the staff helpful, but I have to say recently I've been going to Wine Therapy on (I think) Elizabeth between Spring and Prince. If not there, close at least. Last time I was there I proclaimed myself too much of a spanish-wine lover who needed to broaden my horizons. After an hour conversation with the woman on staff (yes, I had some free time that day) I left with two great bottles of French red, one of which I'm enjoying a glass of right now. The owner's wife has a salon next door and they live above the two shops. For old-school style you can't get much better than this.

                                                        1. l
                                                          Le Den Jan 12, 2007 02:01 AM

                                                          Crossroads on 14th. Not pretty, but the staff and selection are excellent.

                                                          September on Ludlow. Small both in size and selection, but excellent staff and willing to special order.

                                                          PJs. Huge selection and you can order on line and they deliver.

                                                          Astor. Good selection and most of the staff are good.

                                                          Mangan's (sp) at W. 4th and 8th. Good selection and well informed staff.

                                                          I don't care for Bottle Rockets. Small, small selection. Most of the bottles are displayed twice in different areas making it look bigger than it is.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Le Den
                                                            l
                                                            Le Den Jan 12, 2007 08:40 AM

                                                            I forgot to mention Chelsea Wine Vault. I've always found good values there as well as an educated staff.

                                                            1. re: Le Den
                                                              ericalloyd Jan 12, 2007 01:39 PM

                                                              i agree about crossroads. very friendly, helpful and knowledgeable wine merchant with a huge inventory.

                                                              i no longer bother with chelsea wine vault. was shopping there on no less than 5 occasions and never once did someone asked me if they could be of assistance, even when i was the only customer in the store. at times when i've asked for assistance, they acted as if they were doing me a favor.

                                                          2. j
                                                            JeremyEG Jan 12, 2007 02:16 AM

                                                            I think Discovery Wines in the East Village is fun and very well priced. I've had only great service and the space is gorgeous. I think USQ Wines has become a little snooty since it moved. I do like their selection though. The best value I've ever found in NYC is PJ's though, especially if you like Spanish wines. So many choices.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: JeremyEG
                                                              b
                                                              Buttercream Jan 12, 2007 09:04 AM

                                                              Definitely Ambassador Wines on 2nd Avenue in the low 50's. (around 52nd street).

                                                              They have a great champagne selection, as well as wines and spirits.
                                                              If they don't have it, they can get it...and they are very helpful.

                                                              1. re: Buttercream
                                                                d
                                                                dbird Jan 13, 2007 11:38 PM

                                                                I forgot about Ambassador. Agree about champagne. Also forgot to mention Beekman Liquor which also carries a very decent selection of grower-producer champagnes with one of each always chilled. Very smart selection of wines otherwise too although the prices aren't always the greatest.

                                                                1. re: Buttercream
                                                                  k
                                                                  kenito799 Jan 16, 2007 01:11 PM

                                                                  Ambassador also has an excellent (and properly stored) sake selection. Oops, that's for the beer board.

                                                              2. s
                                                                starfish Jan 12, 2007 11:41 AM

                                                                PJs on Broadway and 205th is great. They have some very knowledgeable people working there. We were recently helped by a youngish guy named Dan who spent a very long time giving us a great consult on a variety of wines. So far, we've really liked his recommendations (we were shopping in the under $15 range, and unbelievably, he suggested one $6 bottle which was actually really good). They are a long way uptown, but if you spend more than $100 they will delivery free anywhere in NYC (I live in Brooklyn, and they said that was part of the deal), and you can also order online if you don't want to make a trip up there. Before going there, I often went to Mr. Wright at 3rd Ave and 90th. Also a very big selection, big range of prices, and knowledgable staff who are eager to help.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: starfish
                                                                  o
                                                                  oc200 Jan 12, 2007 02:08 PM

                                                                  For PJ Wine online purchases over $100, shipping is free to NYC EXCEPT Staten Island. Staten Island still is part of NYC ;)

                                                                2. s
                                                                  Sean Dell Jan 12, 2007 01:13 PM

                                                                  I love Nancy. She is very cool, was the first person to stock Rustico Prosecco, and has a fantasti range and knowledge. And she delivers.

                                                                  - Sean

                                                                  1. m
                                                                    missjeanne Jan 12, 2007 01:34 PM

                                                                    Cellar 72 on Second Ave between 71st and 72nd - Sommelier Guy Goldstein owns/operates this shop. Because of his link to the restaurant business (check out Nice Matin's purchase of the Kennedy Collection) - he has a lot of bottles that you would normally only ever find on a restaurant wine list. But at wine store prices. Guy and the rest of the people that work there are amazing and treat my husband and I incredibly well. In the afternoons/evenings there is almost always some bottle open that they will offer you to taste. FYI - their web site is worthless. It is worth checking out in person anyway, so I wouldn't let that deter me. It has been open for about a year now and I haven't seen or read too much about this place and it kind of surprises me, especially based on the bottles you can score here.

                                                                    1. m
                                                                      mas Jan 12, 2007 02:06 PM

                                                                      The one place I would add to this great list is Tinto Fino, the (relatively) new Spanish place on 1st ave and 5th street. It's small, the selection is exclusively spanish and not huge, but the wines are mostly interesting and the staff is great.

                                                                      1. e
                                                                        emgoodman Jan 12, 2007 05:12 PM

                                                                        My favorite is Crush, on 57th Street between Lex and 3rd. They have a fantastic selection of wines. I particularly like that the staff, who is very helpful and nice, is just as excited and knowledgeable when recommending a $10 bottle as they are a $50. They also have some good wine tastings in their back room (albeit I wish they'd have them later at night because I can never get out of work in time!). They go beyond tastings as well -- for example, movie screenings, speakers, etc.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: emgoodman
                                                                          Spoony Bard Jan 25, 2007 08:52 AM

                                                                          Crush is incredibly cutting edge, both in display and events. They have a really helpful system of tags on each bottle written by the staff that break down the wines by stuff like oakiness, body, value (or something like that, can't remember exactly) using non-snooty, fun terminology.

                                                                          1. re: emgoodman
                                                                            plum Jan 25, 2007 01:04 PM

                                                                            And a third vote for Crush. Hands down my favourite in Manhattan. I love browsing their shop - as opposed to nearby Sherry-Lehmann, where I have made some good buys, but the shopping experience is akin to requesting books from the stacks of the British National Library, except you substitute bin numbers for call numbers.

                                                                            Their special offers via the e-mail newsletter are eclectic and well-priced. The "wine cube" at the back of the room is like Candyland for wine geeks. I always find something good. They've been incredibly helpful about special orders too.

                                                                          2. bobjbkln Jan 12, 2007 05:28 PM

                                                                            On the other end of the scale is Warehouse Wines and Spirits on Broadway between Astor Place and Waverly Pl. This is by far the least expensive store in the five boroughs. They have mostly closeouts and you can never be sure how well the wine was handled before it came to the store BUT, if you are not unlucky, you can get some incredible deals in all price ranges.

                                                                            1. k
                                                                              kayonyc Jan 12, 2007 05:35 PM

                                                                              I'm surprised that no one here mentioned Trader Joe's wine shop. Sure, it's not Sherry Lehman, in terms of quality, but for very inexpensive (often under $25 and even under $7 a btl)and actually drinkable everyday wines, they are definitely a good stop.

                                                                              I also like Discovery in the EV. Never had a bad wine there.

                                                                              If in Astoria, I go to Jolson's on 31st and Ditmars. Very knowledgeable, helpful and reasonable

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: kayonyc
                                                                                j
                                                                                jasmurph Jan 12, 2007 09:01 PM

                                                                                I've been to TJ's wine shop three times and gotten 4 bad bottles. I'd rather spend $20 on good wine than $10 on bad.

                                                                                1. re: jasmurph
                                                                                  d
                                                                                  dbird Jan 13, 2007 11:35 PM

                                                                                  Trader Joe's is disgusting all around. I don't understand why New Yorkers are so excited about it. It's basically mass-produced food minus the packaging. The wines are no different. They are bad and treated so badly that even if a decent sip slips in here and there, it is ruined in the handling.

                                                                              2. erin07nyc Jan 12, 2007 05:43 PM

                                                                                I didn't see anyone mention WinesBy on Jones St in the west village. Not a huge selection, but the boutique wines that Jeff has selected for his store are always a great value and covers a broad range. He finds great small-production batches that can be sold for very reasonable prices. Prices range $8 - $30+ with many great bottles at the $18 mark. His recommendations always work for me, and I know I can always trust any bottle from that shop to be good.

                                                                                www.winesby.com

                                                                                1. f
                                                                                  FoodieNY Jan 13, 2007 07:20 PM

                                                                                  MOORE BROTHERS is the best! The old somelier from Le Bec Fin opened up the NYC location last year after successfully operating two stores in NJ and DE. The staff is very knowledgable and all the wines are very high quality and not too pricey. The wines are kept at 56 degrees from the time they leave the vineyard for optimal storing conditions and the store is at 56 degrees as well (they give you a fleece to wear). It's on 20th b/t Park and Broadway.

