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alan7147

Favorite Wine Stores

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If you had to pick a wine shop (this goes for price, selection, customer service and storage quality) in the greater DC area, which would it be? I have most consistently gone to CW over the past couple of years with visits Magruders, Schneiders of Cap Hill, CC Wine & Spirits, Pearson's & Circle.

I found the Magruders to have good prices on certain bottles (i.e. Allegrini Palazzo della Torre for $14.99) but not very good customer service. CW has nice a Bordeaux and Burgandy selection and good weekly deals, but it gets so cramped there sometimes. Pearsons has a very friendly and knowledgeable staff, but their prices are very high. CC Wine & Spirits has some occasional good deals in their Monday Post ads, but the store always seems dirty to me. I have not been to Wide World of Wines, but have heard good things about them...especially their Champagnes.

Edited by alan7147

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We use Schneiders for work events so I often stop there. I've had some good luck with Bell on M Street and the McLean Total Wine. CW makes me nuts--too crowded, too loud, too smelly. But it is right around the corner from home and if I can find someone they usually can find what I'm looking for.

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we probably buy 90% of our wine at CW and deal with Pepe who usually steers us in the right direction - its close to our house, albeit not as close as Ch Ch Liquors but we haven't been back since some arrogant little twerp there insulted my wife and daughter - pity, as I love their beer selection

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If I could only shop at one store it would be Wide World on Wisconsin. The staff, is as knowledgable as you can find, the selection is light on California wines, but one of the best Bordeaux, Rhone, Aussie, Champange, Spanish selections in country.

The free Saturday tastings are all done out of glasses, no plastic. Also, the wines that are tasted can range in price from the low teens to over $100. Also unlike Pearson's, CW, or Schneiders it is an easy store to browse, with a low pressure friendly staff. I could go one, but I am drinking a free bottle of '04 Amon Ra that was left over from last Saturday's tasting.

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I live near MacArthur Beverages, and have been shopping there more frequently, now that they take Amex, my credit card of choice. It's easy to browse there, and their inventory is huge--especially France and Italy. Their consultants are very knowledgeable and friendly. The time to shop there is when they have sales. There's almost always a tasting on Saturday afternoon.

Rodman's in Friendship Heights has a very eclectic selection from around the world, and seems to focus primarily on lower-priced wines. How was an $8 pinot noir from Roumania made by a winemaker from Burgundy? Not bad. Lots of stuff from South America, South Africa, Spain, Portugal, even Russia. I just wish it wasn't so cramped--it's a challenge to browse, but I almost always find interesting things there. The two guys who run the wine dept. have been there for years, and are very helpful. They've tasted most of what they sell and can talk about and compare various wines you may be considering.

I also like Paul's, across the street from Rodman's, which has good sales, although their selection is smaller than some other places. They will always match other stores' sale prices, if you can quote them. They have tastings on Friday evenings and have very good mixed case discounts.

Arrowine in Arlington is an occasional stop for me. Doug Rosen is very passionate about wine. If you've seen Mondovino, he's very much in the Neal Rosenthal camp, and hates the "international" style, fruit-forward wines that I happen to like, though he sells them. I like Doug, even though he refers to fruit-bomb Aussie Shirazes as "pancake syrup". They have good e-mail sales. I don't buy much there because they don't take Amex. I love their cheese and deli department.

I also go to Total in McLean, Magruder's, and Wide World of Wine.

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I really like Tony and Mike at Cleveland Park Wine & Spirits across from the Uptown Theater. No pretention, always something interesting open to taste, lots of good values, and lots of interesting, esoteric, boutique-ish wines. They do quite a few interesting wine dinners as well.

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I can't see limiting myself to one store, except I'm trying to limit myself to just my allocation lists (it isn't working). I really enjoy the selection and service at McArthurs and Schneiders. Potomic Wine in Georgetown is where I go to get wine for Passover, and the Wine Specialist has some interesting things, but they are very pricy. However, one should never complain about prices in DC until they have tried to shop for fine wines in Montgomery County.

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DC has a large number of good stores. Of the ones mentioned, I shop Mcarthur's and occasionallySchneiders.

Tony and Mike are neighbors in Cleveland Park and I love their eclectic approach. They champion small independent distributors which I love. I also like Circle and Mr. Kumar. He has a good palate and their selection is well balanced with the exception of Germany and Alsace. They also have some great spirits as well.

