Living in Canada we are dominated by liquor board monopolies. Always amazed on my travels to check out the better prices and the better accessibility of wines elsewhere.
In France the taxes are high but still lots of wines available and often you can find quality bargains at rock bottom prices. In Bordeaux wine is for sale everywhere including spiral staircase show piece L’Intendant across from the Grand Theatre. In Paris wine for sale at many outlets including Nicolas and the now over 10 year old Lavinia with their vast selection on Blvd. de la Madeleine. Lots of the usual traditional wine shops but I continue to be surprised by the increasing expansion of wine departments in other stores. The three “Grands Magasins” carry wine – Au Printemps, Galeries Lafayette, and Bon Marche (including 1852 Gruaud Larose for 27,000E a bottle displayed among the new release First Growths) – but also now a better selection at the popular grocery chains of Franprix, Carrefour, and Monoprix (really enjoyed their NV Le Mesnil Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Champagne for outstanding value of 22.50E). Another “electronics” shop with great wine prices but a limited inventory that I used both last year and this year is C Discount on the Left Bank in the 7th at 63 rue de Bac ( just down from another wine store Ryst Dupeyron at #79). Henry de Valbert NV Champagne from Mareuil-sur-Ay very drinkable and discounted to 12.64E a bottle, aged 2004 La Chablisienne 1er cru Cote de Lechet Chablis 14.94E and the enjoyable fruit of vintage 2009 Nuits-Saint-Georges Vieilles Vignes Domaine de Gramont 20.40E.
I raise this question of where do you buy most of your wine? What are some of the most important factors for you in making your choice: Proximity to home or office, very competitive pricing, knowledgeable service staff, wide wine choice availability, access to the display of product, easy parking, good facilities and storage temperature ….?
We all know now that when buying older wine at auction the buyer beware – “caveat emptor” – principle certainly applies.
Where do you recommend we shop for wine when we are visiting your city?
The best two places in Baltimore, Maryland to buy wine are in my opinion:
Pinehurst Wine Shoppe, 6242 Bellona Avenue, 410-435-5200. Ask for Bob Schindler and tell him you want the Jim Gabler discount.
The Wine Source, 3601 Elm Avenue, 401-467-7777. Ask for Paul Cudone and tell him you want the Jim Gabler discount.
Bob and Paul are very wine knowledgeable and nice guys.