HOME > Chowhound > Wine >

Best Wine Shops in the US

j
jasmurph Mar 10, 2008 06:28 PM

When I travel I often find myself wondering if there's a good wine shop in, say, Memphis. I thought it might be helpful to get a thread going on your 2 or 3 candidates for the best wine shops you've been to in the US, either in your hometown or away from home.

I offer up Kermit Lynch in Berkeley and PJ Wine in NYC.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. c
    ceekskat RE: jasmurph Mar 10, 2008 07:32 PM

    K&L Wine Merchants - Redwood City (HQ), San Francisco, & Hollywood, CA- Nice selection from wineries around the world with great service & prices too.

    http://www.klwines.com/

    Beltramo's - Menlo Park, CA. Big family owned store with great selection of wine & spirits. DH says their liquor prices are hard to beat!

    http://beltramos.com/index.htm

    I live within 3 miles of both of these stores - feel like a kid in a candy store everytime I go:-)

    1 Reply
    1. re: ceekskat
      Bill Hunt RE: ceekskat Mar 11, 2008 06:23 PM

      You beat me to K&L, but I can add Davidson's, Denver, CO (actually probably listed as Highland's Ranch, but it's south Denver).

      Hunt

      [EDIT] Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, San Francisco at the Embarkadero is a good shop. Not as large, but interesting selections. I always pick up a couple of mixed cases of wines I do not see every day. Still, in the SF-area, K&L gets my vote.

    2. Husky RE: jasmurph Mar 10, 2008 08:19 PM

      I'm a big Kermit Lynch fan and when traveling in southern California, also like Woodland Hills Wine Merchant in the valley and Hi-Times in Orange County. A great little shop in SF is Biondivino.

      1. w
        whiner RE: jasmurph Mar 11, 2008 02:13 AM

        I will second K&L, Woodland Hills, and Biondivino. Those three stores make up the vast majority of my wine buying.

        It is hard to call Premier Cru a "great" wine store, but it does sometimes have amazing deals. www.premiercru.net

        By the way, Woodland Hills: www.whwc.com
        Biondivino: http://www.biondivino.com/

        1. m
          moh RE: jasmurph Mar 11, 2008 07:13 AM

          I have always had great experiences in Union Square Wines and Spirits near Union Square in NYC. Excellent selection, interesting wines. I feel like they make an effort to stock great bottles at every price point. They have excellent staff to make recommendations and help you decide what to buy. They are very helpful, friendly, enthusiastic and well-informed. They have a reward system: each dollar you spend turns into points which can be redeemed as tastes of wines they have in stock. Their selection of tasting wines is large (about 30 or so bottles if I recall, they have one of those taste dispensing machines with multiple bottles). Plus they have a big screen tv, so if you go on a Sunday afternoon during football season, you can watch the game and drink wine. But be careful if you aren't rooting for the Giants.... I always leave this shop with multiple bottles, and they are always interesting wines, and often outstanding wines.

          1 Reply
          1. re: moh
            a
            anewton RE: moh Mar 11, 2008 07:23 AM

            I'm sure it is not one of the best in the country, but a surprisingly good wine store I encountered on recent travels was the Boise Wine Co-op in none other than Boise, Idaho. It was a decent-sized store with a particularly strong selection of Pacific Northwest wines (i.e. many of the Ken Wrights, Penner-Ash, Archery Summit, Domaine Serene, etc...) It also had a good selection of French and Italian wines, a surprisingly broad Austrian section, and a so-so selection of Californian wines.

            However, one of the neatest things about the Boise Wine Co-op was its climate controlled "library room" with various back vintages of Harlan Estate, Bond, Caymus SS, first and second growth Bordeaux, Burgundy, etc...

            The staff told me it had the biggest selection of any Pacific Northwest wine store outside of Seattle. (Don't know if this was true, but in any case, it is a cool store to wander around).

            Oh, and if anybody ever visits Vancouver, make sure to visit the flagship store of the BC Liquor Board, on 39th and Cambie. It is a grocery store sized liquor store that not only boasts a large selection of wines from around the world, it also has a food demonstration area where there are food/wine pairings offered as you browse the aisles. (Also has a killer selection of scotches, rums, tequilas, etc...)

          2. z
            zin1953 RE: jasmurph Mar 11, 2008 08:25 AM

            I'm not sure it's possible to actually name the "best." For me, it depends upon what I'm looking for. In this, it's no different than how I shop for food . . . go here for my meats, there for fish; the farmer's market for fruits and vegetables, and over here for my cheese . . . .

            Kermit Lynch is a great individual, and has done more for the quality of imported wine than almost anyone I know. And I think Kermit's is a great store -- I often shop at his store, it being just down the hill from my house. But is it one of the best stores in the US? How do you figure? The store carries NO wine from California, Oregon, or Washington; NO wine from Australia or New Zealand; NO wine from Chile or Argentina; NO wine from Germany or Austria; NO wine from Portugal or Spain (save for one dry Sherry); and only a LIMITED selection of wine from France and Italy.

