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From Cap, Cork & Cellar to Connecticut Wine & Liquor, A Weekly Roundup of Wine Store Offerings

This week the Frenchy’s Wine Road weekly round-up relates what’s going on at some or all of the 24 wine, spirit, and beer specialty stores that make up the Greenwich retail wine scene: sales, specials, allocated items and more. Also, as stores begin to offer tastings again, we will include them here.

A1 Cellars – Riverside

Corporatist uniformity reigns at A1 Cellars, but there is a surprisingly nice selection of Japanese whiskey here: four different Nikka whiskies; the Suntori Toki and Hibiki; Kaiyo’s Cask Strength and Mizunara Oak styles; and the Shinobu Pure Malt Mizunara Oak. Still, I wish the purchasing light bulb shone a little brighter here.

Balducci’s – Riverside

One of the world’s great, underrated wine experiences is the pronounced flavor of a Chenin Blanc from Domaine Huët, in the Loire River Valley in France. Balducci’s has their Vouvray “Le Mont” Sec (dry) 2019, at $60. This white wine is not cheap, but it is worth every penny.

Bellmore Wine & Liquor – Chickahominy

Bellmore’s has a reliable stable. Nothing particularly new here, but stock is always good in the well-known brands. The effort at Bellmore goes into sourcing Connecticut beer in styles you don’t necessarily find elsewhere: Branford, CT’s Thimble Island Sea Mist New England 7% IPA and Ghost Island 8% Double IPA; the more ubiquitous Zero Gravity conehead part-wheat IPA; Thomas Hooker Nor’easter Winter Lager, from Hartford; and Kashmir New England IPA, from Loophole Brewing, located in Ludlow, Massachusetts, just east of Springfield.

Bruce Park Liquors – Downtown (Mason St.)

Bruce Park is another Greenwich store that has stayed to the tried-and-true, but they’ll surprise you with some of their beer selection: it’s one of the few stores that carry Danbury’s Charter Oak (in this case, the Little Charter Session IPA). Bruce Park also has Stony Creek – a brewery that had fallen on some hard times in 2019 before starting to bounce back last year – in the Winter Weight Chocolate Raspberry Porter and the Little Wing Haze IPA. Bruce Park also has some Peak Organic (the former Otter Creek), from Vermont.

Cap, Cork & Cellar – Downtown (Bruce Park)

In an age when people are desperate to “drink healthy,” yet can’t abide giving up on alcohol altogether, I don’t quite understand why hard kombucha hasn’t made more impact in the drinks marketplace. CC&C has the best variety of hard kombucha I’ve yet seen, from brewers Jiant and Flying Embers. Jiant comes in Gingerly (Ginger & Lemon Grass); Guava/Mint; Grapefruit/Hibiscus; and Passion Fruit/Elderflower flavors. Flying Embers is sugar-free, and comes in Lemon and Berry flavors. Tasty!

Connecticut Wine & Liquor – Back Country (King Street)

A big special at Connecticut Wine & Liquor this month is the Napa Cabernet Sauvignon from Duckhorn’s prêt-à-porter winery, Postmark. At a State-minimum price of $29.99, it keeps the purveyor honest while giving him adequate margin.

Two fun items are also on the shelf here this week:

1947 Premium Lager blares the Indian-American origins of its brewers, Appalachian Brewing Company of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. 1947 honors the year of Indian independence, while a beautifully bedecked elephant – India’s national mascot – crowns the label. King Street Vodka, out of Santa Barbara, California, is an amusing eponym for those who live on the King Street border with New York, and at $24.99, it’s a good mixing vodka.

Glenville Wine & Spirits – Glenville

Glenville this week is showing outstanding values in sparkling wines: a Dom Pérignon 2006 Rosé at $375, the Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, and the Billy Lapierre Pinot Noir Brut, and superb Crémant de Bourgogne that scored 90 points in the Wine Enthusiast.

Greenwich Wine & Spirits – Riverside

Greenwich Wine & Spirits has probably the finest assortment of beers just east of Port Chester Beer Distributors, and it’s all in a tiny 300 square foot refrigerator. Included are Connecticut frosties you just don’t find in every store, like Hoax and Armada, as well as some of the usual – but still excellent – suspects: Beer’d, Thomas Hooker, and Back East among others.

There’s some extra-territorial stuff of note, too: Night Shift, the excellent beer from Massachusetts, just come into our State. Swing Oil and Mayflower are also from the Bay State. Ten Bends, Lost Nation, and Zero Growth come from northern Vermont. Eclectic offerings from Fair State (Minneapolis), Three Floyds (Hammond, Indiana), and Collective Arts (Hamilton, Ontario) round out the contents of the cooler.

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