Young and Hungry

Which D.C. Corner Stores Have the Best Wine?

Corner Stores

What inspires loyalty to a particular corner store? In a bygone, more modest era, a person might pledge allegiance to one market based on, say, the availability of milk, or who sells the cheapest toilet paper. But in gentrifying Washington, it’s all about the wine options. Yelp abounds with loyalists gushing about their local shop’s wine selection—the retail equivalent of a “great schools” claim in a real estate listing. To my untrained palate, anything better than Andre might as well be Dom Perignon, so I enlisted the services of Brent Kroll, sommelier and wine director at the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, to evaluate the offerings of a sample of corner stores. The results? You needn’t feel ashamed of stocking your dinner party with sauvignon blanc from down the block.

Adam’s Market
700 F St. NE
Kroll appreciated that Adam’s displayed “lesser stuff” on lower shelves. The shop seemed strongest on Côtes du Rhône and Chianti, along with prosecco and “pretty good Champagne for the price.”

Standout bottle: A Charbaut & Fils Brut, $37.99.

Verdict: “Not bad. I could easily come in here and find a bottle.”

7 River Market
250 11th St. NE
Lots of crossover with Adam’s Market, which led Kroll to theorize that the same vendors are supplying both stores.

Verdict: Plenty of Barefoot and Yellowtail “for people who want to drink wine on the cheap.”


P&C Market
1023 E. Capitol St. NE
A sophisticated selection of wines clearly cultivated by a buyer. Kroll noted a focus on grower Champagne (meaning the same estate that grew the grapes also produced the wine) and a medium price point; he also admired the stack of wine books stashed behind the counter.

Standout bottles: Ravines Finger Lakes Riesling, $19; 2008 Dr. Hermann Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling, $20

Verdict: “For the kind of people who know a bit.”

Congress Market
421 East Capitol St. SE
Again, similar stock to other stores within a few miles. Kroll took note of a few older vintages and a particularly upscale distributor, Bacchus, that works with prestigious importers.

Verdict: That vendor “elevates the selection” from your average corner store wine stock.

Scheele’s
1331 29th St. NW
Despite its posh Georgetown address, this shop’s wine selection impressed Kroll no more than the options at less ritzy locations.

Verdict: “Same prosecco, same Bordeaux.”

Dupont Market
1807 18th St. NW
Perhaps the most intriguing corner store we visited, Dupont Market presents a sort of “roll of the dice” for shoppers. Kroll was put off by the appearance of the wines: He found the selection disorganized and some of the labels a bit weathered. More troubling was the presence of some wines that have likely turned. “They have Beaujolais Nouveau in there, which is dead,” he says. “One of the quickest wines to spoil on the planet.” But Kroll was practically salivating over some of the “holy crap gems” in the store, including “good Champagne for cheap” and a 2006 Alsatian Pinot Gris for $34—“an absolute steal.”

Standout bottle: 2005 Bordeaux from Graves, $22. (“That’s crazy!”)
Verdict: “This is a high-risk, high-reward shop.”

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Correction: Due to a reporting error, this post originally misstated the address of Congress Market. It is located at 421 East Capitol St. SE.

Comments

  1. #1

    The people who run Adams Market may very well be the friendliest people on the planet. Miss that place.

  2. #2

    Congress Market was my go-to store for years (until moving). Surprised you didn't mention that the area where they store the wine is usually about 90 degrees. Not the best. Still one of my favorites, though.

  3. #3

    I LOVE Adams Market. I get all my dinner party wine from there. Across the street and they are just the best. Check on me when I'm sick.

  4. Bill on Capitol Hill
    #4

    Congress Market is at 421 East Capitol St. SE, not 421 Fifth. Google has it wrong.

  5. #5

    Bill, you are absolutely correct. Dumb mistake on my part—it's three blocks from my house!

  6. #6

    Field to City in Bloomingale (used to be known as Timor Bodega) has an excellent wine selection in the back, one that's not bad at all for a corner store...

Leave a Comment

Blogs Linking to this Article

  1. D.C. Central Kitchen's Healthy Corners Program Brings Fresh Fruit and Vegetables to Corner Stores - Young & Hungry

    [...] } }); PREVIOUSR&R Taqueria Chef Will Oversee Menu of New Mexican Restaurant in Dupont NEXTWhich D.C. Corner Stores Have the Best Wine? advertisement document.write(''); ToDo [...]

  2. Where Are D.C.’s Corner Stores? - City Desk

    [...] Chase has one of the best corner stores in town. Why won't its residents support more of them? Tannin Both Which corner stores stock the best wine? Cornering the Market D.C.'s corner stores, mapped [...]

  3. District Line Daily: Inside D.C.’s Corner Stores - City Desk

    [...] Seas Alehouse Opens Today in Rosslyn Last Night’s Leftovers: Corner Stores Edition Which D.C. Corner Stores Have the Best Wine? D.C. Corner Stores Aren’t Just for Junk Food [...]

  4. Scheele's Market Turns 120, Thanks to Georgetown Residents - City Desk

    [...] Seas Alehouse Opens Today in Rosslyn Last Night’s Leftovers: Corner Stores Edition Which D.C. Corner Stores Have the Best Wine? D.C. Corner Stores Aren’t Just for Junk Food [...]

  5. Why Upper Northwest Residents Don't Support More Corner Stores in D.C. - City Desk

    [...] Seas Alehouse Opens Today in Rosslyn Last Night’s Leftovers: Corner Stores Edition Which D.C. Corner Stores Have the Best Wine? D.C. Corner Stores Aren’t Just for Junk Food [...]

  6. In Deanwood, a Neighborhood Market Stands Up for the Good Old Days - City Desk

    [...] Seas Alehouse Opens Today in Rosslyn Last Night’s Leftovers: Corner Stores Edition Which D.C. Corner Stores Have the Best Wine? D.C. Corner Stores Aren’t Just for Junk Food [...]

  7. Chatter: Corner’s Kaddish - City Desk

    [...] the package, Jenny Rogers visited a handful of corner stores alongside sommelier Brent Kroll, who judged which had the best wines and the best deals. Readers chimed in: “Field to City in Bloomingdale (used to be known as Timor Bodega) has an [...]

Comments Shown. Turn Comments Off.
...