            But why do you feel this is one of the five best stores in the US? What is your criteria?

            Please note: I am NOT trying to be argumentative; I am merely trying to understand your criteria. There ARE certain instances I would probably agree with you about Kermit, but I wouldn't include his store if your criteria are "selection" and "price."

            Cheers,
            Jason

            14 Replies
            1. re: zin1953
              vanillagorilla RE: zin1953 Mar 11, 2008 09:29 AM

              I have to agree, though I've never been to Kermit's store. In Seattle, I have one specific store I go to when I want Burgundy or Champagne. One that I love for Alsace, Loire, Germany, and Southern France. One that is better for North West Wines.

              The world of wine is just too huge for a one size fits all store. I find myself almost avoiding the ones that attempt it, because they are usually lacking enough in one area or another.

              1. re: zin1953
                Husky RE: zin1953 Mar 11, 2008 10:54 AM

                You're certainly correct in saying that Kermit is not one of the best wine shops in the US when considering selection and price, but I can say that I've NEVER been disappointed with a bottle I've bought there - either at $10 or $60. I guess his palette and mine are compatible.

                1. re: Husky
                  z
                  zin1953 RE: Husky Mar 11, 2008 11:15 AM

                  Husky, I agree 1000% with that! I, too, have NEVER been disappointed in any wine I have ever purchased from Kermit, and I think it's a great store. But the prices are/can be on the high side and the selection is limited to only the wines he, himself, imports directly . . . but those are darned good wines!

                  1. re: zin1953
                    m
                    mengathon RE: zin1953 Mar 12, 2008 03:22 AM

                    I think it's also important to add that his staff is extraordinarily well-trained.

                    But taking into account price and selection, I would agree that I cannot put it at the top of the list. Still, definitely worth a visit to anyone in Berkeley.

                2. re: zin1953
                  j
                  jasmurph RE: zin1953 Mar 11, 2008 06:14 PM

                  Fair enough. Maybe call it "Favorite" stores or "Stores Worth Visiting," but gosh those sound so milquetoast.

                  The idea was to compile a list so that when I'm next in Boise--great rec, btw--I'll know where I might go to get something other than Kendall Jackson.

                  1. re: jasmurph
                    z
                    zin1953 RE: jasmurph Mar 11, 2008 09:55 PM

                    Favorites are another matter entirely . . . I shop at each of the following stores, some more frequently than others, but that is mostly out of convenience and/or driving times. The wine selections are well thought out, and the staff is quite knowledgeable. Not all wines are everywhere; indeed, most of these stores specialize in one thing or another -- D&M, for example, is a specialist in Champagne, single malt Scotch, and French brandies (Cognac, Armagnac, and Calvados); but I go to the Jug Shop to get sparkling Shiraz! In other words, each fills, for me, a specific niche . . . or two.

                    Prices are better at some than at others, but that's the way it goes.

                    Also, please note that the stores are in random order; preference is NOT indicated by their order.

                    -----
                    K & L Wine Merchants
                    638 4th St, San Francisco, CA 94107

                    Spanish Table
                    1814 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

                    Jug Shop Wine & Spirits
                    1590 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94109

                    Wine Club
                    953 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94107

                    Vintage Berkeley
                    2113 Vine St, Berkeley, CA 94709

                    Oddlots Wine Shop
                    1025 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA 94706

                    Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant
                    1605 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

                    Paul Marcus Wines
                    5655 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

                    Premier Cru
                    1011 University Ave, Berkeley, CA

                    Solano Cellars Bistro & Wine
                    1580 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

                    North Berkeley Wine Co
                    1601 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Berkeley, CA 94709

                    Dee Vine Wines
                    19 Pier 45, San Francisco, CA 94133

                    Golden West International
                    2443 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115

                    Plumpjack Wines
                    3201 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                    D & M Liquors
                    2200 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115

                    Ferry Plaza Seafood
                    1 Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA

                    Wine House
                    129 Carolina St, San Francisco, CA

                    1. re: jasmurph
                      z
                      zin1953 RE: jasmurph Mar 11, 2008 10:02 PM

                      Among MANY others in Southern California . . .

                      -----
                      Woodland Hills Wine Company
                      22622 Ventura Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 91364

                      Wine House
                      2311 Cotner Ave, Los Angeles, CA

                      Wine Country
                      2301 Redondo Ave, Signal Hill, CA

                      Wine Expo
                      2933 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

                      Wine Exchange
                      1500 E Village Way # 2368, Orange, CA

                      Hi-Time Wine Cellars
                      250 Ogle St, Costa Mesa, CA

                      Du Vin Wine & Spirits
                      540 N San Vicente Blvd West, Hollywood, CA

                      Wine Cask
                      813 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

                      Renegade Wines
                      417 Santa Barbara St # A6, Santa Barbara, CA

                      1. re: jasmurph
                        z
                        zin1953 RE: jasmurph Mar 11, 2008 10:05 PM

                        In Seattle . . .

