North Charles Fine Wine & Spirits

North Charles Fine Wine and Spirits is a liquor and wine store on Charles St. next to Eddie’s Grocery Store. The address is 6213a N. Charles St.

I used to only go there because it was convenient. It seemed overpriced to me and it catered to a very high end clientele, many of whom didn’t think twice about buying and drinking a $50 bottle of wine or a $200 bottle of Scotch.

Right now funds are a little tight so we are a bit more frugal than that. For everyday wine and cooking we get box wines. There are some good ones out there. One day I noticed that there box wine prices were several dollars lower than the discount wine store where we had been buying our box wine. That doesn’t seem like much but that was 20% or more cheaper. That is significant.

Eddie’s had a major overhaul with all new decor. Since the wine store is right next door, they were done over at the same time. They came up with a new system that is pretty nice.

On the lowest shelf are $10 bottles of wine. On the next shelf up are $15 bottles of wine. On the next shelf are $20 bottles and above that are $25 bottles. You don’t have some at $14 and some at $16 and $18. It makes selection very easy.

In speaking with the manager he said that a year or so ago they decided to drop their prices and make it up on volume. I now find that their prices are very competitive.

You probably get better prices on some of the bottles and a bit worse on others but it all balances out and makes selecting wine easier.

They also usually have a wine or two open every day for tasting and frequently one of the bottles is fairly expensive. There is a shorter guy whose palate I don’t always agree with. However there are a couple of other guys who seem to nail what I like.

And, if you need a wine as a pairing for a certain food, they usually have great suggestions. We wanted a wine to pair with an oyster stew and I was thinking a Muscadet. They suggested a Cremant sparkling wine (methode champenoise) that was absolutely perfect.

Another time I was looking for a wine to pair with a dessert that included marzipan. I was thinking a sauternes. They agreed in general but suggested a wine of the same style but from Bonnezeaux in the Loire Valley made from Chenin Blanc. They suggested it for two reasons. It is very good but doesn’t have the outrageous prices that the Sauternes do. Second is that is has a bit of a nutty flavor that would pair well with the almonds in the dessert. It was spectacular.

So drop in some time and check them out and see what you think.