This new store is easy to find, not too far off Route 60. There is parking available on the street. As they are new, it looks like they still have not added a sign outside the store but I am sure it will come soon. You can tell from the outside though that this store is larger than the Winchester one.
Inside, you definitely notice that this store is larger than Winchester. It is also has an excellent decor, with dark wood wine racks. It is quite an appealing looking store, very professional. There are some empty racks as they still are stocking the store.
There is a very good selection of wine available and many more wines are on the way. You can find wines from all the usual wine regions, as well as some much less common regions, including Lebanon, Georgia (not the U.S. state), Hungary, and Israel. Few wine stores have wines from some of those less common regions. I should note that they even had 9 different Portuguese wines and I bought two of them.
Prices are average and on line with the Winchester store. But, you should be able to find some more higher-end wines in Belmont. There are plenty of inexpensive wines there too, but there will be a greater selection of expensive wines too.
On the right side of the store they have a refrigerator case for beers and chilled wines, as well as a case for hard liquors. There are also several cases for gourmet foods. Some of these foods are similar to the ones available in Winchester while others appear new to this store. There is some gourmet food available in other parts of the store as well, including frozen appetizers.
I did pick up a few interesting items including an all-natural Vodka pasta sauce, some Cabernet Sauvignon-flavored linguine, and a couple small bags of Gouda flavored popcorn.
As in the Winchester store, they also have a large cheese counter with a wide variety of cheeses from all over the world. It is a very enticing counter, especially if you are like me and greatly enjoy cheese.
For the Grand Opening, they had a free tasting of about thirteen wines. Nick Cobb of Vineyard Road Imports (shown above) presided over the tasting. Nick is very personable and passionate about wine.
At today's tasting, my favorite wines were:
2006 Prendo Pinot Grigio, Italy ($12.99): Though I am not usually a fan of Pinot Grigio, I did enjoy this one. It was crisp, mild and had some interesting apple flavors. A good value at this price.
2005 Bouley Volnay "Clos de la Cave", France ($44.99): Yes, this is not a cheap wine but it is a very serious wine. This Burgundy comes from an excellent vintage and is a powerful wine with dark berry flavors and lots of spice, especially a bit of cinnamon on its long finish. It seems a bit harsh but I think it simply needs some aging. I think this wine has a lot of potential.
2005 Domaine de Duerre Vinsobres, France ($22.99): This is a Rhone style wine, a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. This was a light wine with strong mineral notes, strawberry and almost floral flavors. I was surprised as I expected a heartier, spicier wine. It definitely was intriguing and something worth checking out.
2005 Rosenblum Zinfandel, Maggie's Reserve, California ($49.99): This is a big, muscular wine with lots of spice. This certainly is a wine for a thick steak or large roast. It has lots of complexity and a long finish. It is well balanced and worth its price.
There will be regular wine tastings at this store although the schedule has not yet been posted. There may be separate beer tastings as well. All of the wines at these tastings will be discounted 20%.
I was impressed with this new wine store. It is a large and attractive store, with an excellent selection of wines, beers and gourmet foods. This is the type of place that is worth a drive to check their selection. I will definitely be returning there and probably will even lead a group of the North Shore Winers to one of their future tastings.
See you there!
448 Common Street