                        -----
                        Pike & Western Wine Merchants
                        1934 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA

                        McCarthy & Schiering Wine Merchants
                        2401 Queen Anne Ave N, B Seattle, WA

                        1. re: zin1953
                          z
                          zin1953 RE: zin1953 Mar 14, 2008 10:49 AM

                          In New Orleans,

                          -----
                          Martin Wine Cellar: Store
                          3500 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA

                          Martin Wine Cellar
                          3827 Baronne St, New Orleans, LA

                          Vieux Carre Wine & Spirits
                          422 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                          1. re: zin1953
                            k
                            kati_spears RE: zin1953 Jun 20, 2008 11:42 AM

                            In the wine list above you left out High Times and Trader Joe's. Wonderful selection of wine. Newport Beach, CA

                            1. re: kati_spears
                              z
                              zin1953 RE: kati_spears Jun 20, 2008 02:15 PM

                              Kati,

                              I know you spelled it "High Times" (the name of a former "pre-Marijuana" magazine, IIRC), but Hi-Time in Costa Mesa IS there . . . or is there really a different store called "High Times"???

                              As for Trader Joe's, they were a deliberate omission. I would certainly include them on any list concerning the VOLUME of wine sold, but I wouldn't include them on a list of the BEST wine stores. YMMV.

                              Cheers,
                              Jason

                              1. re: zin1953
                                j
                                jock RE: zin1953 Feb 9, 2012 11:24 AM

                                TJs is a great store for everything but wine. For wine it is downright awful!

                                1. re: zin1953
                                  Bill Hunt RE: zin1953 Feb 9, 2012 05:37 PM

                                  Jason,

                                  I agree completely. With but the rarest of exceptions, the wines are very low-end, and though they might be good, with a selection, limited to US$ 8/btl., I would never consider them to be amongst "the best."

                                  When I think "best," I am thinking Berry Bros. & Rudd, http://www.bbr.com/, or similar. Though many of the Nicholas shops (especially the one across Curzon St. from our Mayfair flat) have some neat wines, they are but "wine-oriented convenience stores," and would never make a mark on BB & R. Same for K&L, and several others, like the above mentioned Davidson's.

                                  I understand your omission, and would have made the same. Now, as for High-Times, just what ARE you buying there... ?

                                  Hunt

                            2. re: zin1953
                              c
                              CurtA RE: zin1953 Mar 26, 2008 07:49 PM

                              In the Seattle area I head for Pete's or Esquin.

                        2. ibstatguy RE: jasmurph Mar 11, 2008 09:40 AM

                          re Kermit, I think he's a great importer but I don't think he is necessarily a great retailer.

                          In So. Cal. there is the triumverate of 3 stores along the 55 Hwy: Hi Times, Wine Club and Wine Exchange. Woodland Hills Wine has been very helpful to me via phone on a couple of occasions. I have several times ordered wine in Washington D.C. for delivery there to my father in law from Calvert Woodley; their prices seem a bit high to me but I have received great service.

                          I'm pretty sure that about once a year, Wine & Spirits has an article on the "best" wine shops; suggest you track down a copy of same.

                          1. m
                            Missmoo RE: jasmurph Mar 11, 2008 10:35 AM

                            I really like Liner and Elsen in Portland (not sure if I spelled it properly) We visited them from the Bay Area last year and although small they had a great selection, good prices and were very helpful.

                            1. a
                              alilsaucy RE: jasmurph Mar 11, 2008 10:50 AM

                              Moore Brothers if you're on the east coast (they have locations in NYC, south Jersey (Pennsauken) and Delaware. They are, hands down, the best purveyors of artisanal, high quality, old world (mostly) wines.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: alilsaucy
                                c
                                chefdilettante RE: alilsaucy Mar 13, 2008 11:56 AM

                                Love, love, love Moore Brothers. Everything is shipped in temperature controlled containers and refrigerated trucks; store is kept at 58 degrees.

                                Devotion to well crafted wines, most of which are little known in the US but absolutely brilliant.

                                http://moorebrothersblogs.com/

                              2. s
                                Somnifor RE: jasmurph Mar 11, 2008 11:22 AM

                                Minneapolis - St Paul has a good array of wine shops, probably because grocery stores aren't allowed to sell wine.

                                Hennepin Lake Liquors has the best prices in the state but they only have a medium sized selection, only take cash and have no service. Everything in the store is below list price, some of it is pretty close to wholesale price. This is the first choice among people in the restaurant business. It is a good place to buy Ken Wright Cellars and St Innocent Pinot Noir.