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Indeed, Kumar is great -

Next time you are in there, get him talking about his garden - he has an amazing green thumb!

I also like the Vineyard VA in McLean - good ol' Jim Arsenault is running the show and has an amazing knowledge of wines and what is cool, tasty, hip, affordable, etc.....

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I moved here a couple of months ago from NY and I have yet to find a wine store that has someone who is enthusiastic about Gruner Veltliner and Reislings. Most stores I have been to have, say, four reislings and one or two GVs.

I had a favorite wine store called "Nancy's Wine for Food" ; Nancy was advised by the guy who wrote "The Wine Avenger" which is only about 100 pages and is pretty funny, by the way. In any event, I miss it and look forward to finding an enthusiast at a wine shop (it's not CW; I've tried) or at a restaurant. Thanks!

Edited by MeMc

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I moved here a couple of months ago from NY and I have yet to find a wine store that has someone who is enthusiastic about Gruner Veltliner and Reislings.   Most stores I have been to have, say, four reislings and one or two GVs.  

I had a favorite wine store called "Nancy's Wine for Food" ; Nancy was advised by the guy who wrote "The Wine Avenger" which is only about 100 pages and is pretty funny, by the way.  In any event, I miss it and look forward to finding an enthusiast at a wine shop (it's not CW; I've tried) or at a restaurant.  Thanks!

John Wabeck at Firefly was pouring some nice Gruner at his wined down happy hour recently.

edited to add: And welcome to DR.com MeMc.

Edited by Jacques Gastreaux

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I moved here a couple of months ago from NY and I have yet to find a wine store that has someone who is enthusiastic about Gruner Veltliner and Reislings.  Most stores I have been to have, say, four reislings and one or two GVs.

I moved away from DC about 10 months ago, but unless things have changed significantly, you should be able to find a good selection of rieslings at these two stores:

Schneider's

MacArthur (carries Terry Thiese selections)

Both stores post their wine selections online. Circle (on Conn Ave south of Chevy Chase Circle) has a decent selection of new world rieslings as well; not so great a German collection though.

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I've been shopping for wine at the retail level more frequently these days (I buy a lot off of wine mailing lists direct from small production wineries, like dinwiddie) since I have fallen hard for Brunellos and Italian wines in general. I usually head to MacArthur's but I also like Circle. CW is usually too crowded and cramped to my liking. I keep meaning to head to Schneider's or WOW on Wisconsin, but I keep forgetting to get there. Cecile's Fine Wine in Mclean is good too. I just recently went to Arrowine for the first time and I liked it well enough.

Up in Howard County, I can recommend Jason's on Rte 40 and Decanter in Hickory Ridge.

I only ever shop at the Total Wine-owned Corridor Wine in Laurel (close to my home) for cheap wines. Otherwise I avoid it like the plague.

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Hi, everyone. New member here -- posting for the first time and glad to be part of this group.

I'm surprised to see that Bell Wine & Spirits on M Street hasn't been mentioned. The staff is very helpful (especially Bo) and the selection is pretty good. It also doesn't hurt that it's practically across the street from my office, making it the most accessible wine shop in town.

Hands down, the best place in this area (I'm extending the DC area to include Annapolis) is Wine Cellars of Annapolis on Forest Drive. For those of you within easy driving distance, or those who are willing to travel to Annapolis, I promise this place will be worth the trip. They specialize in smaller producers from around the world and the inventory changes all the time. The folks at Wine Cellars have taught me so much about wine and have developed my appreciation for lesser-known affordable wines from all over the world.

Along with its fantastic staff, what sets Wine Cellars apart from the others is a willingness to open lots of wine and let you TASTE it before you buy. Every Saturday, they host a complimentary tasting focused on a region or a grape or a style -- and they always have a dozen or so bottles open for customers to sample.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. It really is a fantastic place. And, no, I am not affiliated in any way. I just spend a frightening portion of my income there. :P

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Welcome Lola. Sounds like a great place. Care to share the names of some of your favorites?

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Welcome Lola. Sounds like a great place. Care to share the names of some of your favorites?

Thank you for the nice welcome, Joe!

