ISO: High-end wine/liquor store
- hcbk0702 Jun 22, 2009 08:16 AM
I'm looking for a wine store with a good selection of German Rieslings, especially from producers in Nahe (Dönnhoff, Schäfer-Fröhlich etc.). Trockenbeerenauslese would be great in particular, though Spätlese would probably be easier to find. I'd also be interested in getting amontillado sherry, and I wouldn't say no to a selection of moderately priced Burgundies.
Limitations: the store must be in Boston and accessible by the T. I don't have a car atm, so I will have to use public transit.
Thanks in advance.
Best fit I know is Gordon's in Waltham, they love Burgundies and import quite a few of their own at good prices, but not very T-accessible.
I would go for Brookline Liquor Mart or Blanchcards in Allston. Tough to find any place with a really huge selection of Rieslings.
Martignetti's on Soldier's field Road also does Rieslings, but not very T friendly either.
You might try calling Wollaston Wine to see if they have what you want. I have had pretty good luck there and they have placed special orders for me in the past. They're directly across from the Wollaston T station on the Red line.
I don't know much about Rieslings or Amontillado (I'm mostly a French and Italian reds kind of guy), but three T-accessible downtown stores worth checking out. If they don't have what you want, they can all order it:
Federal Wine (State and Congress) - doesn't look like much from upstairs, but they have a pretty extensive selection in the basement. Really knowledgeable (and talkative) guys. Most of their best bottles aren't really out on display, so best to go in with a little time on your hands and chat.
Brix (Broad Street near the Boston Harbor Hotel) - nice, focused, slightly overpriced selection in very pretty digs. Probably my least favorite of the three stores, but I'd still be really pleased if it were my only downtown option. Of the three, they seem to be the most balanced in terms of international selection, with wines from Europe, US, and Southern Hemisphere.
Wine Bottega (North End) - again, a small and focused selection of mid- and higher-end bottles. As you'd expect from the name, they lean Italian, but they have a surprisingly nice selection of French as well. I absolutely love the staff here, young, personable, and unpretentious, with some seriously good wine chops.
The Wine Cask in Somerville has a selection of Reislings. Staff is very knowledgable and I find their prices to be reasonable.
My comments on places below:
Federal, decent selection. A bit small, they do have an interesting chaotic basement.
Brix, new, foofie, for the wine newbie who is afraid of a big traditional wine store.
Bauer, limited selection.
Wine Bottega, pretty good, but with their Italian focus not going to have a ton of rieslings or Burgundy.
Gordon's was originally run by a Burgundy hound and he still imports for them.
Heck, here are the German wines from their web site (Keller is amazing) they have more then what is listed:
And their Burgundies: http://www.gordonswine.com/main.asp?r...&
I agree that the selection of the wines at Bauer (as listed in the original question) is limited, but cannot overstate the effort that Howie Rubin will put into acquiring what you want. Try giving him a call and asking for the specific wines you desire -- I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised unless you desire immediate gratification! I prefer Bauer to the other Boston establishments and it is the most accessible of them, with the possible exception of Federal. Delivery is very convenient.
Pretty much ANY wine store will order whatever you want for you if it is available from a major distributor. The joy in a really good wine store is finding something you never heard of, or that they import themselves. Gordon's in Waltham imports MANY small production Burgundies and some Rieslings in volumes too small for wide distribution.
Thanks for all the advice!
Looking at their respective websites, it seems like Brookline Liquor Mart and Federal Wine & Spirits have the best selection of both Rieslings (Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese) and Burgundies. Gordon's looks good too, but it's over an hour away by T so I think I'm going to have to pass on that.
No luck on finding Beerenauslese Rieslings though, let alone the rare Trockenbeerenausleses. I did check on Google to see what they go for, and the absolute "cheapest" is ~$1300/case, while the famed 1897 Schloss Vollrads Trockenbeerenauslese sells for a mind-blowing $162,022/case after the 10% case discount! I guess a case of similarly old Château d'Yquem would go for around that too, but I still nearly spit out my coffee.
Dessert wine = serious business
Marty's in Newton has far and away the largest selection of Burgundies in the Boston area. They were having a 25%-off Burgundy sale recently. Not sure where they are relative to public transportation.
You might also try using www.wine-searcher.com to locate wines in the Boston area. For example, I just noticed that Gordon's in Waltham has half a dozen different Kracher TBAs from Austria, unquestionably some of the greatest dessert wines in the world, and at a fraction of the price of the best German TBAs.