Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
Jul 27, 2011 02:58 PM

Wine Shop with great selection of French Bordeaux wines...

We just moved to the Chicago area (South Loop) and we're looking for a wine shop with a great selection of French wines- specifically Bordeaux wines. We also enjoy Sancerres and noticed that there are more stores carrying them in the last five years. Any suggestions of wine shops with a knowledgeable and helpful staff would be appreciated!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Just to rule out the obvious - Have you tried Binny's at Jefferson and Roosevelt yet?

    7 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      Yes, we've tried it and we saw some decent stuff but even the manager admitted they need to increase their selection. One of their staff members asked if she could help me find something and when I asked about their Bordeaux section she hesitated. Then she asked me if I was looking for wine. I shouldn't assume everyone knows about Bordeaux but I'd like to go someplace where I can learn more about it myself.

      That said, we tried a Sancerre (Chavignol) 2008 from Clos La Neore- Edmond Vatan and it was excellent! Unfortunately, that was their last bottle...

      1. re: nedai

        Warehouse Liquors
        634 S. Wabash Ave.
        I have only shopped here for whiskey and beer, but if the quality of their whiskey/beer inventory is any indication, I would expect that they would have great wine, too. It's not a big a shop and I've found that some staff members are much friendlier/knowledgeable than others, but it's still worth a shot.

        1257 S. Halsted St.
        I usually visit their West Town location, but I can't imagine there's too much difference between the three. Great, knowledgeable staff with a wide selection of unusual/off the beaten path options.

        131 N. Clinton St. - or - 53 E. Lake St.
        If you're willing to head into the Loop, I'd make a beeline for Pastoral. Their French Market location is larger and has a wider selection, so I'd head there over the Lake St. location if I was going to make one trip.

        Warehouse Liquors
        634 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL

        1. re: danimalarkey

          >> Their French Market location is larger and has a wider selection, so I'd head there over the Lake St. location if I was going to make one trip.

          The French Market also offers validated parking.

          Pastoral still has its original location in Lakeview as well.

          1. re: nsxtasy

            Maybe there was another wine area there that we missed?! We went on the weekend and the service was slow but the sandwiches great. Perhaps another try since like you said, they validate. Thanks.

          2. re: danimalarkey

            I'm going to try the first two but I think we've been to Pastoral before... We've definitely been to the French Market and the sandwiches at the shop in the back corner, I think it was at Pastoral were very good! The wine area and selection seemed limited and the guy behind the counter seemed upset about being woken up so I didn't bother asking him if he could step to the wine counter area. Maybe I'll look again...

            1. re: nedai

              I will not argue that Pastoral's sandwiches are great -- they are some of my favorite in the city!

              I have found the service to suffer at the Lake St. location when they get slammed with sandwich/food orders (such as before a concert at Millennium Park). I wouldn't want to try and ask about wine at that point. That's a shame to hear, though, that the service was lacking when you were at the French Market location. I could imagine that on weekends, when foot traffic is a little lower in that complex, they reduce the amount of staff. Still, like I said, that's too bad to hear.

              All of which is a long way of saying that I'd give them another shot. Don't be afraid to ask! They might be willing to work with you to special order something, or give you additional ideas. While Binny's does have a large selection, generall, and many locations, I always find their customer service to be lacking. Smaller shops, like Warehouse Liquors, Pastoral and LUSH, really excel in that area and, for me, make the slightly higher prices more worthwhile.

              If you're willing to travel even further, House of Glunz (1206 North Wells St.), Noble Grape (802 North Bishop St. - located next door to LUSH's West Town location, actually), West Lakeview Liquors ( 2156 West Addison St.), and In Fine Spirits (5420 North Clark St.) all come to mind. I'm sure there are plenty more quality wine shops, but these are just some of my favorites.

              Warehouse Liquors
              634 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL

              House of Glunz
              1206 N Wells St, Chicago, IL

              In Fine Spirits
              5420 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640

              West Lakeview Liquors
              2156 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60618

              1. re: nedai

                Pastoral is definitely in a corner. It's the back corner if you enter from the train station; it's on your left when you walk in if you enter from Clinton Street.

        2. Not close to you, but you might want to check out Knightsbridge WIne Shoppe in Northbrook, just off the Edens. Quite a lot of Bordeaux and Burgundies. You can check their website inventory before taking a drive up there.

          1. You might be a bit premature in dismissing Binny's. (In fact, 2010 Bordeaux futures are on sale right now). Their website is fantastic and anything you order can be shipped to your local store for pick-up. My husband has been buying and collecting wine for 30+ years and has found Binny's to be a good resource. If you are a serious drinker and/or collector, be persistent in seeking out a knowledgeable staff member. They do exist. You might also investigate more on-line resources (Lot 18 for example); wine can be shipped to Illinois, and that is often the only way to locate a particular wine. Lastly, although Old World wines are great, don't let that discourage you from investigating what the New World has to offer. Some of the best wine country in the world is right here in the U.S.

            4 Replies
            1. re: dulcie54

              Absolutely. And, maybe even more to the point, not every Binnys was created equal. If the South Loop location didn't have what you wanted, I'd head north a little to their Lincoln Park store (1720 N. Marcey). I don't know if it's their largest location, but it's still pretty massive. Staff can be hard to track down, so I'd start with the Information Desk and go from there.

              1. re: danimalarkey

                Yes, I was going to suggest going to Marcey. You may also want to be a bit more specific. There are many wines that come from Bordeaux; from everyday clarets to Chateau d'Yqem.

                1. re: dulcie54

                  This is great... lots of good suggestions. Once we head back into town, I'll be visiting some of the recommended stores, including Binny's in Lincoln Park. As far as being specific- I tend to prefer the St. Emilion region but I do like a lot of the left bank regions like Margaux, St. Julien & Pauillac as well. Maybe I'm not being specific then so I need to look back at some of our noted chateaux. I'm serious about drinking good wine but I'm not a serious drinker yet. The collection is a goal of mine as soon as I find that knowledgeable staffer and a nice cave to store them in...

                  1. re: nedai

                    I highly recommend The Chicago Wine Company and Hart Davis Hart for on-line and auction purchases. They don't have shops but many great wines and expertise.

            2. The following additional places were recommended in another topic at

              Fine Wine Brokers in Lincoln Square -
              Wine Discount Centers on Elston -