Hello. First post here so please be patient with my lack of knowledge.
Having been a bourbon drinker for the last few years, I’ve been to San Francisco a few times but never sought out any serious wine places. Now I’m a bubblehead, and where I’m at there is never seems to be a good selection.
I’ll be visiting SF for two weeks, and I’m looking for any resturants/bars/shops to get some good and interesting grower champagnes, particularly Savart, Lamandier-Bernier, Vouette & Sorbee(extrait would be nice!), Brochets(both), Chartogne-taillet, Cedric Bouchard. I’m guessing my chances are slim in finding Selosse, Provost and Collin on any list so any reasonable grower champ would do. For reference, I really enjoy Suenen.
Other than the obivous big destinations like K&L/D&M/Total wine I also searched up Heiroom cafe, Arlequin, and Fool’s errand. I’ve also heard good things about this one place called Champagne society but I’m not sure about their unknown, reservation-only list at $200+ per person. Currently I got a few bottles off sommpicks to be delivered when I’m in the city but that’s about it.
If you could please share some good places to visit around the city for champagne, and wine in general, it would be much appreciated. I tried searching this forum first but couldn’t find much relevant posts.
For Arlequin, you may have success if you tell the employees there that you’re out of town and looking for a special bottle to celebrate your trip. They have a cellar of wines that they do not have out for sale, but if you ask nicely and bring up a few producers you are interested in, chances are high they will sell you a bottle of something nice at a decent price.
Agree with this. Their website only represents a small fraction of what’s in their cellar. They can look up on their computer to check stock for whatever producers you want. You can probably call ahead and ask and save yourself a trip.
Angler has some decent champs on the wine list also.
Awesome! Im planning to pick up a nice red from them too(that Vogue Musigny looks pretty solid for about $800, among many others) so it would be great if I can get something equally exciting. Thank you for the tip.
So after visiting a few places I’m very happy to report back with my personal experience:
Total Wine & More. I went to the Daly city location and the place had very few people. I ended up having a good chat with the wine expert there and followed his recommendation to pick up a bottle, which was pretty good. I’ll post my notes later.
I got a few good bottles of store pick bourbons but it was sadly devoid of anything interesting from Champagne. I was told that thing’s been like this for years since covid, with backlogged shipments, short staffing and surging demand. They simply can’t keep up especially because of the large number of locations they have, which means even slightly good stuff becomes allocated territory. I guess that’s what happens when you have a lot of rich people in the region who can buy Salon by the boxes.
This place was perhaps the most disappointing visit I made this week. Their collection was weak and all the aged stuff were mediocre vintages/regions at best. I wanted to find some nice, ready white to pour this evening but they only had 2019/2020 vintages for burgundy. Expected, but still disappointing. Outpriced by many of the surrounding shops too. No spirits section to speak of.
They did have an excellent bottle of 2018 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay which I love, so I picked that one up with something I’ve never experienced before- Le Brun de Neuville Autolyse B/N. Quite curious how 11 years on lees will show.
I chanced upon this nice little shop on the way to K&L. Bottle shop/bar with a very kind owner. Not the best prices but they have a good selection considering store size. May visit again.
This store had the best Champagne selection of all the places I went to imo. Quite a number of customers were already shopping which was understandable. A number of more expensive, hard to get bottles in the cellar are not on their website and worth checking out, although the prices might not be the best. This was the only place where I saw some good amount of Krug/Salon/Top Burg whites. If I had spare 10k to burn this place would be it. The only downside to this shop is its cramped spacing, which makes shopping a little awkward when it’s packed.
I bought LB Longitude, RH Coutier cuvee tradition, and Bereche brut from here.
Ferry building wine merchants
Considerable markup on most, and only a small selection of bubbles.
I was tempted to get a bottle of Occidental pn at $70 but passed.
Gus’s community market
This place is a little gem. Not the cheapest but very nice selection of beer/spirits/wine if you just want a quick glass of something to drink. I randomly ran into PVG chard here which was very surprising because there’s simply no shop in SF that seem to carry them. Or maybe the price($44) kept it from selling out.
All other small shops
I was dumb enough to try my luck on 10 or so groceries that pop up on google search results for wine against all recommendations here. Piss poor selection for most, not many stores have ac, and even some of the better stores have prohibitive pricing (veuve for $100? no thanks) and bottles that are baking in the sun right in front of the window. Saw some bottles with visible cork protrusion as a result.
Lesson learned: don’t waste your time and go to the trusted big stores.
I’m planning to visit Arlequin last. Wish they have something good!