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Wine: Where/What to buy?

Hi I just most moved to NOLA from the NY area and am wondering which are the best places to buy wine (any location is fine) and also, is there anything in particular i should be looking forward to buy? Maybe something that was difficult to find in the NY area?

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  1. I'm not sure of anything that you should look forward to here, as it's probably a lot easier to find everything but Pontchartrain wine in NYC, but as far as buying wine goes:

    If you're looking to stay in the city, Martin or Elio's. If you're looking for a big wine store, Martin in Metairie.

    1. Dorignac's has a very good wine section.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JGrey

        yes they do, and the liquor prices are the best I've seen anywhere (including walmart)

      2. There's the wine seller on prytania, also.

        1. Martin Wine Cellar has been around forever, and has an excellent selection. So does Vieux Carré Wines & Spirits (check out their back room).

          That said, New York has a MUCH broader selection than anything I've found in New Orleans.

          1. When we visit NO, we like to go to a wine shop next to kpaul's in the FQ. They are helpful, decent pricing, and if you are looking for collectible wines, ask to see the 'back room'. Vieux Carre?

            2 Replies
            1. re: winedine

              Yes, that's Vieux Carré Wines & Spirits

              1. re: zin1953

                I am quite thrilled to find out about a good wine shop in the FQ. At the end of this month, I'm going to a conference in NO, and my colleagues and I are considering having our one *expensive* meal next door @ K's. Do they allow byo?

            2. While there are several locations that carry a fair to middling selection, it's my impression that NoLa is more about local food than local wine. The only wine New Orleans is known for is Boone's Farm...

              4 Replies
              1. re: TigerAtty

                C'mon, that's hardly true. While the cellars of most local restaurants took terrible hits after Katrina (no power equals hot wine equals bad wine), it's not as though there are NO decent wine offerings here. And I second the Dorignac's recommendation for really good prices and a nice selection (esp for a supermarket!)

                1. re: Hungry Celeste

                  FWIW, I have always enjoyed the selection at Martin's and Vieux Carré when I come to town. However, Celeste, I have to say I've yet to find a wine store -- pre- or post-K -- that compares in selection to stores I've found in Manhattan, Boston, Seattle, Miami, or throughout California* (be it a large city -- like LA or the SF Bay Area -- or smaller towns like Santa Barbara, Santa Rosa, or Sacramento).


                  * Even cutting the area some slack over local wines -- I'm talking world-wide selelction.

                  1. re: zin1953

                    Oh, zin, I don't disagree that you can find great things in Manhattan or Boston, etc. I was simply pointing out that it was hyperbolic of the previous poster to say that NOLA is a Boone's Farm town when several restaurants (pre-K) held Wine Spectator awards, and we do have a half-dozen decent wine shops. Pretty good for a city our size in the deep south, no? And it's just not fair to compare us with mid-sized Cali cities within the reach of serious wine country....

                    1. re: Hungry Celeste

                      Well, let's just say a) it's pretty easy to get an award from the Spec; and b) I am deliberately ignoring California wines when I cite cities like Santa Barbara or Santa Cruz.

                      It has always been more difficult for me to find great wines in New Orleans than any other city of its size, pre- or post-. But you're absolutely right, Celeste, to point out that New Orleans is far from being a "Boone's Farm" town.


                      P.S. I'll be happy to buy you a Sazerac on my next visit!

              2. Bacchanal's on Poland in the Bywater. Sunday dinners in the courtyard with Chef Pete or visiting Chefs are amazing.

                1. Martin's Wine Cellar (we have more often done the Metairie store, as of late, and I do not know if the uptown store is even open, or if it's moved) is a good place to start. The staff is knowledgable and the selection is pretty good.

                  As others have noted, New Orleans is a bit less a wine-town. Other than local wines, which are usually vitus labrusca, or even fruit-based (think strawberry), you will not find much that you could not duplicate in NYC, with the possible exception of some rare bottle languishing on a dusty shef.