Oh -- there are so many wonderful wines Wince Cellars has introduced me to. Let me think...for whites, I'd have to say Ken Forrester's Petit Chenin, Lawsons Dry Hills Sauvignon Blanc, Moreson Chenin Blanc, Yalumba Viognier, Alice et Olivier De Moor Chablis Rosette...

For reds, Domaine du Dragon, Los Planos Grandes Vinos Y Vinedos Syrah, Summers Merlot, White Cottage Risa Cab, Bacio Divino Proprietary Red...

There are just SO MANY! I'm looking forward to the Fattorio Paradiso tasting this Saturday...

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I know that this is slightly off of the topic that I started in relation to DC wine stores, but as far as buying wine online I really like Wine Exchange...good prices and selection. I have them ship to my office since I live in Bethesda and you all know how shitty MD is when it comes to getting wine via mail.

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I'm surprised to see that Bell Wine & Spirits on M Street hasn't been mentioned.  The staff is very helpful (especially Bo) and the selection is pretty good.  It also doesn't hurt that it's practically across the street from my office, making it the most accessible wine shop in town.

Once a month, the guys from Bell's would do a complete tasting at the Borders books on L Street. Do they still do that? I went once to an Alsace tasting. For little plastic cups, it was done pretty well.

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Good list. A couple of comments (since you asked): Cicrcle has a good selection but Kumar is not concerned about temperature control. We had a "discussion" after I brought several bottles back that had been heated and he initially resisted replacing them. Later I noticed he had purchased a chiller in which he keeps some of his higher end wines but the store is still quite warm so be careful about buying bottles that have been on the shelf for a while. I don't find the staff that knowledgeable about wine. Schneiders is quite good about opening bottles for you to try and if Rick Gunderson(co-owner with his brother) is in the house sometimes you get the chance to taste something special-a 70 year Armagnac comes to mind. Terri is also a good guy to talk to about wine, I been generally pleased with his recommendations. Pearsons also will open wines to try-ask for the email price (and get on the list-lots of everyday wines at good prices). I would not recommend having out of region wine delivered in Maryland as I know of deliveries that have been confiscated. DC is fine as the city has more important issues than determining whether you are exceeeding your limits and now VA ok as well. MacArthurs good but wait for the sales; their staff overall may be the best in town as far as wine knowledge. CW good-get the online coupon for great discounts on all the items they sell. Magruders was much more competitive before they moved to their new location. VA has several good stores and half the sales tax of DC, I just don't get out there much. Arrowwine has an excellent reputation, again get on the email list. In fact, almost all the stores have regular emails with sale information and specials so that's a good way to get the best prices.

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Up that way for business yesterday, I stopped in at State Line in Elkton, MD. From the outside, this roadhouse on a divided highway looks like the "Budweiser and Jack Daniel's Emporium", but inside there's a fairly decent wine store. Good prices and decent selection, but nothing to truly recommend it. However, the Belgian beer selection is of note-- an entire aisle full, including some hard-to-find stuff.

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If you like Aussie wines, Wide World of Wines in Glover Park is unsurpassed. And the staff is very friendly and helpful. Since Heritage India--just up the street--is one of our favorites, we usually combine a trip to WWOW and a dinner at Heritage.

Living in Silver Spring, the most convenient wine stores--fagettabout Montgomery County--are Circle and Paul's. I've been going to Paul's more and more, as they have internet specials and always give me very fair prices. I've gotten some terrific Spanish wines there of late--Parker 90+ in the $10-15

range.

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If I could only shop at one store it would be Wide World on Wisconsin.  The staff, is as knowledgable as you can find, the selection is light on California wines, but one of the best Bordeaux, Rhone, Aussie, Champange, Spanish selections in country.

The free Saturday tastings are all done out of glasses, no plastic.  Also, the wines that are tasted can range in price from the low teens to over $100.  Also unlike Pearson's, CW, or Schneiders it is an easy store to browse, with a low pressure friendly staff.  I could go one, but I am drinking a free bottle of '04 Amon Ra that was left over from last Saturday's tasting.

I agree. Eliot and Hugo never steer you wrong.

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Not in DC but one of my favorites is the Winery on South Washington Street in Old Town, Alexandria. Owned and ran by Jane Cahill with assistance from her sister and mother at times. Jane has been in business for about seven years now and has a good knowledge of wine and her prices are within reason.

There is always a dog or two and a cat around making for a very relzxed buying experience and/or tasting.

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