                                                                                  1. NYChristopher Jan 13, 2007 10:10 PM

                                                                                    Best bargains: Warehouse Wine & Spirits on B'way at Astor and Crossroads on W. 14th. In both instances, you'll never know what they'll have but whatever they have is usually offbeat and a steal.

                                                                                    Good bargains: Gotham on B'way near 96. Similar to the two above.

                                                                                    Best value: Garnet on Lex in the 60's. A wider and more traditional selection with some great sales. If I needed a "certain" bottle, this is likely the first place I would go.

                                                                                    Best offbeat selection: Moore Brothers on 20th. Traditional selection thrown out the window; focus here on small and/or lesser known producers

                                                                                    Nancy's on the UWS gets honorable mention because they shy away from larger producers. Focus here is on pairing wine with food.

                                                                                    Best Burgundy selection: Burgundy Wine Company in Chelsea. Premium prices but the best selection. Rhone, too.

                                                                                    Misc:

                                                                                    Astor has a good mix of offbeat and traditional, the prices are a little higher than, say, Warehouse.

                                                                                    Sherry-Lehmann is better shopped by catalog than the store, but their depth of selection is quite good. Premium prices for location.

                                                                                    Beacon has changed decor and facing recently, so I need to temper my comments. I used to live around the corner from Beacon and rarely went because I thought they were asking for higher prices than they should have. Selection is more traditional.

                                                                                    Union Square Wines is overrated and over priced. Fortunately, they are extremely knowledgeable so go there and buy wine after talking with them ... then, if you like the wine, comparison shop for price.

                                                                                    PJs is worth going to once ... to get it out of your system. Wide, traditional selection at fair prices (but no steals). Sadly, the staff wasn't as knowledgeable as others so go here knowing what you want.

                                                                                    68 Wine on Columbus is also very nice, if tony. Prices are a little high, but bargains can be found without looking too hard (makes you wonder if they're charging more for some bottles to offset the discounts being offered on others).

                                                                                    There are loads of other places that deserved to be mentioned, but I'll cut it short here with one last pitch ... for Vintage. Good wine is made right here in New York and these folks have it (I'm partial to Hosmer from the Finger Lakes and Whitecliff in the Hudson Valley). Plus, you can try loads of them (for a small fee) before buying.

                                                                                    1. 280 Ninth Jan 13, 2007 10:52 PM

                                                                                      Wonderful replies, all, and I appreciate the care that everyone has taken here. I so LOVE to try new places, and I've a handy little list from your notes above. I've been partial to Moore Bros. and Vintage, myself, and have found Chelsea Wine Vault to be a mixed bag, overall...sometimes good values, never a steady inventory, and a staff that ranges from helpful to invisible. Burgundy is overrated in my opinion, and I've gotten frankly bad bottles from them...boo hiss!

                                                                                      Happy drinking everyone...

                                                                                      1. g
                                                                                        gutsofsteel Jan 13, 2007 11:02 PM

                                                                                        I cannot believe nobody has mentioned Rosenthal, which is certainly the most reliable mid to high end store in all of Manhattan. They sell only what is imported by Neal Rosenthal, arguably the best importer in the US. It's on E. 84th St. between 1st - 2nd, in a brownstone.

                                                                                        Aside from Rosenthal....I like PJs, Astor, Chambers St., Le Du, 67 Wines, Mr Wright, Moore Bros. Sherry Lehmann is overrated. Crossroads has storage problems, as does Garnet - both stores sell wine far too often that is "off" and they should know better. USQ is a clip joint.

                                                                                        Whoever mentioned Wine Library above is totally right.

                                                                                        Also, Sam's in Chicago is a great source, and they ship to NY. Good on-line situation too.

                                                                                        Best Burgundy selection: Rosenthal, NY Wine Warehouse (LIC), Burgundy Wine Co is third.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: gutsofsteel
                                                                                          s
                                                                                          Sweatshirt Guy Jan 15, 2007 10:32 PM

                                                                                          Rosenthal has great wine but, the pricing is on the high end.

                                                                                        2. c
                                                                                          Caillerets Jan 14, 2007 07:53 PM

                                                                                          Smith and Vine in Brooklyn http://www.smithandvine.com/sv/

                                                                                          Smart pricing and they deliver
                                                                                          Accurate on-line inventory

                                                                                          1. NYChristopher Jan 15, 2007 12:11 PM

                                                                                            Oh and I TOTALLY forgot Italian Wine Merchants (off Union Square) and Vino (around Gramercy) ... two Italian specialists. I like both but probably find Vino to be more friendly price wise.

