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Largest wine store in the area

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What are the very largest wine stores in the Baltimore/DC area?

I'm based in Baltimore but travel regularly to DC. We're working our way through Andrea Robinson's "Great Wine Made Simple" - which is a great "learning about wine" book with a lot of tastings. I'm noticing that even at the very largest wine stores I know, while it's easy to find particular California Merlots, Chardonnays and Cabernets, it is usually impossible to find, let's say, a particular Sancerre or Chassagne-Montrachet or California Syrah or Kabinett Riesling - all of which are typical requests from this book.

As the wines get more obscure, it'd be nice to have an *absolutely huge* wine store where I could find more of them and have to order less. Failing that, one that carried a lot of non-US wines would be nice. Doesn't have to be that close by as we can drive somewhere once a month. Thanks!

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  1. http://www.wineaccess.com/store/beltw...

    1. Corridor, in Laurel, is probably one of the biggest. Not too far from Baltimore too.

      http://www.wineaccess.com/store/corri...

      1. I would check out Beltway Fine Wine on Loch Raven Blvd just inside 695. They have a huge selection and always have great specials available.

        1 Reply
        1. re: edresner

          that was the link I posted above

        2. The key is not driving all over DMV for a single wine. This is best saved for collectors, special occasions, quirky, etc. The best option is finding a knowledgeable staff that can steer you to something similar. If you feel you must have the exact producer and individual wine from the book you can simply ask any store to order you as little or as much as you like. Every store in MD has access to the same wines. Granted the better ones may get the pick of the litter, everyone deals with the same distributors. They just have to ask.

          1. You will more than happy at Weygandt Wines. Probably one of the best wine stores in the US.

            www.weygandtwines.com

            For an outstanding selection of mature wines, including a just tremendous Burgundy stock, try MacArthur Beverages, also in DC.

            4 Replies
            1. re: KevinS

              I love Weygandt but its selection is very limited as it is th wines of one, albeit outstanding, importer. No US wines to speak of and very mlimited Italy, no South African or Aussie etc. Still if you want stunningly good Alsace, Southern French and Burgundy, they are superb.

              One issue with MacArthur's is that a lot of their best stuff is in their warehouse and not at the store. So go on line, search for what you want and then call them to make sure it is in house. They do not raise the prices on older wines so often a wine that is 5 years old from a great vintage is far less than the same wine for the current vintage.

              1. re: KevinS

                So is MacArthur the best store for Burgundies in the DC area? Or are there other contenders?

                1. re: hcbk0702

                  As far as I've seen, I'd give the nod to MacArthur for Burgs. If you are serious, do as Fudizgud stated and go to the website. I print out the complete inventories for the vintages I'm interested in, and then research them first. Oddly, I've yet to find one that was not in the store. Many are in the back, not on display, but I leave with them. The fact you can just walk in and pick up a great, mature Burgundy anytime blows my mind. That is not the case in most wine stores.

                  Weygandts also has an outstanding selection of Burgundys from highly regarded, small producers. They are just not mature yet, and my ability to be patient enough to wait is in serious doubt -). To spend the prices Burgundy commands, and then open it before it's mature is a true sin in my opinion.

                  1. re: KevinS

                    Yeah, MacArthur's inventory looks great, thanks for the tip.

              2. If you happen to be near Chevy Chase Circle, drop in to Magruder's Wine and Liquor shop. They are not the largest store but their manager, Ben, is fantastic. He is a CIA trained chef with extensive experience in wine purchasing. He can certainly steer you toward whatever style you are looking for.

                -----
                Magruder's Wine and Spririts
                5626 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington D.C., DC 20015

                1. Well's on York Road is not "absolutely huge," but offers unique wines with very professional service--great prices.

                  Also, Midway on Route 40 East. Very knowledgeable staff and good selection. Once again, not a huge place. They have an excellent selection of German wines--the kabinetts and spatlese's are very good. FoiGras

                  1. I'd go with Total Wine, at several locations in Virginia. (http://www.totalwine.com/) Weygandt is a terrific place, but very boutique and not a good choice for finding "representative" wine styles from all over the world. Total Wine has a good, broad selection including a lot of California wines, and the pricing is generally pretty good. I think their most glaring weakness is German wines (for which you'd do better at many of the higher-end shops in DC). But if you're looking for a broad, worldwide selection of representative styles as a basis for tastings, I think Total is the way to go.

