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Wine Junkie...Need Recs

BeantownHound Feb 17, 2008 02:01 PM

So I was shopping around the dusty wine cellar on Charles and was wondering where are the best wine stores in the city. I am particularly looking for French wines Bordeaux, Pouilly-Fumes, etc. Also stores that carry wine that has some age and is ready to drink are a plus
( I'm not good at stashing bottles for 10 years). Thanks for any tips...

  1. steinpilz Feb 17, 2008 02:31 PM

    Marty's is my "special needs" go-to spot, they have a very good selection. Located at Commonwealth and Harvard in Alston and on Washington Street in Newton. I've seen a variety of other places recommended on Chowhound in the past, so you might do a search for this.

    1 Reply
    1. re: steinpilz
      9
      9lives Feb 17, 2008 02:55 PM

      Both Marty's and Brookline Liquor have fairly good selections of older French wines. Brookline has a mailing list you might want to get on.

      For dining out, you might want to try Troquet; which has a wine list with very reasonable markups on the wines that you prefer.

    2. s
      smtucker Feb 17, 2008 03:01 PM

      We have had great success with Berman's in Lexington. I admit that we do buy young wine and let it age for 10 years in the cellar, but for last minute special occasions, they have always come through for us. Get on their mailing list. They send out fliers announcing some very aggressive sales about twice a year.

      http://www.bermansfinewines.com/

      1. franksnbeans Feb 17, 2008 05:11 PM

        I'm not generally a high-end buyer -- so for our everyday needs, Atlas Liquors in Medford is terrific -- but when I need nice bottles for a special occasion, and I'm out that way, Lower Falls Wine Co. in Wellesley is excellent. Very knowledgeable staff, and especially good at giving suggestions re: pairing w/specific menus.

        1. j
          jajjguy Feb 18, 2008 04:52 PM

          This is one of those rare questions with a single correct answer: Brookline Liquor Mart. This is their niche, and they have been doing without compromise for decades. Be sure to check out the "rare" room, with top shelf wines organized by year going way way back.

          There are a number of other places that also do a great job, on a smaller scale. Wine & Cheese Cask in Somerville (Cambridge line, near Harvard). Blanchard's in Allston actually has some good aged selections. Marty's in Allston is worth a look (I understand their main store in Newton is better, but I've never been). Gordon's and Wine Cellar of Silene, both in Waltham. Ball Square Fine Wines in Somerville. Lower Falls in Newton. Post Road in Sudbury. Kappy's in Medford (or is it Everett?)

          Happy hunting!

          7 Replies
          1. re: jajjguy
            litchick Feb 18, 2008 05:15 PM

            Wine and Cheese Cask: yes. This is it.

            1. re: litchick
              m
              mr mangia Feb 19, 2008 11:36 AM

              i think wine & cheese cask has a great selection & is convenient to my house but the people that work there (mostly at the register) are so unpleasant i find myself going to mall discount in fresh pond instead.

              1. re: mr mangia
                j
                jajjguy Feb 19, 2008 12:39 PM

                sorry to hear they rub you that way. there's a certain old school cambridge service worker "aesthetic" that can seem a little bit adversarial. i think the right way to see it is as them reserving their right to be in a bad mood at work. which is fine with me, since they don't seem to take it out on customers. hey, i'm usually in a bad mood at work... i will say that the floor staff at the cask has always been quite cheerfully helpful, and knowlegeable.

                1. re: mr mangia
                  litchick Feb 19, 2008 12:52 PM

                  Gah! Bad service? I can see it of the counter workers, they do get a little snippy sometimes. But I tell you truly Mr. Mangia, never ever ever have I had better service in terms of knowlegable, smart, charming excellent suggestions than what I've gotten from the Wine-N-Chz-Cask back room guys. Especially the older dude who hangs out in main wine area -- I think he's the owner. We have waked in, said "Duck with cherries for dinner. Wine for under $15," and have had him give us no less than three terrific suggestions. They've never steered us wrong, and MrLit will stand firmly by his assertion that there may be places with wider selections overall, but you won't find anywhere else that has a larger assortment of absolutley worthy wines in the $7-15 range. Lots of good upper end stuff, too, which we *do* buy -- but it's really nice to go somewhere looking for a lovely $10 red and not get the upsell to the only moderately decent $20 bottle.