                                                                                            1. carbonara Jan 15, 2007 09:00 PM

                                                                                              Acker Merrall & Condit is my favorite reason to trek over to the UWS. The first time I ever went there, they were having a free in-store Krug tasting. There were generous pourings of 1990 vintage Krug, a grande cuvee, and a rose. I think we saw God. At the least, there were a few angels singing. They have free tastings every now and then. Knowledgeable, friendly salespeople. Good range of countries, prices, etc. It's also a block or two away from Fairway.

                                                                                              http://www.ackerstore.com/index.cfm

                                                                                              And I'll put in another vote for Discovery Wines. They get much of their wine from smaller, more obscure producers, and they have a healthy selection of wines that cost less than $20.

                                                                                              1. r
                                                                                                RCC Jan 15, 2007 10:50 PM

                                                                                                PJ Wine, Sherry Lehmann, Martin Brothers and Astor are my go to in the city. Best in class customer service and the wine provenance have been superb, so far.

                                                                                                Stay away from 67 Wines, I have had one bad experience before, and just recently had one very bad one with their recent scam NYTimes advertisement and the very rude phone customer condescending service. This one's a Better Business Bureau case.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: RCC
                                                                                                  c
                                                                                                  cbny Jan 16, 2007 04:01 AM

                                                                                                  I find Discovery a little high priced, especially for the neighborhood. Try finding something for $8 - $10. Not so easy, especially when you have to turn all the bottles around to find the price. I find Astor has a much better selection with better prices in the neighbood, and if your on Stanton September is also better.

                                                                                                2. n
                                                                                                  nuxvomica Jan 17, 2007 02:39 AM

                                                                                                  mostly downtown:

                                                                                                  favorites - selection/focus/service:
                                                                                                  Moore Bros
                                                                                                  Chambers
                                                                                                  Astor

                                                                                                  price & price/selection:
                                                                                                  Warehouse on B-way
                                                                                                  Crossroads
                                                                                                  Astor

                                                                                                  best for sake: Ambassador, Astor (since the move and refrigeration) and USqW (which is pricey)

                                                                                                  online:
                                                                                                  zachy's
                                                                                                  wine library (NJ)

                                                                                                  curious about:
                                                                                                  Park Ave Liquors - great scotch selection , know little about the wines they carry
                                                                                                  Vino - I Trulli retail off-shoot
                                                                                                  PJs

                                                                                                  Geneally overpriced: Le Du, Chelsea Wine Vaults, Union Square Wines (non-sale prices; sale-prices are more comparable with othert stores), Italian Wine Merchants - excellent selection though

                                                                                                  clearly, know next to nothing about stores above 20th St

                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: nuxvomica
                                                                                                    steve h. Jan 25, 2007 02:02 PM

                                                                                                    I'm a big fan of Italian Wine Merchants. The selection, as you point out, is excelllent as well as the customer service. I now do the bulk of my shopping with them via email or phone.

                                                                                                    1. re: steve h.
                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                      scrittrice Jan 25, 2007 02:48 PM

                                                                                                      It pains me to say that I recently had a terrible customer service experience with IWM (more than 24 hours late with a big delivery, despite repeated phone calls). I know their prices are high, but they have many Italian wines I've never found anywhere else, and even more importantly they store them properly. That said, their recent failure was so glaring, and they were so blase about it, that I may never shop there again.

                                                                                                      1. re: scrittrice
                                                                                                        steve h. Jan 25, 2007 03:10 PM

                                                                                                        very sorry to hear that. i've been a customer since they opened and feel bad that a place i recommend let you down.

                                                                                                        1. re: steve h.
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                                                                                                          romafan Jan 26, 2007 08:20 AM

                                                                                                          Another annoying thing about IWM is their stingy case discount and delivery charge.

                                                                                                          1. re: romafan
                                                                                                            steve h. Jan 26, 2007 09:01 AM

                                                                                                            what delivery charge?:-)

                                                                                                            1. re: steve h.
                                                                                                              r
                                                                                                              romafan Jan 26, 2007 01:17 PM

                                                                                                              Well, for a long time there was no delivery charge. Then one day they said there was, so I said 'keep your wine' and stormed out (this is after wasting a good 20 minutes while they tried to figure out how there computer worked). When I got home there was a message form the store saying that they would waive the charge because I was an old customer. It seems like they may have discontinued charging for delivery - maybe I'm responsibel!

                                                                                                              1. re: romafan
                                                                                                                steve h. Jan 26, 2007 01:52 PM

                                                                                                                that's a good story. if true, then you are the man!

                                                                                                                on the whole, i've found IWM to be everything i expect from a mid/high-end specialty wine shop.

                                                                                                                i hope you guys reconcile sometime down the road.