                  I'm sure that there are some neat spots, that have opened, since I last spent much time there, but do not expect to find bottles, that are not displayed in NYC. When it first opened, the Cellars of River Ridge had some nice classics, and eclectic offerings, but last few times there, I was disappointed, as they were mainly stocking the low-end popular wines, most with funny names and cute little animals on the labels. If one wants US$5/btls. of Chilean Cab, then stop by, but if you want something from the Loire, the N. Rhônoes, or 5th growth Bdx., Martins would be my go-to spot.

                  Now, last time that I looked, Vieux Carre Wines did have some interesting Ports, but they were about +30% more than I was paying from K&L in SF. Still, they did have some interesting offerings.

                  I do not think that Costco has moved to NOLA yet, but in AZ and CA, they have some interesting wine selections, and have recently been "crowned" the largest retailer of wine in the US. You might want to check out Sam's Club, as it is the direct competitor in some markets, and might well have elevated their selections. Unfortunately, I have never been to one, but see their name on the CH wine board, from time to time.

                  Most of all, enjoy New Olreans for what it is - a great food city with wonderful people (most of whom seem to drink beer, or cocktails) and a marvelous, albeit checkered, history.


                  9 Replies
                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    >>> Now, last time that I looked, Vieux Carre Wines did have some interesting Ports, but they were about +30% more than I was paying from K&L in SF. Still, they did have some interesting offerings. <<<

                    That's in line with my experience, too.

                    1. re: zin1953

                      Thanks, I'll try those stores. Well, i see that maybe beer hunting is a better option here. I am also a beer lover so, in terms of beer what do you reccommend? Ive heard of -but haven't tried yet- Abita Beer (Turbodog, Amber, Jockamo IPA, Restorarion Ale), Heiner Brau, Dixie's Blackened Voodoo Lager...what else is worth trying?

                      1. re: uneasyeating

                        You can always drive out to Abita's pub on the other said of Lake Ponchatrain . . . .

                        I'm definitely an Abita-on-tap fan . . .

                        1. re: uneasyeating

                          Go to Zea in Clearview mall on Vets in Metairie. They are a microbrew with fabulous beer. You can buy growlers of beer to go. They have a specialty beer they change every couple of months or so. My favorites have been the chocolate coffee beer and the green chili beer. Abita Amber is another favorite of mine. For wine I go to Martin in Metairie. There's a very nice sales guy named Steve. Do yourself a favor and eat there too. The burgers are great.

                          1. re: mrsfury

                            Yes! The burgers are the best in town. I can't wait for the uptown location to open back up.

                          2. re: uneasyeating

                            Probably goes back too long to be of real use, but I had a separate 'fridge, just for the imported brews from Dorignac's. At the time, we lived not too far away, and I hated when we left. It took years to find such a selection, though Colorado did become an epicenter for micro-brews and we are fortunate to have a boutique grocer, AJ's in Phoenix, with a good selection, both imported and domestic small-batch. Check them out, and I hope that they are more than a shadow of their former self.


                            1. re: uneasyeating

                              We keep Amber on tap at the house. Much better than bottled. Make a stop at the Bulldog and do a tasting.

                              1. re: JazzyB

                                MUCH better than the bottled! I made the mistake once of buying a six-pack of Abita Amber here in California . . . yuck!

                                OTOH, I love it on tap in New Orleans. I cannot recall ever experiencing such a HUGE drop-off in the quality of a brew between tap and bottle . . . some, yes; but that was like falling into the Grand Canyon!

                                1. re: zin1953

                                  Yes. I agree 100%. Why is it so bad in the bottle?

                        2. Not sure which area of town you are located but Cork and Bottle on Orleans (near City Park in the American Can Company Condo Building) has a great selection and a very knowledgeable and helpful staff. On Wednesday Nights they do tastings with various local restaurants (usually about $25 a head) and on Thursdays Nights they have tastings of particular wines (this is free). Good spot.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Lyonola

                            I've heard great things about this shop, but have not been there. Family members have business, just across the canal, and also speak highly of it. They are, however, not winos, but some NOLA wino friends really like it. Hope to see for myself next trip over. With all the recs. that I have received, it should be good.


                          2. Dorignac's. Martin's and Cork and Bottle are the Best in town.