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Re: JC Wine Shops
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No scores?
No Wine SPECULATOR tasting notes / comments?

THANK GOD!

Wine, for the usual consumer, is a subjective pursuit.

And, while a score might make one feel as if greater quality lies in the bottle, it has NOTHING to do with your tactile experience of the wine. Agreed, why take one person's "this is good wine" over anothers? Don't.

Rather, discuss YOUR TASTES with someone who knows the wines offered and can make a proper suggestion based on your likes/dislikes, otherwise (score, TN, or not) you're gambling.

As for "variety"... MC has a focused selection... a quality focused one.

The glaring and laudable absence of the usual brands (Kendall Jackson, Simi, Mondavi, Barefoot, Beringer) show's their dedication to quality as opposed to mass-produced, oak-chipped, uber-marketed plonk.

I'll keep going back... for their thoughtful selections and personalized recommendations.

Posted on: 2011/7/29 15:41
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Re: JC Wine Shops
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No question that Madame Claude Wines has a European emphasis. That is their intention. As for the magazine ratings, have you ever noticed how often liquor stores put up ratings for wines of a different vintage? 92 points Wine Spectator -- but not this year!!!

Posted on: 2011/6/25 20:44
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Re: JC Wine Shops
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Personally I agree with HamiltonParker.

When at a store it\'s nice to know that there\'s someone around if I do have a question. Even better if they are knowledgeable. There are times when I have the time and want to have a dialog. But all too often it\'s been a long day and I\'m not interested in chatting with the store owners (or anyone else of that matter). I just want to complete my transaction.

Since the owners are tasting their wines, it shouldn\'t be too hard to write down a few words to share with us for percentage of the bottles.

I do have other issues with this shop:

- The selection is actually rather thin as most of the wine is tucked into a small room.

- There is a very strong bias towards European wines especially French.

While I\'d prefer to support a store right around the corner from my house, I will instead keep going to Jersey Wine for a better selection, some descriptions and overall more inviting.

Posted on: 2011/6/25 17:45
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Re: JC Wine Shops
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Not every wine shop has a description for every single wine they carry. Most are provided by the manufacturer or a magazine. If you only buy wines that have a tag describing the wine, then you're probably missing out on some great wines. Most beers don't describe their "flavor" in detail either. But one Pilsner can vary greatly to another pilsner and so forth.


Agreed. Moreover, the most curated wine shops just don't. The owners and staff at Madame Claude's do a ton of research (tasting and beyond) on every wine that they put on their shelves; each wine is there because the owners like it or think the neighborhood will like it.

They also keep a customer database: When you buy a wine, there's a record of it, so if you bought something you liked and can't remember what it was... (or vice versa)

If that style of shop isn't for you, then of course, shop elsewhere. But you might (don't know you, so who knows) be missing out — if you're willing to have the occasional conversation, you could walk out with a much more personalized selection than what would be possible in a place with magazine reviews.

Posted on: 2011/6/25 3:11
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Re: JC Wine Shops
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Quote:

HamiltonParker wrote:
Walked into Madame Claude's for the first time last weekend. The shop is beautiful ~ not sure who executed all of the scrolled iron work but it's impressive.

We were approached several times by the owner who wanted to assist us with our selections. I explained that we were just sniffing around and would ask if we needed his assistance.

There are no Wine Spectator reviews or point system accompanying any of the bottles ~ you're on you're own, unless you'd like to discuss wines, which is what the owner urged us to do. He discounted shelf tags, arguing that they were just an opinion. I wondered why I might be any more convinced to purchase a bottle based on his opinion, then?

It felt odd in maybe the same way it would if book stores carried titles only, without brief descriptions and review excerpts on the book jackets. I could be the exception here in that I don't want to have a conversation when buying books or wine ~ I prefer to browse, read a bit and then make a purchase.

The shop's a welcome addition the the neighborhood and I wish them every success. Meantime I'll be buying wine elsewhere.


Not every wine shop has a description for every single wine they carry. Most are provided by the manufacturer or a magazine. If you only buy wines that have a tag describing the wine, then you're probably missing out on some great wines. Most beers don't describe their "flavor" in detail either. But one Pilsner can vary greatly to another pilsner and so forth.

Posted on: 2011/6/25 2:22
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Re: JC Wine Shops
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Walked into Madame Claude's for the first time last weekend. The shop is beautiful ~ not sure who executed all of the scrolled iron work but it's impressive.

We were approached several times by the owner who wanted to assist us with our selections. I explained that we were just sniffing around and would ask if we needed his assistance.

There are no Wine Spectator reviews or point system accompanying any of the bottles ~ you're on you're own, unless you'd like to discuss wines, which is what the owner urged us to do. He discounted shelf tags, arguing that they were just an opinion. I wondered why I might be any more convinced to purchase a bottle based on his opinion, then?

It felt odd in maybe the same way it would if book stores carried titles only, without brief descriptions and review excerpts on the book jackets. I could be the exception here in that I don't want to have a conversation when buying books or wine ~ I prefer to browse, read a bit and then make a purchase.

The shop's a welcome addition the the neighborhood and I wish them every success. Meantime I'll be buying wine elsewhere.

Posted on: 2011/6/25 1:44
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Re: JC Wine Shops
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I agree that Jersey Wine and Spirits are wonderful. The customer service is unmatched.

Posted on: 2011/6/6 17:41
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Re: JC Wine Shops
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chiefdahill wrote:
I believe the actual name is Liberty Harbor Wines but everyone (including me) usually call it Jersey Wines. I'm not sure what the deal is with that.

http://www.libertyharborwine.com/
it's because the sign out front says Jersey Wines and Liquors

I like the place a lot, btw. The owner will special order beers/liquors/wines for you if it's not in stock. And for such a small store, the selection is amazing. The selection of tequilas, rums, whiskies, and everything else blows Buy-Rite's variety out of the water.

Posted on: 2011/6/6 14:55
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Re: JC Wine Shops
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I've walked into Madame Claude twice and was completely ignored. I heart Buy Rite. There is a woman who works the wine aisles who is so damn helpful. The prices there just cannot be beat.

Posted on: 2011/6/6 0:42
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Re: JC Wine Shops
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Madame Claude! It's a first-rate wine shop, and the staff is wonderful.

Posted on: 2011/6/5 16:45
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Re: JC Wine Shops
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Second that. Very good selection. Very good prices.
If you know what you need, I'd say - start there.

Posted on: 2011/6/5 1:30
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Re: JC Wine Shops
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I'm slightly surprised that no one had mentioned Buy Rite yet, across from Home Depot. Ya, it's nowhere near are nice as the local spots and you won't get the ready-to-chat one on one help, but are far as selection and pricing, they're nearly impossible to beat.

Posted on: 2011/6/3 20:58
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Re: JC Wine Shops
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Liberty Harbor is the corporate name (Mocco's parent company), but the name above the door is Jersey Wines and Spirits. There is a Liberty Wine and Deli on Washington Street, across from Lighthorse. That's why I asked which store you were talking about.

Posted on: 2011/6/3 20:39
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Re: JC Wine Shops
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@Chief -- thanks for the store rec! Completely forgot that store is there. I think I've only been once (sadly) -- time to re-visit.

@wine_theif -- Nice! I've tried La Posta Cocina -- like it a lot actually (not as much as the AFs, but when I see it I almost always buy it). Never tried the other two so I will see if I can find them. The Mendel Lunta sounds very nice.

Cheers!

Posted on: 2011/6/3 20:24
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Re: JC Wine Shops
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Oh, and if you like the Achaval Ferrer Malbecs I recommend:

LaPlace Madiran - From southern France. Made from Tannat, it has the structure of the AF, but just a bit fresher with red fruit & earth notes.

Mendel Lunta Malbec - the most floral Malbec ever. Loads of lavender and cassis, made in a balanced style. Slightly more suave than the AF Malbec IMO.

La Posta Cocina Malbec - for more fruit, softer tannin, and just easy drinkability.

lemme know if you pick one up! :)

Posted on: 2011/6/3 19:35
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Re: JC Wine Shops
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Madame Claude is the best in the area...

Every wine on their shelves is tasted by a panel... with a focus on value.

There's no Barefoot or other mass produced wines... so some may have a hard time navigating solo, but just ask LouLou or Mattias or Alice... they'll steer you in the right direction.

AND, they have a points system that can earn you 50% off your dinner check at their restaurant!!!!!

Disclaimer: this post is in no way paid for/ made on behalf of MCW... I'm a VERY HAPPY customer & will keep going back for the sheer passion and great service!

Posted on: 2011/6/3 19:28
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Re: JC Wine Shops
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I believe the actual name is Liberty Harbor Wines but everyone (including me) usually call it Jersey Wines. I'm not sure what the deal is with that.

http://www.libertyharborwine.com/

Posted on: 2011/6/3 18:33
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Re: JC Wine Shops
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Chief, isn't that Jersey Wines at that location?

Posted on: 2011/6/3 17:35
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Re: JC Wine Shops
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Liberty Wines on Jersey is the best wine store in downtown JC. Jersey btwn Mercer and Wayne.

Posted on: 2011/6/3 13:26
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JC Wine Shops
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Hey all,

So the weekend is here and I'm running a little dry on wine. It got me wondering -- what's your fave wine shop in downtown JC and why? I personally like Madame Claude Wine (by Hamilton Squ) -- they have a great selection, friendly service, and it's very easy to find bottles under $20. I'm also a fan of Village Wine Liquors (on Grove St) -- selection isn't that great, but location is perfect (and they have decent $11 bottles). Any other shops w/in walking distance I should check out? I tried online w/ wine.com, but I find their prices kinda expensive to be honest.

Also, if you have any bottle recommendations -- fire away! (Personally, I love Achaval Ferrer malbecs. Under $20, nice and smooth.)

Posted on: 2011/6/3 5:36
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