                                Surdyks is a grocery store sized wine shop that has great selection. Their prices are a bit higher but during their sales they are price competitive with Hennepin Lake. They claim to have the largest selection of wine in the Midwest.

                                France 44 has a lot of interesting wines and a very good selection of domest Pinot and Italian wines, their prices are bit higher than Surdyks.

                                Thomas Liquors in St Paul has an excellent selection for a smallish wine shop, I would consider it the hidden gem of Twin Cities wine buying.

                                Haskell's is a big local chain with lots of high end wine. Their markups are ridiculous though, and that $500 bottle of '95 Bordeaux may have been on the shelf for a few years. I only mention them because some people recommend it but it should be avioded like the plague.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Somnifor
                                  s
                                  soupkitten RE: Somnifor Mar 13, 2008 01:08 PM

                                  haskell's is invariably where the hotel concierges will send visitors to buy wine in downtown minneapolis, and Somnifor is correct-- there are much better wine stores, with better selection and prices (just) outside of downtown. matter of fact the recs from all of the downtown concierges are pretty much wrong, about anything, across the boards. i think they're all on the take.

                                2. r
                                  RicRios RE: jasmurph Mar 11, 2008 04:34 PM

                                  Good that nobody mentioned The Wine House in LA.
                                  It was an excellent store back upon a time, when managed by its founder.
                                  Since second generation took over it has been heading consistently downslope.
                                  It definitely doesn't belong anymore in the top tier(s).

                                  1. o
                                    olasek RE: jasmurph Mar 11, 2008 06:29 PM

                                    I like stores that offer me wine tasting. I found such a store in my neighborhood of Oakland, Ca - Wine Mine Co. Extremely friendly owner, frequent tastings of both basic and high-end wines, great atmosphere, great prices and wines from the whole world. For me it is like being in wine heaven.

                                    1. Paul Weller RE: jasmurph Mar 11, 2008 08:05 PM

                                      In Escodido Ca. there is a store called Holiday Wine Cellar. They have a great selection and temperature controled display/ sales area. Lots of top notch wines and vintages from most regions. Prices are a little steep sometimes, but if you need something like an aged first growth bordeux or cult cal cab on short notice they are open 365 days a year, and I have never had a corked or bad bottle from them. It's kind of like buying something at 7-11 that you need right away, they have it in stock but it's more expensive than if you shopped around or ordered from somewhere else. It is a fun store to shop at and sometimes you can find bargains, like a 98 Quarts De Chaume for 18 bucks.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Paul Weller
                                        ibstatguy RE: Paul Weller Mar 11, 2008 09:19 PM

                                        that's a great spot and for some reason I always enjoy the sprial staircase; prices are a bit high

                                      2. vickib RE: jasmurph Mar 11, 2008 08:59 PM

                                        In Signal Hill/Long Beach CA, my favorite is The Wine Country. They have tastings several times a week, which I work into my schedule as often as I can. They have a good selection from California, Oregon, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and the southern hemisphere. I've gotten great bottles at every price point in (and sometimes outside of) my budget.

                                        1. m
                                          mengathon RE: jasmurph Mar 12, 2008 03:28 AM

                                          Re PJ: I shop there all the time. Their prices and selection are great. Their staff is very good as well. But their website is in terrible disarray. A small drawback, and certainly not enough to keep me from shopping there.

                                          1. ChefJune RE: jasmurph Mar 12, 2008 10:00 AM

                                            I don't have a clue what "PJ Wine in NYC" is. In New York I can recommend Sherry-Lehmann, on 59th and Park as "as good as it ever gets!" Great selection in all price ranges, as well as wines that no one else in the country gets..... also like Morrall, and Warehouse Wines (on Broadway in the Village) as well.

                                            13 Replies
                                            1. re: ChefJune
                                              MMRuth RE: ChefJune Mar 12, 2008 10:05 AM

                                              PJ's is a very good, and well priced, wine store in Upper Manhattan. They have a particularly good selection of Spanish wines. I also like Sherry Lehman.

                                              1. re: MMRuth
                                                z
                                                zin1953 RE: MMRuth Mar 12, 2008 10:10 AM

                                                Try this . . .

                                                -----
                                                Chambers Street Wines
                                                160 Chambers St, New York, NY 10007

                                                1. re: zin1953
                                                  j
                                                  Jason_Coulston RE: zin1953 Mar 12, 2008 10:28 AM

                                                  Given I live a mere two blocks from Hi-Time, I'm honestly biased. However, I've been to a LOT of wineshops, including several listed in this thread. For me, Hi-Time is truly amazing and one hell of a glorious wineshop. If you can travel deep into the buying process and become a regular, a whole new world opens up behind the scenes. Their inventory on the shelves is amazing. Their "other" inventory is murderous.

