Mo’ Better Wine
By Mark Criden

With very few exceptions, even so-called class joints used to stink in the wine department. Nowadays, adventure abounds. The Rue, Daniel’s, and Oliver’s all have wonderful, upscale collections, of course, but even less French places have well-thought out lists. There are beautiful, well-priced Italian bottles at Trattoria Aroma and a small, thoughtful collection of Spanish gems at Toro. I’d be happy to drink most of what’s on offer at Bacchus, and Mother’s, with the talented Mark Supples at the helm, offers a brilliant selection of well-priced gems.

Good wine stores flourish. The Premier Group, in all its iterations, leads the field with the breadth of its selection, but there are many, many other shopkeepers with great prices and aisle upon aisle of wonderful, often hand-selected wines. Two standouts are Brighton Liquors in Tonawanda and Georgetown Liquors in Williamsville, successes that would have been impossible decades ago.

Our region has skyrocketed in wine-producing circles. Once a shabby backwater ruled by Pink Catawba and Mogen David, New York and Ontario’s wine regions have begun to compete with the world’s greatest sites.

And without taking anything away from these talented makers and proprietors, wine worldwide has become far better in the past few decades. Though vintages and producer talent continue to vary widely, you have to work hard these days to find dirty, smelly, weirdly flavored wine. The marriage of sensible technology and sensitive winemaking is the real story of the last thirty years, and its ending is a happy one: there are few bad wines.


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