Store Review: Julio's Liquors Westborough, MA

Friday, February 12, 2010

Last week I ran a story about a cool promotion Julio's Liquors in Westborough, MA was running to benefit The Franciscan Hospital for Children.  They're donating $1 for each bottle of wine sold this week (through Sunday February 14th, 2010) and some bottles qualify for matching donations from the wineries.  Read the full story HERE.

I had a chance to stop in and check out the store so I wanted to circle back and do a write-up of my impressions.  We previously lived in Westborough for a couple of 3 month stints, and I remember shopping at Julio's quite a bit.  The store has been renovated and improved in the past few years so if you haven't visited recently it would be worth stopping in.

When I visited, I had a chance to chat with owner Ryan Maloney and Joe Fisher about their wine program.  It was fascinating talking with them about the store and about wine in particular.  They're passionate about what they do and they've sold wine to all kinds of consumers over the years.  This is their only store- they're not a chain.  They carry about 3,500 different bottles of wine and 40% of their business comes from wine sales.  They also carry beer and liquor in addtion to an assortment of specialty food items, cigars and accessories.

Their case discount policy is 10% on mixed cases, and 15% on straight cases.  I've learned not to get too cranked up about case discount pricing policies- stores that offer 25% discounts tend to discount from a higher price and those that offer no case discounts tend to offer the first bottle purchased at a good price.  Having a look around at their wines, I'd say their pricing was good and in some instances very good on specific wines they specialize in as exclusives or in large quantities.

One unique aspect of their store is the Angel's Share Tasting Room.  They use the Enomatic wine tasting system you may have seen in operation at some other area liquor stores, but they take especially good care rotating interesting selections through the machine and making it easy to sample some wine while you're there for free before you buy it:

Some wines I spotted that I offer up for your consideration as you seek to build up the perfect case:
  • They carry the full line of wines from Firestone Vineyards including their Riesling which I raved about last year.  They even have custom blends of the Firestone Malbec that Julio's Wine Director Tim Korby selects:
  • Switchback Ridge Merlot at $59.99.
  • The 2006 Mockingbird Hill Petite Sirah continues to amaze me.  At $12.99, I recommend you stock up on this wine because I don't think the distributor has depleted their supply and what's remaining on shelves is all there is.  Read more about this wine HERE.
  • If you're looking for a great Sonoma Pinot Noir under $20, it's hard to beat the 2006 J. Mauceri Pinot Noir.
  • A wine I haven't seen in stores previously, the 2006 Kathryn Hall Napa Cab, was the highest rating I gave any wine I tried last year.  96 points- read more HERE.
  • They have a display in front where they feature 2009 Wine Spectator Top 100 wines.  Number 7 on the list, the 96-point 2005 Renato Ratti Barolo Marcenasco caught my eye at $49.99 before discounts. 
Check 'em out:
Julio's Liquors
Route 9 East
140 Turnpike Road
Westborough, MA 01581

Question of the Day:  Have you been to Julio's?  What do you think of the store?  Any wines in particular you'd recommend?
    Here's a video overview of the store from The Phantom Gourmet:


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