                                                  R. Jason Coulston

                                                  1. re: zin1953
                                                    MMRuth RE: zin1953 Mar 12, 2008 10:28 AM

                                                    Can you elaborate on why you recommend them? We don't usually make it down that way ... though we do have a car. Most of our (admittedly mostly uniformed) wine shopping is done at K & D on Madison, which happens to be close to our home.

                                                    1. re: MMRuth
                                                      z
                                                      zin1953 RE: MMRuth Mar 12, 2008 11:23 AM

                                                      Can we play echo?

                                                      >>> Love Chambers St Wines. *Great* selections and good pricing especially of French, German and Austrian wines. They have the great bottles from the producers you've heard of, and they're always uncovering obscure gems from the ones you haven't. I buy most of my wine from these guys. <<<

                                                      I will only add that I know MANY people here in California who buy from Chambers and have their wine shipped. I tend to buy from them less frequently, but . . .

                                                      Cheers,
                                                      Jason

                                                      1. re: zin1953
                                                        MMRuth RE: zin1953 Mar 12, 2008 11:27 AM

                                                        Thanks to you both! I've enjoyed Austrian wines at Wallse and it would be fun to explore them more at home. I'll add Chambers to our weekend food excursion list! There's an Italian wine store up in the Arthur Ave. area of the Bronx that we've enjoyed exploring, when we were on our Italian wine kick, though we didn't get much past Sardinia and Sicily, using this book:

                                                        http://www.italianwinemerchant.com/Bo...

                                                    2. re: zin1953
                                                      oolah RE: zin1953 Mar 12, 2008 10:55 AM

                                                      Love Chambers St Wines. *Great* selections and good pricing especially of French, German and Austrian wines. They have the great bottles from the producers you've heard of, and they're always uncovering obscure gems from the ones you haven't. I buy most of my wine from these guys.

                                                      Other NYC faves are Moore Brothers (great small producer selection), and Le Dû (pricey, but delicious selection, particularly of big fruit forward wines). In Brooklyn, I like Smith & Vine, especially their French options and their $10 dollar table.

                                                      1. re: oolah
                                                        j
                                                        jasmurph RE: oolah Mar 12, 2008 04:04 PM

                                                        I'll ditto on Chambers. It's a bit like Louis/Dressner opened their own shop.

                                                        So, am I to conclude from the dearth of places outside NYC and California that everyone on this board is from these places? C'mon Memphis, Cleveland, Oklahoma City, Charlotte, Phoenix!

                                                        1. re: jasmurph
                                                          z
                                                          zin1953 RE: jasmurph Mar 12, 2008 04:51 PM

                                                          Hmmmm . . . you flying Southwest or US Air? ;^)

                                                  2. re: ChefJune
                                                    m
                                                    mengathon RE: ChefJune Mar 12, 2008 10:48 PM

                                                    I like Sherry-Lehmann and Morrell both, but their prices are quite often 15-20% higher than other stores in NYC. If I were looking for one special bottle, I'd shop there; if I were looking to stock up, I'd go elsewhere

                                                    1. re: mengathon
                                                      r
                                                      RudigerVT RE: mengathon May 22, 2012 06:20 PM

                                                      Morrell is down the street from our NYC digs (the fabulous Radio City Apartments, on 49th between 7th and 8th). We took the Rockefeller Center architecture tour last year and were told that the rent on those places goes up to 1M/year. So I think that helps explain the price. The staff, though, is awesome, and the convenience factor couldn't be beat. Spent a couple hundred over a one-week stay, but had some swell stuff. Ah, New York.

                                                    2. re: ChefJune
                                                      vvvindaloo RE: ChefJune Mar 14, 2008 07:39 PM

                                                      PJ Wines is a great resource for wine lovers in NYC, up in Inwood. I am also a fan of Chamber Street Wines (Tribeca), ViNO (Murray Hill) and Italian Wine Merchants (Gramercy), Vintage (SOHO; specializing in NY State Wines), September Wine on the LES, the Wine Vault in Chelsea Market (good variety and great to deal with), and Astor Wine Center (GV). I am not such a big fan of Sherry-Lehman or Morrell- probably because, with the exception of Astor, I really appreciate the attention I have gotten at smaller (or less-known) wine dealers. I think Mt. carmel Wines in the Bronx and Zachy's in Scarsdale (Westchester County) also deserve a mention.

                                                      1. re: vvvindaloo
                                                        Pedr0 RE: vvvindaloo Feb 17, 2012 11:10 AM

                                                        Used to work across the street from Sherry-Lehman and was never impressed by the selection in there.

                                                        Manhattan:
                                                        Astor
                                                        Tinto Fino
                                                        Moore Brothers
                                                        Le Dû
                                                        Chelsea Wine Vault

                                                        Brooklyn:
                                                        Slope Cellars
                                                        UVA
                                                        RW&B

                                                    3. winechic RE: jasmurph Mar 12, 2008 06:11 PM

                                                      Great thread! I offer up Tim's Wine Market in downtown Orlando, FL. There are plenty of good independent wine shops in the Tourist Mecca, I've enjoyed shopping at all over the years.

