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Feb 25, 2010 11:53 AM

Half bottles of wine

Are there any wine stores in Manhattan that have a particularly strong selection of half bottles? I often find myself in a position where I'd like a half bottle of wine but most stores have a limited inventory.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. I don't think anybody has a particularly strong selection though you will find some at Sherry Leman and most other good wine shops. It ususally doesn't cost anymore to buy an okay full bottle and I find wine generally does keep longer than they say if your not talking about the top stuff.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Stuffed Monkey

      Thanks for your input. I consider Chambers St. Wines one of the City's best wine shops and they only had about 3 half bottles when I visited yesterday, all of which were priced over $15. My interest is in half bottles under $10. I've always been told that wine keeps for only about 2 days. I'm rarely home on consecutive nights so I'm always concerned the wine will go bad. Perhaps I'm being too conservative.

      1. re: Desidero

        Both Union Square and Astor have plenty of half bottles but only 1 or 2 under $10.

        Sherry Lehmann has plenty of half bottles but only 4 under $10.

        All three of these stores have searchable websites.

        1. re: Desidero

          Wine keeps a lot longer than 2 days. I've kept bottles for weeks after opening with no ill effect, so no need to limit yourself to half bottles.

          1. re: rrems

            Thanks. Where do you keep them for weeks? In the refrigerator, vacuum sealed?

            1. re: Desidero

              I only refrigerate white, red stays at room temperature. No vacuum seal, just the cork.

              1. re: rrems

                There is a big dropoff in quality of wine if you leave it just corked for a few days. If you're not going to drink the rest the next day, use a vaccuum device.

                If you use a vaccuum device, you should be okay up to 3 days.

                If you don't have a vaccuum device, put the cork in firmly and store it in the fridge (this goes for reds and whites). Bring the red up to temperature before drinking it.

                Another thing you can do is let's say you drink half a regular bottle - pour the rest into an empty 375ml bottle and cork it. Reducing the headspace will help.

                From the Wine Spectator:

                ' comes down to the type of wine, the quality of the wine and your tolerance for what is "drinkable" after opening. For me, non fortified (Ports and other sweeties) wines go in the fridge and I pretty much have to finish the next day or I don't enjoy it at all. There are some exceptions maybe, like super high quality tannic young cabs maybe, that can "hang in there" an extra day or so. Air plugs may help too.

                I finished a CDP that I opened on Tuesday, two days later. At that point, I just poured into a paper cup and had it with some pasta, just to finish it off. It was pretty gone by my standards, but drinkable. A cheap wine will be pretty awful after just one day or day of Wink. The wine quality really has a lot to do with it."

                1. re: gutsofsteel

                  Great idea about pouring it into an empty half-bottle. I should have also said if you are going to leave it in the original bottle to cork it immediately after pouring, not leave it open while drinking. I also wonder if the reason I don't notice the difference is I only drink wine with food. If you drink it without food I imagine the change would be more noticeable, but since food alters the taste of the wine anyway, if the wine goes well with the food you are eating it will not be a noticeable difference.

                  1. re: rrems

                    I think it's the opposite. Wine that's not so good tastes like crap with food. You really should do your best to preserve wine once it's opened. Or else at least buy cheap wine if it doesn't matter to you and you can't tell anyway.

                    1. re: gutsofsteel

                      Well, "wine that's not so good" won't taste good with food whether it has just been opened or two weeks later. I have my everyday wines and my better wines, but they are all good, and all work well with food, and all taste fine a week or two after opening. My point was there is no noticeable change if I am drinking them with food. You are welcome to disagree, but this has been my experience, and I am only advising the OP to give it a try and see if it works for them.

                      1. re: rrems

                        I contend that they do not taste fine two weeks after opening. Wine by its very nature changes when exposed to air. It's really just a matter of chemistry. You may be willing to tolerate spoiled wine, or maybe you can't tell - for me - life is too short to drink bad wine.


                        1. re: gutsofsteel

                          I've never had a red wine that didn't taste completely different just 3 or 4 days after opening. This has been my experience with low to high end wines. I've never found the change to be only subtle either. They taste completely different to me. I think that's why decent restaurants don't keep open bottles of red around for very long.

                          Whites I have found to be fine a few days after opening and the reds I usually use for cooking but they don't taste at all the way they do when they're fresh.

                          1. re: JeremyEG

                            Even with 4 days in the regular refrigerater, red wine taste completely different brodering on undrinkable. I'm almost sure that it taste worse when kept in room temprature. for such a long period of time.

                            Only wines that kept and actually got slightly better after being re-corked and kept for at least a week in the refrigerator were a few young Sauternes/Barsac.

      2. What about getting a wine vacuum type thing?

        1. 67 Wine on Columbus and 67th street has a halfway decent selection. Haven't looked too in depth, but I remember seeing a good number of choices available.
          They also have a website

          Where you should be able to see inventory.

          1. It's true that half bottles are difficult to come by. I, too, have been searching this out.

            It was brought to my attention that the difficulty of finding a sub $10 price for a good wine is because the materials costs - bottles, seals (corks or screwcaps) - and production costs - making the bottles and bottling - and shipping are at similar to producing full size 750mls... therefore many half bottles are not half of the original price, but more priced at 65%-70% of the full size price. (Not sure if this tangent is helpful in your search, but it seems slightly relevant to the cost element of your post.)

            Agreed that Sherry-Lehman and Astor Center has some good selections. Warehouse Wine (Greenwich Village) has a good selection - but as always with this store, goods are hit or miss.

            I did come across an interesting website for half bottles called Haven't tried them yet, but seems like they have a good selection - especially if you hit they're sale selection at the right time.

            Also, there are more and more wine bars and restaurants offering half bottles. I'm kind of hoping this is a new trend. Park Blue, Bar Henry, Landmarc, 8th Street Wine Bar, The Modern @ the MoMA and Ditch Plains are some with full on half bottle lists to name a few.