I enjoy an adult beverage from time to time. And, by “from time to time” I actually mean a few nights each week, to be honest. That’s okay, right? Say right. After a long day, there’s nothing like putting your feet up, watching some tv and sipping on your favorite drink. Happiness.
Luckily, I live just a few measly blocks from The Wine Source in Hampden. I noticed a while back that I must go there a lot – it’s funny to be greeted with “Hey, Ame!” Perhaps I need to slow down on my wine sourcing…but I know I won’t.
Not only is the Wine Source’s selection of beer, wine, spirits, cheese, etc, wonderful, the people and service there are even better. I coordinate lots of events in my day job at an independent school and when I need beer or wine, the folks at the Wine Source make it easy as pie. I simply email the seemingly unflappable Ian Stalfort and tell him about my event (# of guests, type and time frame of event, menu, etc…) and he figures out what we need and has it delivered – and the drivers are always courteous and on time. Every time. They just send me a bill and also pick up any unopened bottles and credit our account. The prices are excellent, too – Ian never recommends anything over the price point I give him – and we get GREAT stuff! They make my work life sane and for that I am eternally grateful. Also, he suggested a wine for an event several years ago and it’s still one of my all-time favorite whites, Ducasse White Bordeaux. I buy it all the time and it’s super affordable. Perfect.
Other folks at the Wine Source we love: David, Carey and Jed.
David Wells is one of the owners of the joint and is such a nice man. Whenever I volunteer on something around town, he is always happy to donate. Love that. Recently, I organized an event at for Dishing Up Maryland, a local cookbook shot by a friend of mine. David was kind enough to help us out with some amazing local beers from The Brewers Art and Stillwater as well as wonderful local wines from Boordy and Black Ankle Vineyards.
To say that Carey Williams knows wine is quite the understatement. And she knows mywine…and how to steer me to ones I might never even notice or think of trying. She respects my budget, too, which is very imporant. She even helped me find a great boxed wine to try…hey, don’t mock it til you try it, smarty pants. It’s not for everyone, but I do enjoy it every once in a while.
When I started getting into wine years and years ago, I tried a sip of my friend’s White Zinfandel. Hmmm, that’s kinda tasty, I thought. Well, fast-forward to now: not so much. But don’t call me a wine snob. I’m not one. I will try almost any wine, but do tend to avoid wines that might be described as sweet or my most unfave description, buttery. But…to each his/her own, and I say drink up!
Back to Carey…she has guided me from Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc to Prosecco and unoaked Chardonnay…and now I’m way into Viognier and Torrontes (but I gotta give my friend Lucien at the oh-so-fabulous Wine Market in Locust Point credit for introducing me to Torrontes a few years ago.) I’m also trying lots of reds, too…my fave lately continues to be Pinot Noir. Last summer, I was remembering having a chilled red wine in Paris a few years ago. That experience has stayed with me not only because the wine was delicious and the lunch was with someone amazing, but also because I’d never had a chilled red before. So, I stopped by the Wine Source and Carey suggested again, something different, a Claret. Oh my gosh – it was perfect (and on sale for $14.99.)
Then there’s Jed Jenny. He’s my beer guy and he really, really knows his stuff (much like my great pal and fellow blogger Scribbleskiff.) The beer selection at the Wine Source seems quite overwhelming at times, but at the many tastings I’ve attended there (especially during Baltimore Beer Week) I’ve discovered lots of my now-favorites like Lagunitas, Ommegang, Allagash, Weyerbacher, etc. Yet there is still a huge number of beers I’ve yet to try. Jed patiently guides me through the maze like the pro he is and if he suggests it, nine times out of ten, I will give it a shot. Like Carey, Jed knows my likes and dislikes. That, my friends, is service. A few years ago, he suggested that I try Dale’s Pale Ale (it’s in a can and is a longtime fave of one of my best friends, Jimmer – he even has a Dale’s hat!) I now love Dale’s – thanks to Jimmer and Jed.
The Wine Source also has a fabulous cheese shop within the shop. Adam, Caitlin and Scott in the cheese cave are so, so good. They can help you maneuver through the cheeses, cured meats and more. I am obsessed with chorizo and coppa at the moment…and, the asiago cheese dip is insane. Insane.
Oh, and when I hiked up to the Avenue during Snowpocalypse 2010, they suggested that I try Bulleit Bourbon. I’m not sure if that was a good thing or not, but whatever. I am still in love with them for that.
Wow Amy – you are my wine sole mate! Isn’t it funny to find out that the special relationship you thought you had with someone like Ian at the Wine Source is repeated all over the city? I can’t imagine how he remembers everyone’s preferences with enough clarity to recommend new labels and challenge us to try new varieties. He has rarely missed with us, that’s for sure! I believe that the Wine Source in general and Ian in particular has been one of the foundations of my happy marriage. Nicely written, but I was sorta hoping you’d share the name of the box wine you like, cause I’m ready for a change.
I’m convinced there are no places like The Wine Source. Best selection, prices, and knowledge that I’ve found in Baltimore City or County. I found them when I lived in Hampden years ago and go back often.
MMW – I’ve enjoyed Yellow+Blue Malbec and Le Petite Frog Picpoul de Pinet is also great (especially with shellfish!)
I miss The Wine Source. I will never find it’s like again.
Hear, hear! David, Ian and their crew are the best by far. Thanks Amy for singing their well deserved praises!