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Jan 15, 2008 01:11 PM

Miami Wine Shops

I tend to go into wine shops blindly and ask whoever's in charge for a recommendation. Obviously this can be hit or miss. Right now I go to Leon's Wine and Liquor for nicer wines and Happy Wines for day to day stuff. I was wondering what places people trusted most, especially in the Gables, Grove S. Miami area. Any recommendations I think will be worthwhile for a lot of people on these boards.

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  1. You hit up the same spots I do. I've found Total Wine to be impersonal but have good prices on everyday wines. ABC on Biscayne in NMB is a joke. The guys at Crown both on US1 and Biscayne have been pretty helpful. There are a couple of smaller places on Biscayne, Wine 69 and Vine Wine Shop. Wine 69 serves wine by the glass so you can try before you commit. Cefalo's may be an option, but I don't know anyone that's been.

    11 Replies
    1. re: lax2mia

      Wolfe's Wine Shoppe on Miracle Mile is excellent. No supermarket wines, predominantly small producers, they really know their product, particularly strong on Spanish, Italian, Rhone and pinots. Typically, everything set out on the floor is under $20, the stuff on the shelves is higher end.

      I get Leon's flyer, which is always fun for the handwritten commentary, and will occasionally order something from him, but have never been to the shop.

      I'm on Sunset Corners' mailing list and have occasionally bought from them too.

      Total is a complete crapshoot. If you already know exactly what you're looking for I suppose it's OK, but there's clearly very little discretion involved in what they stock and you could easily walk out with some lousy wine.

      Wolfe's Wine Shoppe
      124 Miracle Mile, Miami, FL 33134

      1. re: Frodnesor

        I found Cefalo's to be somewhat expensive and over-priced. Crown is generally helpful. Lately I have been going to the wine shop at El Carajo. They have a good selection, great prices, and the owner seems to know the products.

        1. re: Frodnesor

          I've had bad luck with Wolfe's in the past and found Jeffrey to have a bit of an elitist attitude at times (I'm not a total newbie, so I felt it was unmerited), maybe I just had some bad luck. It is among the most highly touted shops in southeast US. Sunset Corners was interesting but I had already developed a relationship with Jack at Leon's so I stayed with him despite the fact that I used to live by there. Maybe I should revisit those two again, as sometimes I want a bit more variety. Thanks

          1. re: Frodnesor

            Agreed. Total Wine is impersonal but if you know what you want, you can take advantage of the larger inventory and decent prices.

            Wolfe's is very personable and has a small but high quality selection. A little on the pricier side.

            I will add that W Wine Boutique on Alton is friendly but a bit shady. They will post reviews and points for the grand cru wine and sell the second label wine. This is done over and over again (eg. posting the WA review for Ducru Beaucailloux and selling La Croix de Beaucaillou or the Pape Celement rating and selling Le Clémentin du Pape-Clément). If it happened once, maybe you could chalk it up to glitch but if you go into the store, you see that it is their MO.

              1. re: y2ksrvivr

                No. They list the reviews and points for the first label, and underneath, in red, they list the name and price of the second wine. So technically, it's not lying, but it sure as hell is misleading.

              2. re: Porthos

                I've seen what you're talking about with W on Alton. I also find the store disorienting with all the mirrors and the bottles sticking out of little "portholes" in the wall. I've got a pretty serious wine friend who says the French owner really knows his stuff though.

              3. re: Frodnesor

                FYI...if you don't already know? Ole Wolfey used to be the GM at Normans! He knew wines then and I gather he knows them much more now.

                1. re: netmover

                  Isn't his wife on the distributing end of the business as well?

                  1. re: Icantread

                    Best Time Wines is great. They are on 8th street near 57th ave. They have great prices on nice wines and the owners are very helpful. They also have wonderful little sandwiches (great stop for lunch). They sample wines everyday for you to drink while you shop or wait for your sandwich. Great spot.

                    1. re: Icantread

                      I can't attest to his wife's background...sorry.

              4. I find good value at La Estancia Argentina
                4425 Ponce de Leon Blvd, Coral Gables
                17870 Biscayne Blvd, Aventura

                1 Reply
                1. re: 2top

                  I did have someone recommend that spot for big strong reds, though I haven't been yet. I'll have to check that out

                2. if you like argentine wines... price choice supermarket (19th and NE 2nd Avenue) and El Nuevo Siglo (Calle Ocho and 13th Ave) have great bargains most of the time... but, you'll need to know what's what yourself.