BEST WINE STORE Minneapolis 2008 - France 44
At first glance, France 44 looks like a typical wine shop, with thousands of bottles arranged on shelves, grouped by type or region. But as soon as you discover all the programs, classes, clubs, and the Friday and Saturday tastings, you'll agree with Wine Spectator's trade magazine, Market Watch, that France 44 is "a new leader in retail." Downstairs, France 44 has an entire room devoted to high-end wines, and another one for high-end spirits, in case you're in the market for a $500 bottle of Macallan 25-year single malt scotch. Serious collectors can rent temperature-and humidity-controlled storage space for their best bottles, and those who just want to taste can sign up for a class in the barrel room (it looks like a monk's cafeteria, with its cave-like beamed ceiling and long wooden tables). Back upstairs, France 44 recently remodeled the former café space into a cheese shop and expanded spirits section, including dedicated space for organic and biodynamic wines. And the rotating selection of staff-chosen "wines for everyday drinking," all priced under $20, are sure to make France 44 a regular stop for wine shopping.