a research trip to new york city - zagat's top 10 wine shops

as you know, traveling for me is a good opportunity to ressource and to learn something new.  and so, on my last trip to new york city, i decided to take a day and visit as many wine shops on the zagat top 10 list as i could. 

i found some pretty interesting things in each of those that i visited but because time did not permit, i did not go to brooklyn.

here is some notes i gathered when i visited them and some of those are supplemented by the comments in zagat, which by the way was an excellent book to have on hand. 

according to the zagat new york city gourmet shopping + entertaining 2009, the top 10 wine shops were as follow:


1- moore brothers:

33 east 20th street, tel 212 375 1575

a great source of french and italian wines from small producers.  the people at moore are very concerned about keeping the integrity of the wines during transportation and once in their shop.  such is their beleifs that the shop is kept at 12 degree celcius and offer customers some sweaters t keep warm while shopping.  they have a 2nd floor where they hold tastings + events.




2- bottle rocket wine + spirit:

5 west 19th street, tel. 212-929-2323

funky little store where wines from international sources are grouped together by theme, mainly related to food pairing.  there are selections for chicken, beef, fish dishes, and also for spicy, asian, and other types of exotic food.  they also group the wines by gifts suggestions, best for the unitiated, and other "educational" themes.   there is also a good spirit section in the store.



3- vino:

121 east 27th street, tel 212-725-6516

as you might have guessed, they focus on italian wines.  all regions of italy are well represented and 70% are served in their sister restaurant "I trulli". here, they care about quality and authenticity with prices to match. they also carry quite a few liqueurs for before and after the meals.






4- le dû's wines:

600 washington street, tel. 212-924-6999 

a little pricey and managed by a former french sommelier, this place has a great reputation for great sources and quality line-up.  they have weekly wine tastings on premise.


5- sherry-lehmann:

505 park avenue, tel. 212-838-7500

i did not have time to visit because 1, i was exhausted, and 2, i had to go back to my hotel and get ready to meet santo for dinner.  it's a pity because he told me the place is gigantic with and amazing range with excellent prices.  in fact, it is, according to the zagat guide, "the mecca for wine enthusiasts".  the mother of all wine shops.  even more of a pity for me, they apparently have the best range of wine accessories in town.


6- leNell's:

in brooklyn


7- burgundy wine:

143 west 26th street, tel. 212-691-9092

they apparently have tastings each day but when i went to visit, they were in the middle of renovating their cellars so the shop was completely up-side down.  i imagine they are finished by now and i was told they have an excellent collection of rhones, burgundies, and wines from oregons made with shiraz and pinot.  a popular place for all levels of wine buyers.


8- italian wine merchants:

108 east 16th street, tel. 212-473-2323

my absolute dream wine store.  the selection is not necessarily super extensive but the quality and rarity is definitely there.  the decor is very much italian and very welcoming.  inside you feel much more as you would in a wine shop in florence or sienna than you would in new york city.  they have a gigantic tasting room in the back where food and wine pairings can be easily held, thanks to this huge show kitchen that, no doubt, one of the partner mario batali use from time to time.  the shop also comes with an excellent book section, it's own salumeria, and the largest collection of antique (real ones) cork-screws that i have ever seen.  definitely a place i would spend a lot of time would i be living in nyc.



9- crush wine:

153 east 57th street, tel. 212-980-9463

i am told the selection is wide, varied, and extensive so that anyone looking for anything can find something to make themselves super happy.  if i loved the italian wine merchants, i apparently was going to look for an apartment close to the place so much it is oozing for passion for wine.  i will certainly check it out next time i visit nyc.


10- red, white + bubbly: