Bottle List

Posted on November 4, 2011 – 2:41 AM | by Admin
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By Bob Masullo  Photos by Scott Duncan

Bacchus, the Roman wine god, certainly must have a warm spot in his heart for Sacramentans.

For no matter which direction you go from our town, it is only a short distance before you bump into a winery, including the world famous ones of Napa and Sonoma. There are even a few wineries within our metro confines – a tradition that goes back more than a century.

Were that not enough, when one wants to break out of the “Drink Local” modality, Sacramento has a number of vendors offering remarkable wine selections from every wine-producing region of the world.

Although they are not unique to Sacramento, there are the giant warehouse shops such as BevMo (with seven locations in the metro area) and Total Wine (with two, including a brand new one on Arden Way). They’re corporate in feel — and fact – but do have incredibly large selections.  And compared to many other cities, even our chain supermarkets display a respectable number of wines (especiallyNugget and Whole Foods).

But where does one go to find a wine merchant with in-depth knowledge of every bottle he or she stocks? A merchant who will really talk to you about wine? One who can tell you the merits – and lack of same – of a particular vintner, variety or vintage? Or, more importantly, one who has a suggestion for an exciting new wine, the “perfect” one to go with that special dish you’re preparing for weekend guests?

A list of eight of the best follows. Most are in or close to Midtown, but the ones further out are definitely worth a drive.


Owner Rod Farley, who worked at Corti Brothers for 10 years, proudly states: “I have tasted every wine in the shop and I’ve done it more than once.” The same is true for manager Dave Cancilla. One or the other is always in the shop; they see their roles as educators. “We try to take people beyond the usual Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay,” notes Farley. “We can tell you what wine is hot long before the wine magazines can.” This shop is small, clean, well lit and easy to navigate. Prices are competitive.

2580 Fair Oaks Boulevard, (916) 481-8665


Both of Marcus Graziano’s elegant shops, on the periphery of the metro area, are great places for upscale wine experiences. Graziano, who grew up on a California winery, has been in business as a wine merchant 26 years. His extensive contacts in the industry enable him “to buy wines that are high in demand, low in supply, and exceptional in value.” Selections, which exceed 1,000, are from all over the world, but emphasis is on Northern California. Graziano contends his prices are, in most cases, lower than other area merchants, including warehouse shops and supermarkets. “We take exceptional care of our wines,” he says proudly. “They’re temperature controlled 24/7 at both our stores, and, at our Roseville store, humidity controlled as well.” The shops have tasting bars, highly trained staffs, and storage lockers. Most bottles are in the $20-$40 range. They also offer worldwide shipping.

5530 Douglas Boulevard, Granite Bay, (916) 780-9030, and 110 Diamond Creek Place, Roseville, (916) 786-9030


Started in 1947 with a mission to bring Sacramentans wine and foods not readily available elsewhere, this venerable locally owned supermarket has a wine department stocked with bottles from around the world (but with strong emphases on those from Italy, France and California). It is manned by knowledgeable wine stewards. All wines are sampled before stocking. Prices range from $5.99 to – believe it or not — $1,300 (for a 3-litre bottle of champagne), though most are in the $15-$25 category.

5810 Folsom Boulevard, (916) 736-3803


This is a many-types-of-business-in-one. Fortunately, one of them is a very fine wine shop, with more than 700 wines from around the planet with a current emphasis on France, Spain and Argentina. Additionally, it is fine restaurant (or bistro, as they prefer to call it), a wine bar (where you can taste upwards of 40 different wines), a wine storage facility, and a dining room for private functions. Manager Amber Edstrom and general manager Matt Parker are quite well informed about all wines carried. Business is owned by the Schomac Group Inc., of Tucson, Arizona, a real estate development firm.

1217 18th Street, (916) 442-5858



Julie Edelstein, manager of the wine department, is proud of the Co-op’s wine staff (herself and three others) and their expertise in all things vinous. “We carry about 300 different wines and we can answer most any wine question,” she says. “We try to concentrate on local wines but have an eclectic mix of foreign and domestic. And we have an extensive selection of organic and non-sulfite wines. Most of the bottles are $20 or less.”

1900 Alhambra Boulevard, (916) 455-2667


Richard Ebert, a wine seller for 32 years before becoming Taylors’ wine buyer five years ago, claims: “You can probably buy better wines here for half the price of what you’d buy them at the wineries.” That’s because “I know where the bargains are.” Although he has limited display room in the gourmet market, there are more than 400 wines on the shelves at any one time. European wines appear to dominate. There is an excellent variety of dessert wines. A current “great bargain” is a Pascal Bellier 2010 Sauvignon lanc, from Cheverny, in the Loire Valley of France for $14.99, which Ebert says “easily tastes like a $20 or better wine.”

2900 Freeport Boulevard, (916) 443-6881



Pru Mendez opened this combination wine bar-restaurant-wine shop seven years ago because he loved good food and wine and pairing them just right. “This is the place to discover unusual and hard to find wines, not bargain price wines,” he says. “I taste every wine I sell. It must be either very delicious, very special, or both, before I put it on the shelf.” He cited some recent examples: a 2010 Simonsig Chenin Blanc from South Africa, $30; a 2008 Barrel 27 Grenache from Santa Barbara, $40, and Gran Vino Sanson, a dessert wine from Spain, $35.

130 G Street, Davis, (530) 757-6600


According to Eric Stumpf, who owns and operates this highly personal shop — “the longest-lived, sole-proprietor wine shop in the Sacramento area” (21 years) – with his wife, Renee Kroeger, “The simple goal at The Wine Consultant is to forage, critique, procure, and then share our discoveries reflecting the diversity of wine produced from distinctive places throughout the world.” At least twice a year, they travel to find interesting wines and good bargains. Their selections show a preference for what Stumpf calls “traditional, minimalistic, non-intervention winemaking and viticulture practices.” A current example: A 2009 Halcon Alturas Syrah from the Yorkville Highlands of Mendocino County, $32.95 (which is $5 less than at the winery).

8039 Greenback Lane, Citrus Heights, (916) 721-9463

  1. 2 Responses to “Bottle List”

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    By Jan Edelstein on Aug 1, 2014 | Reply

    My daughter Julie Edelstein is getting married in September. What would be a dinner wine to serve with Rib eye and chicken. The wedding is in Wisconsin. Any ideas?

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