A great meal is made even more memorable with a great bottle of wine - a bold Cabernet Sauvignon for that perfectly cooked steak, a great bottle of Shiraz to go with those sweet and spicy barbecued ribs, a beautiful Pinot Noir to enhance an earthy dish of mushroom risotto, a luscious, buttery Chardonnay for that grilled salmon, or a nice Gewürztraminer to tame a spicy Asian dish. (More on pairing food and wine!
But where can you find that unique bottle of wine that will complement your meal? If you can find a local wine merchant with great customer service, shop them frequently and build a relationship with them. They will soon offer you suggestions and you will be the first to know when something new and wonderful comes into the store. If you're not lucky enough to have a great wine shop nearby, check out one of these online wine shops. They have some incredible wines for sale and excellent customer service.
Plonk Wine is a fantastically vibrant wine seller that has only been around a few years but is creating quite a stir with its selection of cheaply priced rare and artisanal wines. "The world's best wine under $30" is their motto.
Besides a very interesting selection of bottles, Plonk Wine Merchants offers very enticing monthly wine clubs including a red wine club, a white wine club, and an international/seasonal wine club, which make the perfect gift for wine enthusiasts and novices alike.
While certainly not carrying the largest selection around, each bottle is carefully selected by owner and founder Etty Lewensztain (certified by the esteemed Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and the American Sommelier Association). A cool feature of their website is the video review accompanying every single wine listed.
K & L is a well respected California based wine merchant that has been business for over 35 years. You will find a huge and delightful selection of the very best wines in every price range from all over the world.
Located in Northern California, K & L has developed a special relationship with many of the most famous wineries there. This translates into great prices for their customers. They also find new and upcoming wines in the region that they predict will be hot. The staff at K & L also travels to Europe buying wine directly from the producers. No middlemen mean better prices for their customers.
K & L also has a very fine selection of spirits - everything from whiskey and vodka to grappa and absinthe.
Chambers Street Wines specializes in naturally made wine from artisanal small producers. Located in New York City, CSW was one of the first recipients of the Slow Food NYC Snail of Approval, for their "contributions to the quality, authenticity and sustainability of the food we eat and the beverages we drink in the city of New York". Every wine in stock is tasted before being recommended to you.
Chambers has a delightful selection of wines and you should definitely check them out if you want to find something out of the ordinary. They carry stellar wines from all over the world and are fairly priced. Many of their wines are labeled natural, organic or biodynamic.
They also have a wonderful selection of spirits and a delicious menu of sakes.
Be sure to check out the staff recommendations for some great finds!
The Cellars Wine Club is full of sophistication and class. A very fine company with a thoughtful assortment of wine. Their wine-the-month clubs are quite extraordinary and a delightful way for both novices and connoisseurs to try new wines. They have a great assortment of monthly clubs to please every palate - single bottle wine club, high end single bottle wine, premium wine club, red trio wine club, platinum wine club, sweet wine club, champagne wine club, cellars wine club, international wine club, west coast wine club, 90+ wine club, quarterly case wine club and half case wine club.
Yes, this is the same folks that produce the Zagat Survey for restaurants every year. Zagat started out 30 years ago as a wine tasting group, so it's only natural they should get in the wine business. The wine side of the business, however, is overseen by Tony Laithwaite over in the UK. Mr. Laithwaite is highly regarded in the wine world and has put small producers and estates on the map.
Zagat Wines has a huge selection of very nice wines from all over the world - most priced under $30, available by the bottle, half case, or case. They also have a very fine wine club that can save you big money. Unlike some clubs, you will know exactly what wines are included before delivery.
Accidents will happen. Wine bottles break, labels get stained, labels are even sometimes misspelled. Retailers won't touch this stuff. The folks at the Accidental Wine Company,however,live for these moments and dash in to buy up the blemished bottles. They get the wine for a bargain and they pass on the savings to their customers. You can find wines here up to 40% off their retail prices.
The staff at the Accidental Wine Company never knows when a wine tragedy will occur or what wines will be involved, so the inventory is always changing. Be sure to come back often.
CellarThief is a very interesting wine shop that you should check out. Each day CellarThief offers only 3 wines for sale and each day those 3 wines will change. Wine #1 is priced for more special occasions, wine #2 is priced as an everyday wine, wine #3 varies in price but is unique in some way. Prices tend to average between $20 and $60 for 2 bottles.
Another cool thing about CellarThief is for every bottle sold, they donate 100 days of clean water for those who need it. If a particular wine sells out, they donate even more.
This wonderful wine shop in Corvallis, Oregon specializes in wines from Oregon and Washington state. They have been selling wines online since 1999 and you will find some real treasures here. Be sure to check out the site too for lots of great information on the wines and wineries of the Pacific Northwest.