Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bottles & Alice Feiring

Despite these tough economic times, it seems some bold individuals are still opening new restaurants and wine shops. I have recently posted about a few of the new wine stores that have recently opened, or will be opening in the near future, and I am pleased to report on another one.

Bottles, a new wine store in the North End, opened this past July. I stopped by recently to check out the store when they were hosting an appearance (and wine tasting) by the famed wine writer Alice Feiring. I was pleased with what I found at the store and I shall return again.

The manager is Kevin Cassidy, a very personable and passionate wine lover. Their other employees, "consultants," include Kelly Coggins (who used to work at Rialto), Mike, Seth, and Alison. Most, if not all of the employees, once worked at the Wine Bottega in the North End. I have met Kelly before and he too is a very knowledgeable and passionate wine lover. They certainly have a talented and knowledgeable staff.

It was a real pleasure to meet and chat with Alice Feiring. She was extremely personable, down to earth, and genuine. In her writings, she sometimes can come off seemingly as abrasive, but I found none of that in person with her. She generously spent time chatting with many of the people who showed up for the tasting. She is an interesting conversationalist and we discussed several different wine topics. If you get a chance to meet Alice, you definitely should take the opportunity.

The shop is small yet the rectangular space is used well to present the wines and beers without seeming overcrowded. The left wall is covered by wine racks containing about 80 wines. Overall, the store may contain 120 or more different wines, as well as 50-60 assorted beers.

The right wall, where the cashier counter is located, has a smaller wine rack, where some of the more expensive wines are displayed, as well as a few books and even some olive oil. They have a single Sake, a Nigori, though may carry more in the future.

In the middle of the store is a short counter, also containing more wine selections. There still is adequate space around that center counter to walk around.

At the rear of the store is their cooler unit, where most of their beers are kept, as well as some wines. They will soon allow you to make your own six packs of beer, picking and choosing individual bottles you wish to drink. For a beer lover, that sounds like a very cool benefit, a way to sample beers you know little about, or which intrigue you.

As for their wine selection, they carry primarily small producers, many European as well as many which are organic or biodynamic. I was familiar with numerous wines they carry, and they are generally excellent wines, one that most wine lovers would enjoy. For example, at their tasting, they had compelling wines such as the 2007 Catherine & Dominique Derain Bourgogne Aligote, 2007 Occhipinti Il Frappato and 1989 Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Blanco. Prices were average for the wines they carry, and they stock a full range of price points.

The store will hold free wine tastings every Thursday night from 5pm-8pm, as well as special events at other times. With an excellent selection of wines and a passionate and knowledgeable staff, this is welcome addition for wine lovers. Please stop by and check out this new store. I will be back and maybe I will see some of my readers there.

372 Commercial Street
Boston, MA
Phone: 617-391-0021

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