Store Check: Sherlock’s Wine Merchants, Atlanta, GA

4.0 Stars (4.0 / 5)

CostcoSherlocks

I can’t believe I’ve passed this place so many times without checking it out. Sherlock’s is the wine retailing offshoot of the Cook’s Warehouse gourmet stores.

Wow. Very knowledgable sales staff and really interesting, well curated choices.

However: expect to pay about 15% above discount prices for all this expertise. They sell the top of the line wine from Bodega TeHo at $71. (As noted in yesterday’s Store Check, the nearby Costco retails the same wine for $59.)

CostcoSherlocks 9

 

They offer the same winery’s more moderately priced ZaHa at $47. Costco lists it for $39. Most other prices follow suit.

Paul Hobbs’ Bramare Cab is respectfully priced at $42. No bargain but not highway robbery, either.

CostcoSherlocks 8

Still, it’s great to have an independent store with knowledgable advice – something you really won’t find in a big box retailer. Plus, they have fascinating, more obscure choices you won’t find on a retail shelf anywhere else in the city, including Saurus, a bottle I haven’t seen anywhere else in the US. We’ll explore their inventory further in the future.

Store Check: Costco, Atlanta, GA

4.0 Stars (4.0 / 5)

It’s well known that Costco is the largest retailer of high-end wines in the United States, selling over $1 Billion in product annually.

Part of how Costco achieves all those sales is by keeping the product interesting and the price right. They buy huge lots of wine from vineyards from small to large, and rotate the stock frequently.

If you see a wine at Costco that looks good, buy it that day. Do not assume it will be available on a future trip, or you are likely to be disappointed.

My travels take me to Costco locations around the country, and the stock of wines is never the same. Local buyers clearly have influence over shaping their own inventory, using localized sales data and preferences.

Here’s a look at the best values we saw at Costco’s Atlanta (Brookhaven) location last week.

Several weeks ago I raved about ZaHa, from Bodega TeHo, a world class $40 malbec with an odd label that’s one of the best wines we tried this year. We came across its $70 big brother, TeHo, at Costco for a mere $59. That’s a phenomenal buy on a wine we can’t wait to try.

CostcoSherlocks 2 (1)

They also have Matilde La Madrid, a $56 icon wine with a 94 rating from Robert Parker. In my opinion, you wouldn’t want to drink this one today. A wine that special demands another few years of cellaring.

CostcoSherlocks 1 (1)

Black Tears, a deep powerhouse of a wine from the people who make the Tapiz Alta Collection, is a good bet at $39.

CostcoSherlocks 3 (1)

They have Kinien, the top of the line wine from Bodega Ruca Malen, for $36. That’s a choice you don’t see every day (we had a fabulous dinner at the winery a couple of years back.)

CostcoSherlocks 5

I’m curious about these two moderately priced wines, Altamira and Casarena Reserva, both under $20. Never tried either but the price is right. Any comments from folks who have tried them?

CostcoSherlocks 3 CostcoSherlocks 2

 

 

 

ATL Liquor Store Smackdown: Tower vs. Green’s – Who has the Malbec?

TowerSign  GreensSign

Tower Beer, Wine & Spirits 4.0 Stars (4.0 / 5)

Green’s Beverages 3.0 Stars (3.0 / 5)

There are two major liquor store chains in Atlanta, and judging by the vast number of cars battling for parking spots on Valentine’s Day, both are doing gangbuster business.

Both are well priced and both offer discounts for cash. But for lovers of high-end Argentine wines, that’s where the similarities end.

Tower has a strong selection of wines from $12 to $40, including such vineyards as Achaval-Ferrer, Tikal, Luca, Bestial, and Zuccardi. They are well-chosen and well-priced, though you’re not going to find any rare or surprising choices.

TowerAisle1 TowerAisle2 TowerAisle3

In particular, they have Michel Rolland’s very respected Yacochuya for $30, the $60 Cheval des Andes and two of Cuvelier Los Andes’ wonderful wines, the $20 Coleccion and the $35 Grand Vin, which is an extremely good price for that bottle.

Green’s on the other hand, barely passes muster. They basically have the choices you’ll find at your typical grocery store. Very limited choices above $20. If you have to shop here I would grab a bottle of the Colomè Estate.

GreensAisle

But they DO have the aforementioned Cheval de Andes, for about $55, five dollars less than we found it at Tower. That just may be the best price in the city – and the one reason to make a detour to Green’s. You’ll find it in the cool room with the fancy California and French icon wines, away from the main aisles of the store.

GreensCheval

 

But otherwise, if you’re looking for great everyday drinking, head for Tower.