                                                      http://timswine.com

                                                      Tim's consistently offers a varied and extensive selection of quality wines at all price points. Labels that are familiar and labels that are not familiar...but well worth exploring.

                                                      Worth a drive if you are staying in the attractions area, enjoy some of the "real" Orlando.

                                                      Cheers!

                                                      1. s
                                                        sake RE: jasmurph Mar 13, 2008 09:48 AM

                                                        What does everyone think of Sam's in Chicago?

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: sake
                                                          Wahooty RE: sake Mar 31, 2008 03:23 PM

                                                          I used to live in northern IN - my friends and I used to make pilgrimages to Sam's. Screw Disneyland - as far as I'm concerned, THAT's the Happiest Place on Earth. Huge, lots of tastings, fantastic prices, and a very knowledgeable and helpful staff any time I've been in. I can only think of one time that I went in there and couldn't find what I wanted, and when I asked an employee about it, he not only knew exactly which bottle I was looking for, but also exactly why they hadn't been able to get hold of any that year. In a store that size, I thought that was pretty impressive.

                                                          The liquor prices are pretty sweet, to boot.

                                                        2. f
                                                          fussycouple RE: jasmurph Mar 13, 2008 12:56 PM

                                                          I considered whether we should break this down by state or region, like

                                                          FAVORED WINE SHOPS: SOUTHEAST
                                                          FAVORED WINE SHOPS: CALIFORNIA

                                                          or even by state, like

                                                          FAVORED WINE SHOPS: CALIFORNIA
                                                          FAVORED WINE SHOPS: SOUTH DAKOTA

                                                          just because this really is a big country.

                                                          But while we're doing this one, if you're in central North Carolina, the best three I can recommend are:

                                                          A Southern Season, Chapel Hill, NC.
                                                          These folks have a large selection, and a lot of it is small grower estate bottled, but they covered a broad territory and a wide range of wines. The shining spot of this wine store is Jay Murrie, who combines a great knowledge of wine with communication skills suitable both for the wine newbie and the wine professional. It sure doesn't hurt that our tastes in what we like is so similar, so for me he is nearly the *perfect* wine guy.

                                                          Wine Authorities, Durham, NC
                                                          Seth & Craig at Wine Authorities are running a great idea for a wine shop. Their price range tends to run between $5-$50, and they only buy what they like. They are heavily invested into small family run estate wineries, and they probably have fewer than 500 different wines in the whole shop. Also like A Southern Season, they carry organic and biodynamic wines, and seem to care about good wine from non-multinational companies. Their selection is truly eclectic and changes regularly, I try not to get too attached to anything I get there, and if I like it, get back and "get it while I can".

                                                          Wine Merchant, Raleigh, NC.
                                                          This store was the first really nice wine shop in the area, and has been here since 1981, though I seem to remember an earlier incarnation of it in another location. Their longevity and their contribution to wine in this area should never be ignored, and they have good wine at decent prices, too.

                                                          I've been to every wine store within 100 miles of these three at one time or another, and try to visit new ones when they open. I no longer spend my time anywhere else locally, and still shudder when I run into local people who recommend "Total Wine" to me.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: fussycouple
                                                            d
                                                            Dee S RE: fussycouple Jun 24, 2008 06:21 PM

                                                            I like your suggestion of breaking down the thread. CA and NYC are going to get a TON of posts. It would be more informative to break down the thread into smaller, more manageable and easier to navigate threads.

                                                            I moved to TN and find the wine selection SERIOUSLY challenged. We have (I think) five distributors throughout the state. They are all related to each other so it seems like everyone has the same selection of wines!

                                                            And don't get me started on what they offer. It's pretty sad....*sob*

                                                            1. re: Dee S
                                                              Bill Hunt RE: Dee S Feb 9, 2012 05:42 PM

                                                              Yes, the "Coasts" will likely get the most recs., and there is a great, big country in between.

                                                              I often have the same question, as the OP. Often, it is tough to get any idea of what IS available, beyond one Coast, or another. Heck, even on another Coast, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I found few possibilities. Though I once lived there, I did not realize how restricted the market was, due to ABC laws/shops there. Almost any good wine on the MS Gulf Coast comes over from New Orleans, and that was how I used to do it too. However, on that trip, we were flying in directly, rather than our normal, fly to MSY, stop at Martin's Wine Cellar, buy our wines for the week, and then drive to the Coast.

                                                              I would recommend Martin's Wine Cellar, should one be in New Orleans/Metairie, LA, but compared to some others, elsewhere, it would not be at the top of my list - still, geographically, it IS very good.

