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May 14, 2014 02:22 PM

East Bay Wine Shop with Wines that will age


I have a child born in 2011, and would like to put a case together of wine and port that will age well (for opening in 2032!).

Any suggestion of a good wine shop that might stock these types of wines and can help assemble a case?

And maybe even provide storage?

Thank you,


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  1. The best wine shop in the east bay (off the top of my head) is Kermit Lynch in Berkeley. But he mostly only carries French and Italian wines.
    I think it would be worth the trek into the city to either K&L or the Wine Club.
    I know K&L does wine storage, not sure about Wine Club.

    6 Replies
    1. re: kungful

      Kermit Lynch has a broad enough portfolio that it should be your starting point. Knowledgeable people too.

      K&L does seem to be very into port in particular, and whether you're up for a drive would determine whether you would check that out.

      1. re: kungful

        Kungful is right, and K&L (Redwood City anyway -- the original shop) offers refrigerated wine lockers in an adjacent insulated warehouse building -- though commercial wine storage like that, anywhere, is usually used and sold for increments much larger than one dozen bottles, more like 100. I have personally been aging good wines since the 1970s.

        I'd also endorse Kermit Lynch for the East Bay -- very possibly the best, CERTAINLY the most important, since Lynch was a pioneer in the direct import of quality non-cliché labels (starting with Burgundies, then Rhônes). I'd also phrase it as "And," rather than "But," he mostly carries French and Italian wines (since the greatest numbers of serious reds with good aging records available in the Bay Area are from just such regions).

        For California agers, you certainly want to eschew recent, fashionable, or "cult" wines or those surrounded by more than average idiotic chatter about "points" (a sure telltale of superficial wine enthusiasm), in favor of the several California Cabernets that put the state's industry on the map (before anyone ever heard of "points") and that have enough decades of solid history to show consistent winemaking and aging potential.

        Ask a dozen respected wine experts around the world what is the leading example of the genre I just mentioned, and I believe most or all would answer "Ridge Monte Bello" (Santa Cruz Mountains) -- demonstrating ageworthiness for 50 years, it is emphatically MADE to be aged, generally at least 10-15 years before drinking, so ideal for your purpose. The latest year is 2011 and was shipped to pre-arrival orderers early this year, but is normally released for retail only in the Fall (something to plan for)? I believe the winery will ship direct in the Bay Area, you can call with any questions, 408 867 3233,

        I can vouch extensively for Monte Bello in personal experience (though I believe the oldest I've had in recent years is only the 1964). It also showed very well in the historic French 1976 Spurrier and 1979 Gault-Millau international blind tastings, and the celebrated 2006 Spurrier re-match blind tasting.

        1. re: eatzalot

          The current Monte Bello release is the 2010.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            "The current Monte Bello release is the 2010."

            -- Addressed in more detail above in an edit while you were posting. In fact, those of us who ordered it in advance got the 2011 a couple of months ago, but in the usual cycle, Ridge releases it to the general market later in the year. At which point, Marc could get it and add it to the case. Best to call the winery directly and discuss; contact info added above.

            1. re: eatzalot

              Some retailers sell the current release at a discount.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Yes; so once it's released to the general market around the Fall, that would be an option too. But if the OP here is at all interested in Ridge, a word with the winery would be a natural start (among other things, they control the retail release, and I've always found the office very helpful and reasonable).

                The winery itself discounts retail MB deeply, _if_ you commit to ordering it three years in advance, which of course doesn't fit all customers.

      2. Lucky kid. 2011 is the most recent and best vintage for Port in a long time. The 2011 Vintage Ports are available from many producers at many price levels. In 15-20 years they will be at their best, so stash them away at home for now. Whether or not your offspring turns out to be a Port appreciator or not, you will have a fabulous reminder of a momentous year.
        K&L in SF or RWC, Spanish Table in Berkeley or Mill Valley, Trade Rite in SJ, Sousas in Fremont and Santa Clara all have a good selection.

        1 Reply
        1. re: flavorenhancer

          Second the Port and K&L suggestions. Since Port is more a standalone pleasure, for meat-friendly bottles, perhaps consider the 2011 Amarone vintage that is reportedly to be investment worthy.

        2. The first two places I'd consider are Kermit Lynch and North Berkeley Wine (mostly French and Italian).

          1. I believe Farmstead has some wines that would age that long. They'd probably be cheaper than Kermit or North Berkeley.

            Kermit wines are usually cheaper if purchased elsewhere, though some aren't available elsewhere.

            If price is no object, Premier Cru or JJ Buckley.

              1. re: wolfe

                Premier Cru is popular among people who have not yet run up against either the owner's notions of business ethics, or the occasionally regrettable people he hires. A certain fraction of serious wine geeks around the Bay Area could characterize themselves as "recovering" former PC regulars. These are things I have experience with: I was among his first and most loyal customers. (It is a point very hard to get across to other PC customers who don't yet know about the sides of the business I refer to here, and who therefore defend the place.)

                For the genres that PC is known for, such as quality Burgundies, several other Bay Area wine shops serve the same market well, and treat their customers professionally.

                1. re: eatzalot

                  No need to beat around the bush, Premier Cru's early failings have been discussed here in the distant past, such as employee attitude, gray market imports, failing to deliver futures, not taking back corked wines,

                  More recent experiences are always welcome.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    Thanks Melanie. I didn't know of CH discussions; similar and worse surfaced on at least four popular wine-focused internet forums. Sometimes prompting resilient defensiveness from other customers whose acquaintance with PC was not (yet) as thorough as they thought.

                    Unacceptable as are episodes like snobbery and failing to take back defective bottles, before Chowhound existed I learned of a case far more disturbing, and when I confronted the owner, he acknowledged it with a cynical shrug, affirming that the problem started at the top. Consequently I'm unlikely to offer any more recent experiences.

                  2. re: eatzalot

                    I'll have to ask my friend from Socal who used to buy from them and would drive up to pick up his wine. I don't have any other contact with them but was only correcting Robert Lauriston's post which suggested Grand Cru which I thought was a typo but was afraid to point out for fear i would be accused of flaming or defaming Mr. L. I see he corrected it.

                    1. re: wolfe

                      I still buy from Premier Cru on occasion as do other collectors I know, and I'm pretty serious about wine. ;)

                      But I do it with eyes wide open.