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Jul 9, 2008 07:13 AM

Vintage Wine Source?

Could anyone direct me to a good supplier of vintage and rare wines in Boston? My brother's 30th birthday is coming up and I want to buy him a unique wine with the same vintage as the year of his birth (1978). I'm not price sensitive, just want to get something really great. Reccomendations for specific wines are also welcome.


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  1. Marty's Liquors, on Washington Street between Newton Corner and Newtonville (10 minutes from Boston on the Pike). Ask to speak with Tom. (Or, better yet, call him before you make the trip.) You also can call Sherry-Lehmann in NYC and see if they'll ship to you. Among other thing, they have an amazing selection of Armagnacs from virtually every year.

    1. Try they have an amazing source of hard to find wine, with a great search engine you can view all wines for sale "78

      4 Replies
      1. re: bspence

        Can you do this in MA? I was under the impression you couldn't have wine mailed to a residence in the Bay State.

        Second the rec for Marty's.

        1. re: finlero

          You cannot. Giles in Woburn has some reserve wines put away. Although you'd never know it, they have some rare gems like vertical Harlan vintages, etc. They might have a '78 of something.

          1. re: finlero

            This is no longer true. There are plenty of wine stores, including Sherry-Lehmann, that can and will deliver in MA.

        2. Charles Street Liquors has a great selection of really nice wines, and are super helpful. Id give them a call or stop by to see what they have in the '78 range.

          1. To add to the list, Federal Wine and Spirits on State St has some great wines. I'd call first there as well, ask for Peter or Len.

            Contact info:


            1. It's going to be difficult to find a 1978 in a local wine store, but I agree that Marty's is one of the better places if someone would have it. If you're willing to drive to NY, Zachy's is a good, but expensive source for older wine. I believe that 78 was the famous California Cabernet vintage that beat Bordeaux for the first time in a tasting. If you check wine vintage charts, the thing to be looking for is a 78 Cabernet from California. If you have a friend that lives in NH, you can order wine and have it shipped there, but it's not a great time of the year to be shipping wine because it's so hot and the shipping companies could expose your expensive bottle to some very high heat in transit. It's "illegal" for me to sell wine from my personal collection. I have a 1979 Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Unfiltered, but you're looking for 1978. You should also be very careful where you buy the wine from to make sure it has been stored properly. Check the fill to see how much air space is in the bottle and ask how the bottle was stored. You would hate to spend a lot of money on vinegar. And even if it looks good, there's no guarantees when you're buying older wine. If your brother is a wine enthusiast, he would probably also appreciate any other really fine bottle of wine that you got even if it wasn't from 1978. Good luck.

              2 Replies
              1. re: dlee388

                Good advice, but if you would be willing to drive, the Big Y in Northampton (less than 2 hrs with a lead foot) is a great alternative.

                1. re: dlee388

                  It would have been difficult for '78 vintage to have been the one in the famous Paris tasting, since the tasting was held in 1976... I think the red and white winners in that tasting were both from 1973.

                  For a very long time, I was skeptical of the storage conditions for older wines at either Marty's location, though I like the stores. The newish display room for high-end wines at the Allston location might help that place out a bit, but it hasn't been around for too long.

                  Brookline Liquor Mart on Comm. Ave. in Allston has good storage conditions, but their prices may be high, and the regions that are currently best for 1978's probably aren't their strongest areas.

                  I agree with all the other comments about Boston not being a great place to look for older vintages. New York definitely would offer more choice, as would several other large US cities.

                  If I were shopping for a 1978 today, I might look for a top Barolo. I think it was a better vintage in Barolo than California, top Barolos generally had a better track record of aging well than the California Cabs of the same time period, and they might not be too unreasonably priced, since they don't have quite the same name recognition as Bordeaux or Burgundy.

                  Vintage Port is my usual recommendation for very old wines, as they tend to hold up more reliably. However, since 1977 was a universally-declared vintage year, I don't think there was any Vintage Port (and certainly none of note) made in 1978. Of course, you could always get him a wine that was a year older than him - to show him that he still might have some good years left...