                                                              Hunt

                                                          2. v
                                                            Vlajos RE: jasmurph Mar 14, 2008 12:01 PM

                                                            Binny's in Chicago is great. Sam's is also good.

                                                            1. CindyJ RE: jasmurph Mar 14, 2008 02:41 PM

                                                              Another very enthusiastic vote for Moore Brothers in Delaware, NJ, and NYC.

                                                              1. h
                                                                horvath42 RE: jasmurph Mar 14, 2008 08:12 PM

                                                                I would suggest West Palm Wines in Tampa Florida, Cavanaughs Fine Wines in Orlando, Sunset Corner in Miami and Wine Watch in Ft.Lauderdale.

                                                                1. m
                                                                  MunkeeCIAO RE: jasmurph Mar 15, 2008 03:06 PM

                                                                  Got to throw a shout out to Ventura Wine shop, its sister store Carpineteria Wine Shop, and an old favorite I just dont get to enough, Malibu Wine Shop.

                                                                  M

                                                                  1. s
                                                                    Summerfield RE: jasmurph Mar 26, 2008 02:45 PM

                                                                    Thread seems kind of California heavy. I guess that's okay as lots of people live there. Anyway, Village Corner in Ann Arbor is one of the best wine stores I've ever shopped at. It's the only place I can find a selection of wines from Priorat, which is my new standard for defining an excellent store. Pearson's and Calvert-Woodley in DC are also very good (haven't put them to the Priorat test yet).

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Summerfield
                                                                      j
                                                                      Jason_Coulston RE: Summerfield Mar 26, 2008 05:21 PM

                                                                      "I can find a selection of wines from Priorat, which is my new standard for defining an excellent store"

                                                                      Luckily Hi-Time just expanded their Italian and Spanish sections and dedicated an entire wall to Priorat! ;-)

                                                                      R. Jason Coulston

                                                                      1. re: Jason_Coulston
                                                                        s
                                                                        Summerfield RE: Jason_Coulston Mar 27, 2008 08:57 AM

                                                                        Is Hi-Time in SE Michigan? Entire wall? That's pretty impressive. I shouldn't have thought that there'd be enough brands for that.

                                                                        1. re: Summerfield
                                                                          j
                                                                          Jason_Coulston RE: Summerfield Mar 27, 2008 10:03 AM

                                                                          Actually, Hi-Time in Costa Mesa (Southern California), a previously mentioned winery in this thread.

                                                                          R. Jason Coulston

                                                                          1. re: Jason_Coulston
                                                                            j
                                                                            Jason_Coulston RE: Jason_Coulston Mar 28, 2008 11:25 AM

                                                                            Sorry . . . not "winery", rather, "wine shop". My bad.

                                                                            R. Jason Coulston

                                                                    2. c
                                                                      Chicago Mike RE: jasmurph Mar 27, 2008 03:08 PM

                                                                      Zachy's and Sherry-Lehmann in NYC metro are awesome.

                                                                      So's Sam's in Chicago....

                                                                      Binny's in Chicago is quite respectable also. the Crown Liquors chain in Southeast florida has a great selection between all their stores.

                                                                      The Chicago Wine Company is rarely mentioned but they have phenomenal auctions, get on their mailing list. Their pre-auction tastings are some of the most vast tastings of great wines you'll ever attend,

                                                                      1. Vinquire RE: jasmurph Mar 31, 2008 11:22 AM

                                                                        Three cheers for K&L but also:
                                                                        The Wine Club - very close 2nd
                                                                        The Jug Shop for down under deals
                                                                        and local favorite Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa for their outstanding inventory of local Sonoma county wines at below tasting room prices.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Vinquire
                                                                          b
                                                                          BN1 RE: Vinquire Mar 31, 2008 01:20 PM

                                                                          I think I’ve become a Bottle Barn addict. I try to stay away, but I can’t. Also, they have a large selection of French wines. A funny thing is that someone always seems to break a bottle in there because there is so much wine stacked around, so it smells good too.

                                                                          1. re: BN1
                                                                            Vinquire RE: BN1 Mar 31, 2008 04:31 PM

                                                                            So true!
                                                                            I can NOT miss a chance at the Barn when up there. Funny, I noticed the broken bottle syndrome last time I was there...I wonder - do you think they could OPEN a bottle next time! ;-)

                                                                        2. vanillagorilla RE: jasmurph Apr 9, 2008 12:49 PM

                                                                          Anyone know a good store in Des Moines? I'm going to be there next month, and will need to pick up a bottle or two for a party.

                                                                          I'm mainly into wines from europe: whites from Alsace, Loire, and Germany; reds from Beaujolais, Loire, and Burgundy. But I also enjoy Oregon Pinot Noir, and some of the lighter Washingon reds.

                                                                          1. greglor RE: jasmurph Jun 19, 2008 07:47 AM

                                                                            Christopher's Wine Warehouse in Houston, TX. F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C.