                    1. Any of the Costco stores in VA, but especially the ones in Leesburg and Sterling. Stupendous wine selection that changes constantly. The prices are the best in the area, so folks are standing by ready to scoop it up by the case as it hits the shelves. Maryland law doesn't permit alcohol sales in Costco or other grocery stores (which is damned inconvenient for us Freestaters), but it's worth the drive over the bridge.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: flavrmeistr

                        Neither Costco nor Total is a place where you are likely to get great stuff buying at random.

                        Costco specializes in large production wines and closeouts. Not my idea of stupendious, but you can get good values. I have also sen really indifferent wines. Antd the local staff seems to know nothing. So Buyer beware. But you can score big time!

                        Total Wine is an "Everything to Everyone" experience, and their recommendations can reflect the pressures the sales folk are under to move the wines thay are long on in inventory. Again, you can score great wines and stupid good prices or get supermarket crud for a few cents less. They do have some really good wine specialists on the floor who if you develop a relationship with can give you incredible help.

                        Arowwine {Glebe & lee highway vicinity} and Schneiders {Cap Hill} are quirky stores full of passionate folk but neither are in the "largest" category.

                        1. re: fudizgud

                          Schneider's on Mass Ave, NE, may look small, but they have a 15,000 square foot warehouse with over 12,000 wines ranging from $5 up, up, up. If it's not on the shelf in the retail outlet, they can get it for you.
                          http://www.cellar.com/aboutus.aspx

                      2. Thanks for all the great suggestions! Admittedly I know some of them well... I go to Beltway, Corridor, Wells (and the Wine Source) fairly regularly, and yes, Beltway and Corridor are pretty big.

                        The problem I've run into is something like this... today I stopped by Corridor, and one of the things I was looking for was a red Rhone wine - choosing from a list of wines from Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, St. Joseph, or Cote-Rotie. Although Corridor has a decent-sized Rhone section, it is full of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Cotes du Rhone, and Vacqueyras - likely the cheaper wines - and it has virtually nothing at all from the regions I listed, definitely nothing on my list. That's very typical - Corridor is big but its selection is not as good as I would expect.

                        That makes MacArthur Beverages seem very interesting - it makes me think a big store might be the wrong approach. Do they really have most of the stuff on their website in stock, or does it typically need to be ordered?

                        Given wines like the ones above, are there any stores that might have a better in-store selection than the Corridor Wines of the world? Any closer to Baltimore would be helpful too, although DC is fine... Thanks!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: fedhillfoodie

                          Schneider's has a bunch of Hermitage and St. Joseph. Check their website to see if they're what you're seeking. http://www.cellar.com/inventory_categ...

                          This is a terrific store. Once you connect with one of their good wine people, you'll be very happy.
                          They let their steady customers know about bargains and their prices are excellent to start with.
                          From Baltimore, this is an easy shot. Capitol Hill is right of the Baltimore Washington Parkway. Just don't take the NY Ave. exit. Use the East Capitol Street exit by RFK.

                          1. re: MakingSense

                            Schneider's is outstanding. I can't believe I forgot to mention them. It is mandatory to check the website if in search of older wines. They have a great selection of mature Bordeaux's, and it looks like they have some good Burgs also. They make two warehouse runs a day.

                        2. I concur in the posts on Schneiders. I've been going there for years. I'd rather drive there from NoVa than go to the vast, impersonal aisles of Total Wine. The staff at Schneiders is great, knowledgeable, and fun. They usually always have something open to taste in "the back room." And if you're serious about some wine, oftimes they will even open a bottle for you to taste. (No Lafite or Petrus, but...) I went in there a couple weeks after I had a successful surgery and they even opened a bottle of champagne - the real stuff, no Spanish cava. Develop a relationship with Schneiders. You'll be glad you did.

                          1. You might want to check out The Wine Source in Hampden

                            http://www.the-wine-source.com/

                            -----
                            Hampden Cafe
                            4800 Hampden Ln Ste 103, Bethesda, MD 20814

                            1. Midway Liquors on Route 40 is Pretty Big, albeit not *absolutely huge.* I dont shop for particular bottles, but love to explore. So I cannot speak to their availability of say, a particular bottle of x.

                              I can say with much authority the staff is very knowledgeable, have lots of great foreign bottles, often at better prices than Beltway, great hours, there is an attached tavern and a there is a pit beef stand in the parking lot.

                              1. Have you tried Perfect Pour in Elkridge? Though not huge, they have a wide-ranging selection and a knowledgeable, enthusiastic staff. Great source for craft beers as well.
                                http://www.perfectpourcolumbia.com/in...