Sunday, December 12, 2010

CoolVines - Princeton, NJ

What is there to say other than WOW, and congratulations to Mark Censits and the the CoolVines Team on their move this summer to their new and improved location down in the heart of Princeton!  Although the old store was gorgeous and quaint, their new location is absolutely gorgeous, and very well deserved.

We first discovered CoolVines when they came to Princeton at the corner of Harrison and Nassau Street, and it has been our go to wine shop locally.  Although we purchase most of our wine from mailing lists direct from wineries, we do also purchase some wines locally.  Out of all the wines shops that we do purchase from, CoolVines is at the top of our list.  Maybe not by a landslide, but to date, but since we discovered them, we have not bought more wine from anywhere else, and this still holds true.  Unfortunately, in today's economy, we aren't really buying much of all though.  Maybe this will change once the economy decides to jump back!

Today we stopped in after lunch, and saw some new, unfamiliar faces working in the store.  Owner Mark wasn't there, nor was Thomas or Daniel, who are usually the friendly faces we see in store.  Regardless, the two gentleman working were very friendly, and offered our help if we needed it.

I first visited the new location a week or two after their grand opening in October, and it is such a gorgeous store.  Their old location was very quaint, but their new location adds a bigger selection, and a new rack full of higher end wines.

But the beauty of CoolVines is that they have anything from great, low production affordable daily drinkers, to top of the line Burgundy, Italian wines, or even Cult-ish California cabernet sauvignon.  In the past, we've purchased anything from $10 summer whites, to super low production syrah such as Sine Qua Non.  The options at CoolVines are endless, and this is a great thing!

Pictured here is the new Cru selection.  This is in the far back part of the store, directly in front of you when you walk in.  In browsing this area, I have seen many of our favorite wines here, ranging from Tignanello, to Sassicaia, to Joseph Phelps Insignia, to an '06 Richebourg, to some Hermitage, ot some Gaja, Hundred Acre, etc.  If you are looking for something high end, you will have no problem whatsoever finding it here.  That said, what are you waiting for?  But again, it is not just about the high end wines.  It is also about some small production, ultra affordable bargains as well.

In this picture here, you are looking from the front window of the store towards the cash register and the tasting bar.  There are some nice bargains here as well, with anything ranging from Champagne and sparkling wines, to dessert wines, to red, whites, fortified wines, etc.  One pleasant surprise that I was happy to see Mark carrying was Kim Crawford.  Sure, there is nothing unique about this wine, and you can buy it at many wine shops, and even Walmart in some states, but this is a heck of a great wine, and a bargain as well.  Year after year this wine is solid, and this is perfect for the person who runs in real quick to grab a bottle to enjoy at MoC MoC around the corner for sushi.

These pictures here show the tasting bar and register.  You can see the nice copper counter top, that adds a really nice touch.  All the colors in the store work nicely together, and it shows a nice touch of class.

Shown here is the beer and spirits collection, and this too is a nice area.  I was pleasantly surprised to see Rogue gin here today, which has come highly recommended from gin connoisseurs Paul and Stefania Romero of Stefania Wines.  This is supposed to be a very "spruce-y" gin, and I am sure that Zelda is going to love this.  We'll see!  Also picked up a bottle of 2006 Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey sauternes, and it will sit in our cellar for a decade or two until it's ready to drink.  In adding this to CellarTracker, I see that I paid a bit more than I should have for this wine, but that sort of thing happens, and you just never know.

All in all, if you find yourself in the Princeton area, CoolVines is definitely worth a stop to have a look.  They do tastings on Saturday from 2PM-5PM, and who can resist a little free tasting?  I know that I can't, and we have to make it a point to get back over there for tastings on Saturday's now that our schedules should be settling down.

In the meantime, stop in, say hello, and tell Mark and his team that we sent ya!  Cheers!

21 Spring Street
Princeton, NJ 
Phone:  (609)924-0039

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