The Brooklyn wino has many choices when it comes to “scoring juice” in the Carroll Gardens area. But of course, we know not all wine shops are created equal. Frankly, the area spanning Court/Atlantic to Smith/9th street is littered with average wine shops (Scotto’s, Carroll Gardens Wine & Liquor, Vintage Cellars, The-Bullet-Proof-Window-Liquor-Store, etc.) that just provide your standard Yellowtail Shiraz meets “I’m Francis Coppola and I’m Buying This Vineyard” selection. These places are fine if you just need a bottle of Jameson and want to shoot the shit with the owner. But hey, let’s get real. This is Brooklyn and I expect a perhaps smallish but exotic and carefully picked assortment of well priced, worldly wines.
And this is what you get at Smith & Vine, the only store in this whole area that has truly sent me out the door murmuring a Cartman-like “sweeeet” with a happy jaunt in my step. You can tell the quality selection here by the lovingly labeled descriptions placed on each bottle coupled with the fact that there isn’t overwhelming amounts of dusty inventory stacked to the ceilings. Plus, the friendly staff always seems to be drinking and that can only be good, right?
S&V’s single best feature is the “10$ and under” table, which is the store’s centerpiece. One side is dedicated to reds and the other side white, with about ten bottles on each side. It’s tough to go wrong here, and I made it my beeswax for a whole year to try out as many as I could. For me, it sealed S&V’s spot as “most kick-ass wine shop in Carroll Gardens.”
Another advantage of S&V is their sister cheese shop “Stinky” located across the street. These shops are totally in sync, and everyone knows what’s up. This really makes things easy when you’re shopping for Wine & Cheese night. Stinky’s got some great stuff, and also sells crackers, quince paste, cured meats (Christ, they have “guanciale”) and duck confit. Those close to me know I believe ducks to be a superior species.
Smith and Vine
268 Smith Street
- The 10$ and under table is a Brooklyn landmark.
- Wine selection is given a lot of care and well labeled
- Great opening hours
- Sister cheese store across the street
- Excellent website
- The staff’s a bit jaded, but it might be ‘cause they’re drunk all the time.
You Can’t Go Wrong With: Domaine De La Batardière (white) – a crisp , dry and flavorful Muscadet from the Loire Valley (France, genius), this is the ultimate summer wine and perfect for that romantic picnic in Prospect Park or just a booze-soaked Sunday.