Shopping, Wine & liquor, Beverages
Michael Friedwald has a store full of wines you've probably never heard of, which is exactly how he planned it.
"Most people buy wines from brands that they are familiar with," said the owner of this three-month-old store. "But these are wineries that pump out ten, twenty-thousand cases so that they can be in every store -- and the wines tend to be rather cookie-cutter." Friedwald's mission is to introduce customers to the world of small-production wines. He calls them "esoteric," but don't let that frighten you. He is "completely convinced that for half the price point of a name brand, I can deliver a far superior bottle."
Shopping at the well-appointed jewel box of a store is the polar opposite of wheeling a cart down the aisles of a wine warehouse. Friedwald stands behind a marble counter and chats with you about your wine preferences. He'll make suggestions, but you don't have to take his word for them.
Because you can taste virtually every wine in the store.
Friedwald uses a little contraption called a Coravin that inserts a tiny needle right through a bottle's foil and cork, extracts the wine and leaves behind an inert gas to prevent oxidation; the wine stays fresh for more than month. (He also sells the Coravin for $300.)
Thanks to the Coravin, I tasted a 2003 Domaine Huet Vouvray Cuvée Constance dessert wine ($179 for 500 ml) that was so delicious it made me laugh out loud.
Then I asked him to recommend a modest red for a barbecue, and he poured a taste of a lovely 2011 Domaine Saint Gayan Cotes du Rhone. "It's $17," he said, "and, like all my stuff, it way over-delivers."
Tue.-Thurs: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Fri.-Sat: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sun: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.