Best Wine Store (1999)

Crown Wine & Spirits

To avoid again detailing all the virtues of this category's perennial winner, Crown Wine & Spirits, we'll give a quick report on champagne. After all the new millennium approaches. For those who don't know this Coral Gables oenophile mecca, suffice it to say thousands of bottles from the mundane to the impossible are well organized, reasonably priced, and articulately described by the knowledgeable sales staff. When asked about the alleged shortage of bubbly for 2000, Chip Cassidy replies, "Well the frogs want you to believe that on New Year's Eve they're gonna drink red wine. If anyone is nervous, they should just come in and buy a bottle today." Hey, it never hurts to have a few magnums beside the canned beans and drinking water. Current recommendations include a selection of nonvintages from Charles Heidsieck for $38 to $42; this year's hottest seller, Veuve Clicquot's Yellow Label Brut, which goes for about $32; a Montaudon from Riems for about $20; and the all-time favorite among those who adore great wines and good values, the stellar Billecart Salmon Brut, which goes for a measly 25 bucks. Billecart's Brut Rosé, for $46, could make any reasonable person believe Y2K is a small matter. Crown even stocks a remarkably good nonalcoholic sparkling wine from Ariel. And no party would be complete without a stock of great cheeses, patés, caviar, crackers, and cigars from Crown's gourmet department.


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