Wine Shops in Seattle
We seem to have quite a few wine stores in the Seattle area, and I'm at a loss as to which ones I should be frequenting. Right now I buy the majority of my wine from Garagiste online, but that leaves me kind of at their whim as to what I'm getting. Sometimes I want a specific bottle. I also used to go to Maple Leaf Wine Cellars once a week for their tastings, but now they are closing. These are the remaining stores I go to:
The Vineyard Wineshop on Greenwood I've found to be a very good place for French wine. More specifically wines from the smaller AOC's. If I want something from the Loire, Cahors, Beaujolais, or Alsace I go here. I tend to like those regions, so this so far is my favorite. The downside is that it's hours aren't great for me.
I like the amount of stuff they have at Esquin. And their prices always seem to be pretty close to the best. They usually have the biggest selections and the store is laid out well. I've never been to their wine tastings, so I can't comment. They're nice enough to order what they don't have, which I've had them do. The downside is I feel that they seem to be more focused on the popular regions.
I like La Cantina on Sand Point for Burgundy and Champagne, but I don't feel that they are great in any other area.
Seattle Wine Outlet is great when I get a mailer about something I'm interested in, but so inconvenient that I rarely go other times.
I've been to both McCarthy & Schiering (I live near the Ravenna store), and I wasn't as impressed as I thought I'd be. They also seemed to be priced higher than Esquin for much of the same stuff.
Is there anywhere else I should be going? Also, I was a HUGE fan of the free tastings at Maple Leaf. Is there anywhere else where the tastings are as good?
Pete's just off Eastlake, great prices and good selection, knowledgeable peeps.
Champion Wine Cellars, on Denny, lower Queen Anne. Oldest wine store in Seattle. Slightly higher prices than Pete's or Esquin, but they have some stuff in there with some age on it, and the guy is a french wine nut. He's turned me onto some great wines for not a lot of $$.
I will have to give Pete's another try... I went there once, was dazzled by the array of wines, counfounded by the lack of organization, and appalled at the level of service -- or lack there of. I was there for about 30 minutes walking around while the employee there at the time (the only one I ever saw) sat at the counter and read a magazine. Needless to say I didn't buy anything. I will go again sometime here.
To the OP, I've had great success with three places McCarthy and Schiering (in Queen Anne), Pike and Western Wine shop and The Spanish Table (not a didicated shop, but a great selection -- ask for Catherine).
I go to Leschi Market. The wine buyer there is very knowledgeable, as is the owner. They put out a regular newsletter and often have special deals and close-outs. I tend to look for the "value wines"--10-20 dollar bottles that drink like wines twice their price, and at Leschi they're very helpful with those.