                                                                            Mostly French wine, lots of tastings, great selection of mostly boutique wineries. I've never met its equal.

                                                                            1. stellamystar RE: jasmurph Jul 2, 2008 02:49 PM

                                                                              Skokie,IL (N. of Chicago) - Schaefer's - great gourmet foods, too.

                                                                              Kansas City, MO - my British neighbor swears by Knocky's in Overland Park, KS for her Riojas.

                                                                              1. KenM RE: jasmurph Aug 16, 2008 05:22 AM

                                                                                Great idea ... can anyone recommend a wine shop in the Syracuse through Albany region of New York? I'm driving to a wedding in mid-Sept, and I have been nominated to pick up the wine on the way, so timely advice would be appreciated :-)

                                                                                1. waitress RE: jasmurph Aug 16, 2008 03:59 PM

                                                                                  Carolina Wine Company
                                                                                  The largest temperature controlled wine warehouse in the U.S.
                                                                                  http://carolinawine.biz

                                                                                  1. c
                                                                                    csj85 RE: jasmurph Feb 9, 2012 10:58 AM

                                                                                    I been buying most of my wine from The Wine Stop on Burlingame Ave! These guys do a great job of really figuring out your palette and what you would like. They have a pretty good track record with me and the many others I send to this place. I Love! Love! There new website, it rocks! If you live around the bay area you definitely got to check this place out, they have an amazing selection and at great prices!

                                                                                    1. ChefJune RE: jasmurph Feb 9, 2012 12:48 PM

                                                                                      I consider my "home" wine store to be Wine Library in Springfield, NJ. Great prices, and excellent selection, along with excellent delivery policy.

                                                                                      Being in the metro New York area. I'm also a fan of Sherry-Lehmann, Astor Wines, Warehouse Wines. Acker Merrall & Condit and Morrall are both wonderful shops, but I don't get up their way very often. Same goes for Heights Chateau in Brooklyn.

                                                                                      and last but not least, lately I've been doing some business with a shop called Crush that has a pretty specialized inventory.

                                                                                      1. carbonara RE: jasmurph Feb 9, 2012 06:01 PM

                                                                                        I'll put in yet another vote for K&L in SF (and LA, and Redwood City). I particularly love the way they keep track of customers' buying histories, though that will be less useful to a traveler.

                                                                                        And I'll second Acker Merrall & Condit in NY. They've had some delicious tastings, including one a few years ago I still remember because they were pouring a 1990 Krug, a Grande Cuvee Krug, and a Krug Rose. Generously sized pours, too. That was a happy day. Sherry-Lehmann is also great.

                                                                                        1. f
                                                                                          flarmley RE: jasmurph May 20, 2012 06:09 PM

                                                                                          I believe the question was in, for example, Memphis. The answer for Memphis is Wine Market. They have a terrific selection of great values fro everywhere, especially Spain, Italy, and France in this town where California is sometimes all the stores seem to care about. Oh, and they're really nice and cool, too.

                                                                                          1. j
                                                                                            jmills RE: jasmurph May 21, 2012 06:00 AM

                                                                                            Tim's is great in Orlando. A varied selection, with many good value bottles. They are extremely helpful.

                                                                                            1. r
                                                                                              RudigerVT RE: jasmurph May 22, 2012 06:25 PM

                                                                                              Burlington, Vermont, you say? Two spots.

                                                                                              Church Street Wine Cellars has limited hours, and every-so-often tastings. But they are GREAT. Marinell Newton is a GIFTED teacher (also a social worker) who works her butt off to study up before tastings. Her notes are excellent. Kristin Halverson knows wine, knows the business, and is a total love.

                                                                                              Our main spot, though, is Brad Kelly's Burlington Wine Shop. It's right on City Hall Park. He has a modest selection but he knows every bottle. His weekly tastings (Saturdays, 1-7) are a must, and we've gotten to know other local wine denizens. He's a true introvert, but he's also a very savvy businessman and has an EXCELLENT nose.

                                                                                              There are some other places in the region and they all have their fans, but those are my go-tos.

                                                                                              1. v
                                                                                                vickiesue RE: jasmurph May 24, 2012 07:42 PM

                                                                                                Wine Discount Center on Elston in Chicago. The get some fabulous boutique wines and the prices are great!

                                                                                                1. Bill Hunt RE: jasmurph May 24, 2012 09:22 PM

                                                                                                  If you get into the Denver Area, and do not mind a short drive south, try Davidson's, http://www.davidsonsliquors.com/. They have always come through for me.

                                                                                                  Enjoy,

                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                                  1. njmarshall55 RE: jasmurph May 25, 2012 08:40 AM

                                                                                                    When you say "best," may I ask what you are referring to? The variety and depth of selections? Knowledge of the staff (rather than just restockers)? Events they may have? Or the overall experience shpping there?

                                                                                                    Show Hidden Posts