THE MOST UNUSUAL: Wine shop in the Boston area (that you've never heard of, and might not be able to find!)
I thought I had been to every wine shop in the Boston area, in search of unique wines to fulfill my "hobby" of buying wines that I never end up drinking (sort of like women who buy shoes but never wear them lol). But a couple of friends were able to introduce me to a new one with a number of unique features, and wines:
437 Newtonville Ave
Newton, MA 02460
1) Ansonia is a father & son business that imports wines themselves from ~40 small wine makers located in France. Yes, their import label is on the back of each bottle, and they find the wineries, establish the personal connections, and do all the leg work themselves. Not a trivial undertaking. I met the son, and he was very personable and knowledgeable
2) You will never have heard of 95% of these wines. They are small artisan producers that make unique wines with a sense of place that will never see the light of day at Total Wine or Gordon's. From a variety of regions across France (I saw 1 or 2 Italian wines, but that is was it, and they are apparently moving into Austria as well), particularly strong in Burgundy, but also Rhone, Loire, Bordeaux, etc.
3) Given this, it's definitely the sort of place that you will want to taste a wine before you buy, if possible (see next point)
4) Ansonia is ONLY open on Saturdays, from 10AM-4PM with a few bottles open to taste. Customers can pick up orders and browse the available stock.
5) Most sales are via the website, and then you can pick up your wines on Saturday. Amazingly, for states in the eastern US, shipping is free for 12+ bottles! Either buy 12 at once, or use their "Build a Case" program and order a few bottles at a time, which will be shipped to you after reaching the free shipping threshold. (For western states, the threshold is 24.)
6) Once a month, on a Saturday, they have "Owner's Hours", with 8-12 bottles open to taste, and often a special discount or sale.
7) Occasionally, instead of Owner's Hours, they have special events (again on a Saturday), such as the Spring Cleaning Sale I attended (a selection of almost sold-out wines for 20-70% off--get there early). Or the "Oysterfest" coming up on May 4th (free oysters and Chablis!)
8) If you introduce someone new to Ansonia, and they buy some wine, you get 50% off any single bottle in the store (even if it is a $250 magnum of Clos de la Roche)
9) Pricewise, I would say it's not the cheapest wine shop around, if you are using Wine-Searcher or CellarTracker to price compare. But that is understandable, given it's a tiny business that does their own importing. And you are not going to find the vast majority of these wines anywhere else in MA. And since these are small, unknown producers, most bottles are in the $20-80 range, with few over $100
At the sale yesterday, I picked up a lovely little Rhone blend, 2014 Domaine des Accoles Ardèche Chapelle, which as far as I can tell is only available at one other shop in the US (in CA), on sale for $15 (normally $25).
10) It is a bit hard to find the warehouse. There is a small parking lot on the corner of Newtonville Ave and Bowers St, with space for 8 or so cars, then it's in an alley between the buildings and down stairs into the basement.
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