Tag Archives: Best Wine Store

Passion on the Shelf: Xavier Wine Company, NYC

30 Aug

The Meatpacking District of Manhattan is not exactly known for being a haven of amazing wine stores, until now. There is at least one, called Xavier Wine Company. A tiny storefront off Little West 12th Street, it was the pedestrian sign that caught my attention:


Xavier 1

I went inside, and saw shelves laden of lovingly selected, carefully chosen labels. This is a place of quality over quantity. I identified several wines I had great interest in, and met James Parisi, owner and oenophile. He explained to me that Xavier’s focus is on sustainable, organic, and biodynamic wines! It made perfect sense to me- as the shelves are curated with great precision, from delightful Italian and Spanish choices on the shelves you first encounter; perusing a wide selection of nice California, Washington, & Oregon wines in the middle of the store next to a centerpiece of high end spirits that are opposed by a variety of chilled sparkling wines directly across the aisle; with a wide alcove of Burgundy, Alsace, and Bordeaux wines in the annex with selected offerings from Beaujolais, Rhône, Provence & Loire wine regions completing the sales floor. I was entranced by such careful selection of specific winemakers, the attention paid to a wide selection of regions. I recognized bottle after bottle that I wanted to snatch into my arms and congratulate the owner on having such excellent taste- not on having a store of good wines, but one of great winemakers, and for being a fellow Francophile. What can I say, this buyer has great taste in wine. So what’s his deal?

James Parisi, owner, Xavier Wine Company, explained to me that his store has been open for “about a year, and if you come by regularly, you’ll notice the store is more of a community” for wine aficionados; “a fine wine experience”, if you will. To be certain, I was entranced, finding bottle after bottle of small winemakers I normally have to fight to seek out across the tristate area or sometimes across the country, while Jim has their wares in threes and fours, ready to take home and enjoy, sometimes perfectly chilled! And still, while I saw a few price tags in the hundred dollar range, in the racks were far greater options in the magic “$20 and under” that so many of my readers are looking for.

Xavier 2

James Parisi of Xavier Wine Company with a few of his Rhône varietals. 


What did I take home, you wonder. I was cautious at first, but shortly I was salivating. My picks:

Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Bourgogne Chardonnay 2013 White Burgundy, 12.5%ABV, $34. Pale yellow in color with a delightfully floral nose. On the palate, a combination of white stone fruits and strong Meyer lemon finish with notes of limestone and clay. Gentle, balanced, delightful.

Domaine Moreau-Naudet  Parques Chablis “Vielle Vignes”- 2012 White Burgundy, 12.5%ABV, $38. Medium straw in color with a light, floral/citrus nose. In the mouth, a delicate balance of fruit and acidity; a classic chablis of near idyllic quality. The uneducated palate would say “oh this is nice” but the burgundy-fanatic will howl in joy at the expressive, terroir-driven finish that competes with wines double the price.

Les Hauts Du Tertre Margaux 2004. 13% ABV, $45. What can I say…I’m a fan of Margaux, of Tertre, and to find a bottle of their second wine with eleven years of age for a reasonable price, I’m not about to pass it up. I will have to wait and decant this after it has some rest, though.

The only bad part of discovering Xavier Wine Company was being on foot, and staying true to my promise to not buy more wine than I can hold in my arms. I saw so many bottles there I wanted to take home…you, my friends, will have to help me.  


à votre santé!



The Best Little Wine Store Every Neighborhood Needs

22 May

It often takes a close friend to introduce you to the best things in an area– the finest bakery, the best cup of coffee, an amazing tailor, etc. Well, I’m about to be that friend.

Here’s the story: I was working on a show at the downtown performing arts center in Charlotte, NC when I literally stumbled upon the proverbial pot of gold, except these pots were mostly 750ml bottles. Wine bottles, to be exact! Neatly arranged along the light rail line in downtown Charlotte is an open market with a bevy of wonderful stalls, called the 7th Street Public MarketThe owner/vendors in the Public Market are people who offer specialty products and are so passionate about their products that given a taste, you will be too! 

Tucked inside the 7th Street Public Market is a delightful wine paradise that should be duplicated in every metropolis, town, and neighborhood. This oenophile’s oasis is called The Sorting Table on 7th and runs with its back facing the entryway. To find it, look for the bicycles flown above his stall and you’ll be there in a moment.

Josh V. runs the Sorting Table on 7th and has both a vast knowledge and fellow passion for wine. When I first saw his stall, I watched and listened as he deftly answered several questions from a customer and suggested several good options from his stock. I noticed the shelves are filled with quality bottles of reputable vineyards from across the globe, and his pricing compares to much larger stores with buying power, I assume due to relatively low rent/overhead.

Josh says he carries wine “ranging from $8 to $500 a bottle”, and his stock is right there for everyone to see, arranged by country and grape with bottle and tasting notes as well as the occasional comic, photo, or character gag to give you a sense of his perspective on the bottle. You’ll also see bikes, R2D2 toys, and other items he is passionate about, but the focus here is quality and value wine. Josh knows his stuff, from the grapes to terroir to the wine latitudes.


His shelves are full of great wines and good values across the spectrum and from around the world. I saw not one but two rare magnums of  Dave Phinney/Orin Swift’s “The Prisoner” on his shelf at a very reasonable price. “I can’t believe I’m selling those,” he admitted. “If I weren’t flying home,” I told him, “I’d buy them right now!”


I’ve never seen them before, but believe me, I’ll be looking for them closer to home.

Better yet, Josh knows his pairings. So if you go to the market and pick up cheese, meats, a pizza or other goodies then swing by his booth, he can offer you selections to match what you’re eating. I saw the real wine mensch in him as he responded equally well to chefs, foodies, oenophiles and wine amateurs.


Every town needs a Josh V and a Sorting Table on 7th.

Do you have one to share with us? 

à votre santé

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