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AlexNoir

Orange County Wine Shops

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I like Hi-Time in Costa Mesa and Wine Exchange for their selection, but I'd have to say my favorite wine shop in Orange County is Amazing Grapes. It's close (Rancho Santa Margarita), friendly and best of all: they have the best prices I've found in OC. Most of their stuff sells for cheaper than if you were to get it directly from the winery. They specialize in California wines but they've expanded the store and are supposedly getting a lot more old world stuff in.

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I will agree with you on Hi-Time, I think it is an excellent store, tremendous selection.

Bacchus Secret Cellar in Irvine is not bad either. They have a nice wine bar as well and regular tastings.

I will have to check out Amazing Grapes, it sounds very similar to Bacchus.


"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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I think I'd probably have a hard time getting along with my day if Hi-Time wasn't just around the corner from our house. I think I ride my bike over there at least five days per week. I know . . . so sad! Whenever Dan sees me he leads me over to the newest Burgundy and Rhone Valley arrivals. I also tend to check out a few key spots in the cellar for new gems, including the magnum walls at the entry to the cellar and at the staircases leading up to the Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon sections respectively. I also like the library wall at the back of the California section and the "cage" next to the Chardonnays. Those areas, for me, hold the most intrigue since they usually hold the rarest bottles in the store.

I also like Picnics Deli's selection of wines. Robert & Jeana are carrying some pretty interesting bottles at really fair prices. Their new display cabinet just arrived and their fine foods shop and deli are definitely worth checking out (off 17th Street between Tustin & Irvine).


R. Jason Coulston

jason@popcling.com

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I think I'd probably have a hard time getting along with my day if Hi-Time wasn't just around the corner from our house.  I think I ride my bike over there at least five days per week.  I know . . . so sad!  Whenever Dan sees me he leads me over to the newest Burgundy and Rhone Valley arrivals.  I also tend to check out a few key spots in the cellar for new gems, including the magnum walls at the entry to the cellar and at the staircases leading up to the Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon sections respectively.  I also like the library wall at the back of the California section and the "cage" next to the Chardonnays.  Those areas, for me, hold the most intrigue since they usually hold the rarest bottles in the store. 

I also like Picnics Deli's selection of wines.  Robert & Jeana are carrying some pretty interesting bottles at really fair prices.  Their new display cabinet just arrived and their fine foods shop and deli are definitely worth checking out (off 17th Street between Tustin & Irvine).

We just got back from Hi-Time - we got a couple Burgs, a couple Rieslings, a Babcock Chard, the Rubicon Edizione Pennino Zin and a couple pinots (GoldenEye and Alma Rosa). Damn, it's hard to go into that place and not go friggin crazy with all the amazing wine they have.

While I was there I compared the prices on a couple different bottles and even though their prices were very fair, they seemed to be between 10-20% more than Amazing Grapes. The real difference between the two in my opinion is the selection. Amazing Grapes claims that they now have a larger stock than Hi-Time since expanding the store, but I doubt the variety is there. If I'm going for the familiar California Chard or Pinot I'll go to AG, but if I want to try a good Barolo or Riesling, Hi-Time is the place.

I've never been to Bacchus in Irvine - but I've heard of it. I'll have to check them out.

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If I'm going for the familiar California Chard or Pinot I'll go to AG, but if I want to try a good Barolo or Riesling, Hi-Time is the place.

That's a solid summary of the major differences between Hi-Time and most other wine shops, not only in Southern California or Orange County, but pretty much all the shops I've been in. It's extremely hard to walk into a regular wine shop and randomly pick up a 1996 Cune Via Real Rioja. Want a bottle of Maybach Materium or Buccella, two rare California wines? Just meander up to the California cab section. Library bottles of Bordeaux? Check. A wide selection of Cornas, a 100% Syrah from Rhone rarely seen anywhere, let alone en mass? Check.


R. Jason Coulston

jason@popcling.com

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Damn, it's hard to go into that place and not go friggin crazy with all the amazing wine they have.

Ain't that the truth!

With regard to Bacchus, it is a small place so don't expect anything even close to Hi-Time, the nice thing about it is the wine bar there with lots of tastings.


"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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