Friday, 4 October 2019

Three of the Best Wine Stores in Los Angeles

Searching out the best wine stores has become a particular favourite pastime as I travel to places in Europe and the US.  Some are wonderful, some are ok and some you won't find out about from me.

Recently in LA I discovered three superb wine stores.  I'm know there are more and on my next visit I'll be there, but for the moment these are my favourites:

K & L Wines at 1400 Vine Street, Hollywood Los Angeles, where you definitely do need signposts. The selection is superb, and there's plenty of helpful, friendly and knowlegable staff on hand when you get lost as you undoubtedly will. 

From a bottle (or several) of Dom Perignon #champagne at $169 to a case of 2018 Rombauer Carneros #Chardonnay (my daughter's favourite) at the best price going you can find absolutely everything here. I felt a little bit like Alice in Wonderland and need to go back as soon as possible.

One of the best known wine stores in California—K&L Wine Merchants—also happens to be one of the best known stores in the United States. Actually there are three K & L Merchants in the Golden State, (Redwood City, San Francisco and Hollywood) though the store’s reach has a lot to do with its website—as well as its famously knowledgeable staff' If you want to look up anything about pretty much any wine, this is the place to come, to

Imagine a wall of wines, and then imagine several - I didn't count, but Wally's wine store, gourmet food store and restaurant in Beverly Hills (and there's another in Santa Monica) offers a feast in every sense. The sheer volume of wines on offer is superb and there's uber knowledgeable help everywhere.

Wally’s Beverly Hills is a hybrid retail, restaurant, and wine bar space that marries the store’s retail roots with the luxury sensibilities of co owners the Marcianos, whose Guess brand had established itself, nearly 40 years earlier, as one of the great progenitors of bling couture, and original longtime president Vincent Navarro.

The walls are lined floor to ceiling with wine displays, some back-lit to give the impression of a temple or shrine, especially at night. Sumptuous displays of specialty foods, including caviar and, truffles (when available), are prominently featured.

There are 120 wines available by the glass at Wally’s locations at any given time. The selection exemplifies Navarro’s desire to mix the upscale with the casual, with BTG prices running from $14 (for a Happy Canyon Sauvignon Blanc) to $599 (for a 2008 Grands-Échézeaux by Domaine de la Romanée-Conti). Guests can order a glass of Prosecco—or a glass of Krug (at the relative bargain price of $39). There are also a number of somewhat rare wines on the BTG list, such as Kumeu River’s Estate Chardonnay from New Zealand ($19) and the red Ao Yun from China’s Yunnan province ($91), alongside icons like Gaja ($69), Opus One ($89), Château Cheval Blanc ($170), and Grange ($225).'

On a walk around Beverly Hills I came across one of the most elegant wine stores - The Wine Merchant @winemerchantbh on Beverly Drive. The Wine Merchant specialises in Californian, French and Italian Wines so if you're after a bottle of New World red don't come here, but if you're looking for #tignanello #petrus or #harlanestate then this is your place. There are far more reasonably priced wines on offer, but a call to the bank manager just in case might not come amiss. .

The Wine Merchant was established in 1969 and is the grand dame of LA wine stores. Slide to see more photos and some of the wines on offer.

Dennis Overstreet, proprietor of the Wine Merchant Beverly Hills accepted his “Five Star – The Best Retailer” in the United States Award for 2006. Overstreet is well known for his strong relationships with Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles residents, as well as his strong affiliations with international clientele and steadfast ties with wine industry moguls throughout Europe and America.

In the mid 70’s Overstreet pioneered the concept of public refrigerated wine storage. His 20,000 square foot facility in West Los Angeles, The Wine Cellar, is the flagship for the wine storage business.

So the next time you're planning a trip to LA you might just like to pop in to one (or all) of these excellent wine destinations. May I suggest breakfast at Wally's, a walk to the Wine Merchant then a trip out (cab or Uber) to Hollywood for K & L Wines.  Then buy a great bottle, go back to your room, relax and take it all in with a glass of something wonderful.  Sounds like a great day out to me.
Next Stop:  The Best Wine Stores in London
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