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Nashville Wine Shops: The Best in Standard Fair

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When one moves to a new city, there are certain things that need to be done in short order – set up utilities, learn your route to work, secure child care services, and, of course, find the best local wine shops. You can just rely on the Internet, but to really know where to go for the best in wines and spirits, you need to visit the stores and check out the inventory. There are any number of great shops, each with unique strengths and weaknesses.

Over the last couple of months, I have visited several wine and spirit stores in Nashville. Starting here and continuing in the coming weeks, I will describe my favorites. The absence of a certain shop from this series of posts does not mean you should not check it out. I am comfortable in saying, however, that these places should be at the top of your list.  This post talks about some of your standard, go-to wine shops. In future posts, I will discuss a few others that had unique attributes or inventory.

A couple of universal gripes: (1) I found no Virginia wines and (2) I found only one Finger Lakes wine in one shop. As a former Rochester, NY and DC resident, not to mention a fan of quality American wines, this is a bitter pill to swallow. I hope a local distributor will step up to the plate and correct this deficiency. If not, who knows, maybe I will have to do it.

The Wine Chap

The Wine Chap is a solid wine shop just off of West End outside of Downtown Nashville. A glance around the shop shows relatively inexpensive selections and promotions in numerous displays surrounding more select wines organized by varietal and region. The Wine Chap has good selections of California and Oregon chardonnays and pinot noirs (including labels like Hendry and Grgich), California cabernets, Italian and French whites and reds, and German and Alsatian rieslings. The shop also carries a relatively large quantity of Australian and New Zealand (mostly Marlborough) wines and a variety of other whites and dessert wines from places like Tokaj, though it is a little light on wines from Spain and Portugal. The back of the shop has an above average selection of spirits, including St. Germain, Campari, Alston, and Tuaca. It also carries relatively small bottles of Vermouth, important for a home bar.

Hill Center, Belle Meade
4322 Harding Road
Nashville, Tennessee 37205
(615) 386-0133
Twitter: @thewinechap

The Wine Shoppe at Green Hills

WSGH is just off of Hillsboro Road in Green Hills.  As you walk in the door you’ll find French reds (predominantly Bordeaux and Rhone) and California cabernet, syrah, merlot, and other reds. WSGH also has a variety of chardonnays from Washington, California, and Burgundy, and different whites from Germany, France, New Zealand, and Italy.  There are also red varietals from typical regions like Spain, Australia, and Argentina. The one negative about WSGH is that it can be a bit difficult to find what you are looking for. The organization of the wines is not as clear as it could be, possibly because of the relatively small retail space and large selection. That said, a bit of hunting or a willingness to be led will be rewarded — quality staff here.

2109 Abbott Martin Road
Nashville, TN 37215
(615) 297-5220
Twitter: @wsgh

Midtown Wine & Spirits

These next two options are two of Nashville’s largest wine and spirit stores and therefore, as one might expect, they contain comprehensive selections. A large portion of Midtown’s unsurprisingly, is from California and includes zinfandel (with some interesting selections from Lodi), merlot, cabernet and various other reds. Midtown has a large number of pinot noirs from regions like California, Oregon, New Zealand, Argentina, and Australia. It has a large chardonnay selection from California and Washington and numerous whites and reds from France, Australia, New Zealand, and Chile. Midtown’s collection of Spanish and Italian wines is respectable if not as large as its California displays, but it has a wide variety of dessert wines to supplement its more standard fair. I would have appreciated a larger selection of German and Austrian whites, such as rieslings and gewürztraminer, but I drink these wines more than most. Midtown also has a solid selection of spirits, including St. Germain, Campari, Aperol, various grappas, Eau de Vie, and numerous bitters. Bottom line, if it is a fairly common varietal and region, or a popular spirit, odds are you will find a good label at Midtown.

1610 Church Street
Nashville, TN
(615) 327-3874
Twitter: @midtownwine

Frugal MacDoogal Wine & Liquor Warehouse

Upon first entering Frugal MacDoogal, you might think that the wine is an afterthought, given FD’s large selection of spirits. This first impression is misleading. FD has a large selection of California cabernet, syrah, merlot, and zinfandel. It also has a good stock of Oregon and California pinot noir. Heading over the Atlantic, you will find reds from Italy, Spain, and Portugal with your standard Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Rhone from France. Though small, there is a selection of New Zealand pinot noir. You’ll also find a variety of whites, including Rieslings from Oregon, Washington, and Germany, California chardonnays, New Zealand sauvignon blancs, and miscellaneous selections from countries like Chile and Argentina.  There are whites from France and Italy as well, but if that is what you are looking for there are other destinations that present more options. FD also has nice dessert wine options like muscato di asti, tokay, and a variety of sherries and ports. There are a few bottles of Tennessee wine. What makes FD different from your average discount wine shop, however, is the separate room in the back loaded with higher end wines from star wineries in various regions – Poggio Antico in Montalcino and Hendry in Napa Valley are just a couple of examples. The spirits also make FD worth a stop if you are stocking your bar. FD has many options in your standard spirits, as well as more unique offerings like Lillet, Abernathy, eau de vie, Luxardo, Chartreuse, and Tuaca. Like The Wine Chap, you can also find small bottles of vermouth here. FD is your typical large-selection wine and spirits shop, but with a few gems amid the plenty.

701 Division Street
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 242-3863
Twitter: @Frugalmacbeer

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