Apologies in advance if this ought to be in the wine section, but I figured it more a propos for the regional coverage.
From my experience thus far, I've come to find that there are quite a few gems in the Pioneer Valley regarding wine stores and their selections and prices. I'm looking for more recommendations, specifically around Amherst and Northampton.
I've had very good luck with Russell Liquors. Although their selection of German Rieslings is rather old hat, (a particular personal gripe) I've found them to have reasonably priced wines and a good, varied selection across the board. Nice Riojas and Borelos, specifically.
I'm a huge fan of Spirit Haus, a little down the way in North Amherst. I had no idea they were so large and had so many wines. The building is deceptively large and they have bottles crammed every which way, just the way I like it. I've found some excellent selections there and a wide range of vintages, most notably a 2005 Sonnenuhr JJ Prum at the obscenely good price of $39.99. Massive selection, also good wines in their clearance section.
Amherst Wine can suck my tannins. I've found them to be rude and overpriced, probably taking advantage of their close proximity to UMass. Their selection is paltry at best, favoring trendy selections like Layer Cake over smaller vineyards with smaller hectare production. And they just don't have a lot that interests me. Specializing in Rieslings, both German and Altsatian, I was a little disappointed to see that a store boasting its high-end and expertly picked selection had no TBA's and prominently featured "Relax" as one of its better bottles.
University Liquors thinks Barefoot is top of the line and usually has scary people milling around, so I don't go there. I've had good luck at Liquors 44. Big Y Wines is priced well. And I know Table and Vine is the mecca of wines, but it's rare that I can make the trek out there.
So, where do you go? Any more local places you can recommend? I still haven't found any place that carries Rieslings from the Finger Lakes, alas!