The wine-buying landscape in Berkshire, Columbia, Dutchess, and Litchfield counties is growing and evolving, with an ever- increasing number of well-edited wine stores with passionate proprietors making the search for that perfect bottle both an adventure and a pleasure. For this, the first of a series on the area’s vino venues, we focus on Berkshire County, with the spotlight on two well-known stores with solid reputations, as well as one promising newcomer to the scene.
We started at Domaney’s Liquors & Fine Wines, located in Great Barrington just before the bridge over the Housatonic River. The Domaney family has owned the store since the 1930s, when it was a country market supplying groceries, dry goods, and sundries. When Eddie Domaney’s father bought it from his uncle in 1973, he realized that, with the increase in weekend crowds coming in from Boston and New York, he needed to specialize. The Berkshires, he says, were being populated by “actors, musicians, artists, historians, and retired world travelers. As all that was happening, we realized we needed to change the product line.” And the transformation into a wine and spirits haven began.
Domaney’s is a welcoming store with a democratic selection that takes the stress out of wine buying. Customer service, too, is paramount. Eddie has since passed the buying to his son, Joe, and another employee, Andy. “They attend all the tastings, read all the wine literature,” says Eddie. But, he says, “everybody knows wine: We have to make sure our employees are versatile and can talk intelligently. I’ll help the customer find the right bottle. If I can’t get that wine, I’ll know what the wine is, I can research it, and I can find a wine that works for them, at a lower price.”
Domaney’s selection has something for every palate and budget. Small bottles of affordable Merlot are available, as well as a solid selection from across the world, such as obscure finds like a pop-top liter of Zweigelt from Austria. “People love it once they try it,” Eddie says. For a good winter red, he steers us to the Breca Breca 2010, an all-Garnacha (or Grenache) Spanish wine about which critic Robert Parker, giving it 94 points, said, “It may be the most amazing wine I have ever tasted at this price in over three decades.” One of the more elegant and thoughtful collections in the area can be found in Domaney’s cold room, where the higher end selections are kept. Some of the stars that caught our eye: A Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 for $165; a Groffier, Chambertin Clos de Beze, 2004 for $200; and the latest release of Muga’s Prado Enea ‘05, an excellent, traditionally made Rioja for $65.
Click here for full article written by Tim Eustis