                  So, my apologies for your snarky encounters there. I urge you to try again. Ignore the counter jockies and go chat with the nice older dude.

                  1. re: litchick
                    m
                    mr mangia Feb 19, 2008 12:56 PM

                    I agree the back room guys are great in suggestions & selection too. i will get over it soon, they have too many treats in there to hold a grudge !

              2. re: jajjguy
                l
                lisa13 Feb 19, 2008 07:28 AM

                If you're in Medford, I would check out Grape Vine Travelers in Medford Square in addition to Kappy's. It is a small shop but they have a nice selection. Maureen (I think she is usually there only on weekdays) has given us wonderful advice in the past.

                1. re: jajjguy
                  GilbyEast Feb 19, 2008 09:03 AM

                  I 2nd Gordon's. They are known for their selection of French wines.

                2. z
                  z.pinhead Feb 19, 2008 09:40 AM

                  Don't ignore Federal Wine downtown. Very strong on selection (France, Italy, California, Spain) and many older vintages available if you ask. Great advice as well.

                  1. d
                    Duster17 Feb 19, 2008 01:08 PM

                    D&L Liquors in Waltham and Woburn is my fave for non-snobbish wine help and info. They also have the punch cards so you can get free Riedel glasses (or other things) as you buy.

                    1. BeantownHound Feb 19, 2008 06:21 PM

                      Hit Up Berman's in Lexington, I work in the area so it was a quick detour. Kappy's in Medford is my usual go-to as I live within walking distance to there, but wanted to check out a smaller more intimate shop. Berman's had a great selection of Bordeaux, but actually ended up picking up a bottle of Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano D'Abruzzo for about 15 bucks or so. A wine I had maybe a few years back and loved. It is the house pour at Hammersley's in the south end and a pretty good value if I remember. Thanks for all the tips, much appreciated.

                      1. litchick Feb 20, 2008 09:25 AM

                        I also have to give a shout out to the still new-ish Menontomy Wines in Arlington. The ladies who own it know their stuff, and they have a interesting, well-priced rotating selection. They are super nice and helpful and will order anything for you. The weekly tastings there are always a pleasure. They're probably my second favorite wine joint, next to the Wine & Cheese Cask -- the personal service at both makes them tops in my book.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: litchick
                          l
                          Lucymax Feb 20, 2008 11:51 AM

                          http://www.menotomybeerandwine.com/
                          I decided to check out litchick's recommendation in Arlington (spelling is Menotomy, weirdly close to "monotony" but to each her own). Took a quick look at the website but I don't see a map -- close to Mass Ave?

                          1. re: Lucymax
                            litchick Feb 20, 2008 12:03 PM

                            Oops sorry about the spelling. It is a hard one. "Menotomy" is the old-school name for the village that became Arlington. And also the name of a famous Revolutionary War battle. Go, Minutemen! ;)

                            Menotomy Beer & Wine is very close to Mass Ave -- it's on Broadway, which runs parallel. Check out the place link, below.

                            -----
                            Menotomy Beer & Wine
                            80 Broadway, Arlington, MA

                        2. p
                          pink dress Feb 20, 2008 12:08 PM

                          Can I just say I love the Whole Foods deal 10% off 6 bottles, 20% off 12? I think they have a great selection and they're always having tastings. I had a great bordeaux from there last weekend. I went to the one in Cambridge by Putnam Ave.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: pink dress
                            j
                            jajjguy Feb 21, 2008 01:53 PM

                            A lot of places have similar discounts. I find the pricing funny at WF. It's often a bit overpriced, but now and then there are good deals. Admirable selection for a supermarket, to be sure.

                          2. n
                            nightsky Feb 21, 2008 07:43 PM

                            Selection and staff at Trader Joe's are very good IMO. Sadly only 3 of their stores in the state of MA (Brookline, Cambridge, Framingham) can sell wine. They've had a decent $10 Pouilly Fume. There's another they sell regularly that's about $15.

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