Houston Bubbles: Your New Year's Eve Champagne and Sparkling Wine Buying Guide
Let's just cut to the chase.
Photo by Jeremy Parzen When it comes to pricing, especially for higher-end wines, it's hard to compete with the "800-pound wine gorilla."
As one of the largest retailers and wholesalers of wine in the country, Spec's nearly always has the best pricing, especially when it comes to higher-end bottles.
Houston Chronicle wine (and sports) writer Dale Robertson once called the outfit "Houston's 800-pound wine gorilla". Its behemoth buying power gives it unrivaled leverage when negotiating with the nation's wine distributors and importers. And since it became a "direct importer" and wholesaler a few years ago, its ability to drive pricing has only expanded.
Now, don't get me wrong. On any given Sunday, I'm always going to place my bet on the Houston Wine Merchant. It's my favorite wine shop in the city, one of the best in Texas, and one of the last independently owned wine and spirits retailers in the state.
Many are unaware that Richard's, for example, is just another one of the many retail "brands" that Spec's owns and operates in the state.
That essentially makes Houston a two-horse town when it comes to wine shopping. (I'm omitting the supermarkets here because their pricing is nearly always higher than the specialized retailers' and their storage isn't always reliable, in my experience.)
And that's why, despite my fondness for and unbridled endorsement of the Houston Wine Merchant as the best wine shop in town, I do my Champagne and sparkling wine shopping at Spec's.
There's a lot of great sparkling wine out there, Houstonians. Here are some of my top pick's for your New Year's Eve celebration.
You'll find my No. 1 recommendation at the end of this post.