Shop for Unusual Dessert Wines (Stickies?)
Does anyone have a tip for a local wine shop that does a particularly good job with off the beaten path dessert wine?
Specifically, my dad has expressed an interest in trying some Banyuls for his birthday (Christmas Eve), and I've checked the following places:
K&L: 1 offering, supposedly a decent bottle
D&M: 1 offering, supposedly better than what K&L has
Arlequin: 1 offering, out of stock. Who knows.
PlumpJack Cow Hollow: 1 offering, in stock, supposedly the best of the 3 in the area. PlumpJack Noe didn't have any, and I don't think they have whiz-bang inventory tracking to check the sister store, so for future readers, call both!
Who else should I try?
I called Blackwell's and they have one (an excellent one from 1998, they said). They also have a larger selection of stickies. Blackwell's is a great store with a carefully thought out selection of wines and liquors.
Blackwell's Wines & Spirits
5620 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121
If it's really stickies from Australia then the Jug Shop's worth a stop. Inventory's on their website. But it sounds like you want Banyuls, so you've pretty much got it covered.
Well, I don't know about Banyuls, but I have always been impressed with the wine selection - including dessert wines - at the Draegers store in San Mateo. This store is incredible in selection - best half bottle selection I have ever seen - but their prices are by no means discount. It is much better than the Los Altos or Menlo Park store, but I think there may be a new draegers somewhere in the east bay (Walnut Creek?) that is supposed to be great, so they may have an equally good or better selection.
I know San Mateo is a drive from the city but the store is very close to hwy 101.
I have been disappointed with dessert wines of any type in the city (dissapointed with the availability of them, that is). But a lighter (ie, not cloyingly sweet) but very good dessert wine from Napa is Robert Pecota Muscato di Andrea. I have seen it at D&M and it isn't expensive either (about $15 or less for a 375 ml bottle if I remember correctly).
Although it is a different type of dessert wine, the Port from York Creek is fantastic and is available (or was) at the wine store on 19th street in the Castro. I have given this as gifts and it is unanimously loved.
If you can fit in a trip to Berkeley I would suggest making 2 stops
1. Kermit Lynch for a Domaine La Tour Vieille Bayuls
2. North Berkeley WIne fo ra Mas Amiel Maury
That will give your Dad a taste off of 2 of the best dessert wines from Languedoc.
Banyuls is one of the very best pairings for chocolate there is...it's often called the single greatest wine for chocolate...so I hope an elegant chocolate cake is in order...Not too sweet..the flourless Scharffenberger cake or something else, maybe a molten cake made with excellent chocolate, or is molten old hat??