Quit Your Wining

Downtown Wine & Spirits, my choice for premium beer and high end everything had their annual wine tasting and sale yesterday, so, of course, I meandered on down. They were pouring quite generously enough, and I sampled the full line from Moët & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, as well as a variety of other sparkling wines from all over the world. I hit the highlights of France, America, Italy, Spain, Chile, Argentina, Australia, and pretty much anywhere else they have figured out how to grow grapes. They were pouring wines that sold for $5 per bottle, and wines that sold for $100 per bottle. All in all a great showing.

The standout for me was a bottle called Le Cyclot or something along those lines. It was an unfiltered and unfined wine made from biodynamically grown grapes, and then of course, aged in oak. It might well be the single nicest wine I have ever tasted. It was smooth as a baby’s bottom and full of all sorts of yumminesses. Unfortunately, my wine budget doesn’t go to such premium sips, or I would have put away a case of this vintage.

Now the tasting was combined with a 20% off sale. Let me just say that the combination of lots of free wines and a fifth off the asking price is a disasterous combination for the Scribe’s wallet. In addition to a Crémant d’Alcace, I picked up a couple bottles of a nice Italian red, a  bottle of Gran Gala and a bottle of rye.

Keep up the good drinking,
The Scribe

What I Have to Work With

I have mentioned, from time to time, the package stores near me where I go buy the stuff that gets reviewed here. Since I’ve paid the vast majority of them far more than I ever have for a single bottle (which is unsurprising, given, you know, statistics), I thought, as a service my local Bostonians, I would review the six or seven liquor stores I go to, or no longer go to, in the order I visited them in.

  • Hillside Wine & Spirits (Medford: 323 Boston Ave.): This is the first liquor store I ever went to, and they tried to ensure my loyalty by bribing me with my first shaker. At the time, it was the closest packy to me. This is really just you basic neighbourhood package store. The selection is a tad better than your average neighbourhood store, but really nothing spectacular. The prices are okay, but not great, even for Massachusetts. Joan, who runs the store, is quite nice, and I still go there for kegs, but that’s the only thing to get there.
  • Downtown Wine & Spirits (Somerville: 225 Elm St.): If there’s something I absolutely can’t find, Downtown is where I go. They have lots bitters, lots of interesting high end cordials and liqueurs. However, everything they have (with the exception of some cheap vodka an rum for us college kids) is premium or ultra-premium, and thus, a bit outside my price range unless it’s my last shot. One thing I should also mention is that if a beer can make its way to Massachusetts, they have it. Interesting Belgians, local microbrews, English real ales, they’re all Downtown. I go here rarely, especially now that I found two new stores.
  • Kappy’s Liquors (Medford: 10 Revere Beach Pky.): This is the local big-box package store. Pretty standard for what it is. Decent but not stellar liquor selection. Okay beer selection. Pretty good wine selection. Pretty good prices.
  • Ball Square Fine Wines (Somerville: 716 Broadway): I discovered this local packy the other day, and it has quickly become my choice, at least for short notice quick stuff. Their liquor selection is exactly what I am looking for, though they’re a bit shy on rum. Friendly, helpful staff, excellent prices, and wonderful selection: I’m in love. They have El Dorado 15, Mount Gay XO, and the list goes on. Lots of interesting stuff.
  • Liquor World (Cambridge: 13 White St.): I just discovered this store today, and, as the name suggests, they have lots of liquors, for wonderful prices. Wine and beer are pretty awful, and the service sucks, but this is where I will go for most liquors.

If it’s not on the list, and it’s not Main St. Liquors in Medford, and it’s in the area between Medford Square and Harvard Square, I’ve probably been there, and it’s not good enough to get a full review. I’ve been to DOMA, Harvard Fine Wines and Harvard Wine & Spirits, and they’re all pretty bad.

Let me know about any other goodies,

The Scribe