                                                                                                                1. re: romafan
                                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                                  scrittrice Jan 26, 2007 02:18 PM

                                                                                                                  So YOU'RE the guy... Just kidding. Thanks for taking the bullet. Actually, now that you mention it, they didn't say there was no delivery charge, just that they weren't charging me one (after they'd looked in the computer at my history), so maybe it is a favor for longtime customers. I find by far the most efficient way to shop there is to look on the website and make a list before I go.

                                                                                                            2. re: steve h.
                                                                                                              s
                                                                                                              scrittrice Jan 26, 2007 09:05 AM

                                                                                                              Not your fault! I've been a customer since they opened, too, and I've always raved about their service and recommended them widely, so I was doubly disappointed. As for the comments below, their case discount is slightly smaller than those of other stores (8% rather than 10%), but they didn't charge a delivery charge.

                                                                                                      2. s
                                                                                                        Sean Dell Jan 25, 2007 07:48 AM

                                                                                                        I tried PJ's last week for the first time and they were great. The wine was excellent, particularly a 93point Riesling for about $15. Delivery was free, and exactly on time.

                                                                                                        I'll use them again.

                                                                                                        - Sean

                                                                                                        1. b
                                                                                                          bobby06877 Jan 25, 2007 11:40 AM

                                                                                                          I stopped in last night at a little wine shop called Is-Wine on 8th Street near between McDougal and 6th. Interesting selection of German and Portugese wines and extremely helpful staff. They recommended a German Pinot Noir called Spatburgunder that sounds interesting. Again, it is a small place that has a lot of lesser known labels but they had an enormous number of wines open available for tasting. They used to be in the East Village but moved a few weeks ago. Prices seemed reasonable

                                                                                                          1. bolletje Jan 25, 2007 05:49 PM

                                                                                                            I like Is-wines too, but couldn't remember the name of it.
                                                                                                            The selection is small, but very eclectic and interesting.

                                                                                                            1. a
                                                                                                              acpi Jan 26, 2007 09:14 AM

                                                                                                              Second Mr. Wright - the staff has never steered me wrong.

                                                                                                              1. adamhgraham Jan 26, 2007 09:27 AM

                                                                                                                Discovery Wines in the East Village has a really great selection of obscure wines in the $10-$25 range, great for wine lovers who want an upgrade from the usual stuff . http://www.discoverywines.com/

                                                                                                                The staff are moody and unpredictable, and sometimes really busy, but they generally have great suggestions for pairings, and all price ranges and the store frequently hosts tastings. The computer kiosks are real helpful too.

                                                                                                                1. t
                                                                                                                  TryThis Feb 5, 2007 01:16 PM

                                                                                                                  If you are looking for a huge selection of Italian wines you should try Mount Carmel Wines in the Arthur Avenue area of the Bronx.

                                                                                                                  http://www.mountcarmelwines.com/

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: TryThis
                                                                                                                    b
                                                                                                                    bobby06877 Feb 5, 2007 03:01 PM

                                                                                                                    They do have a great selection, and I go there when I am looking for a hard to find wine or vintage, but they can be very expensive. I agree though that they have a huge selection.

                                                                                                                  2. kackmo28 Feb 7, 2007 11:00 AM

                                                                                                                    I have found none better than Moore Brothers. They have a great selection of hand-crafted, artisinal wines that you won't find really anywhere else. Seems to me like they know each and every bottle. I'm always waited on as soon as I walk in and they always have bottles in the back to taste for free. The store is cool but my wine always tastes super fresh. Honestly, this is the best customer service I have ever gotten at any of the wine stores in Manhattan. I've also taken a class there. It was awesome. I highly recommend checking this store out if you haven't already.

                                                                                                                    moorebrothers.com
                                                                                                                    20th Street btw Park and Broadway

                                                                                                                    1. Yaqo Homo Apr 15, 2007 09:02 PM

                                                                                                                      I am officially on the Bottle Rocket bandwagon.

                                                                                                                      The people who run the store seem very sweet and helpful; furthermore, I found the atmosphere, the prices and the displays appealing--lots of tasting details and food pairing suggestions posted everywhere. The selection is idiosyncratic (e.g., Syrah from India, pinot noir from Germany).

                                                                                                                      An unexpected but welcome touch: in the back of the store they have a reading area full of dozens back issues of every wine and food magazine you could hope to peruse

                                                                                                                      It's a fun place to shop.

                                                                                                                      1. j
                                                                                                                        john Peter Apr 25, 2007 02:39 PM

                                                                                                                        i love alingan wines & liquors on ditmars blvd between 37 & 38 th st...its a small place with great selection and prices and the staff is verry helfull and nice..they go out of there way to help you.

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