Skip to main content

VINS I LICORS GRAU: LARGEST WINE BOUTIQUE IN EUROPE

One of the regular sporting activities that those of us living in the south of France enjoy is the semi-annual Run to Spain. Most everybody takes part. It's not a track meet, though. It's a shopping run. We go because some items are cheaper in Spain, substantially so. (I buy Cathey's favorite perfume there because it sells for less than in the duty-free shops, much less than in the local French parfumerie. But don't tell Cathey that. It'll be our little secret.) Some items simply are not available locally - a reasonable selection of Spanish wines, a bottle of brandy to feed the Christmas cake. And so, off we go Spain.

Just across the border sits La Jonquera, a small Catalonian town whose name is now attached to a massive array of opportunities to spend euros - department stores and specialty shops, garden centers, liquor stores, tobacconists, groceries and butchers. You want it? You can buy it somewhere along the main drag heading south out of the old town.

We usually make our winter run into Spain after resting up from Thanksgiving but before Christmas craziness hits La Jonquera full force. We decided to fly past the outlets first this time and head farther south, just east of Girona, to Palafrugell, a small town on the Costa Brava that has the distinction of being home to the largest wine boutique in Europe, vins i licors Grau.

Grau is family-owned, founded in 1951 by Miquel Grau i Lluís as a tavern and wine cellar delivering bulk wine. Children and grandchildren have joined the business, moving and building and expanding to the massive enterprise that it is today. To give you an idea of the size of the establishment, imagine the biggest liquor store in Texas. It's called Spec's. The flagship store is in Houston. Grau is twice as big.

The feature is the wine. Shelves and shelves and shelves of Spanish wine. Liz was so overwhelmed by the opportunity to purchase fine reds of every stripe that she flat forgot to check out the whites and rosés. A wall of dry sherries backed by a wall of sweet. Champagne and cognac and liqueurs and more. And let's not forget the liquor. Every stupid flavor of vodka that Absolut produces. Fine scotch. Small batch whiskey. A playground for the discriminating purchaser of hooch imported from around the world.

One caution. If you are looking for a run-of-the-mill spirit, that bottle of Torres brandy not for drinking but for spicing up holiday baked goods, the groceries at La Jonquera are actually cheaper. The same goes for lesser bourbons like Four Roses. But Grau can't be beat for its selection of wines and for the broad range of fine sippin' whiskey on the shelves.

The corporate website HERE tells the whole story with better pictures than the ones that I've attached below. To visit their online catalogue - not by any means a complete listing of what is available at the store - click HERE.

To learn more about our adventures in France, from walking tours to observations on life as an expat, click HERE.















Comments

  1. I think we may visit next year Ira ! We go every 3 months to stock up !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't believe that I heard about this place three years ago and waited until now to visit. It will become a regular part of our Spain supply run.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

CHÉ OLIVE / LE ZINC, CREISSAN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

No, it's not Chez Olive. It is indeed Ché complete with red star and black beret. I have no idea why and I wasn't about to ask. The French are the French and not to be analyzed too closely when it comes to politics, especially these days.

Creissan is the next town over from our village of Quarante. We pass through it often and Ché Olive is right there on the main road at the entrance to town. (One of the signs still says Le Zinc. Olive says he prefers Ché Olive though.) Olive opened it a couple of years ago after leaving the Bar 40, Quarante's basic local watering hole that's undergone a bit of a renaissance lately. We hadn't heard much about Ché Olive from our usual sources for dining recommendations. So we just kept passing by. For reasons not central to this review, we decided to stop in for lunch on a mid-week in late December.

The bar is cozy, the restaurant open and bright and modern. Newly renovated and perhaps a bit sterile. We were the first…

RESTAURANT ETIQUETTE IN FRANCE: SIMPLE PRIMER (WITH TONGUE IN MY AMERICAN CHEEK)

My recent reading of a poor internet review of a favorite restaurant of ours prompted this post. Some people simply should not be allowed internet access. Speech may rightly be free, but it shouldn't be worthless.

From reading the review, I could determine that the reviewer was a tourist who started out in a bad mood because he had to pay extra for parking a camper van that exceeded the maximum height for parking in the free lot. His party arrived at the restaurant at the end of lunch and without a reservation. At first, he was told that an empty table that he pointed out was reserved. When he persisted, he was informed that lunch was over. Since none of the other restaurants in town were still open, the reviewer had to miss lunch.

Let me count the ways...

RESERVATIONS ARE NECESSARY. Maybe not at Burger King, maybe not in a touristy restaurant in a touristy destination. But if you are really hungry, if you really want to try that restaurant that everybody's talking about, or …

FRENCH VISA AND HEALTH INSURANCE FOR AMERICANS

The most expensive item in an American family's budget may be health insurance. But many Americans have no understanding of the true cost of their insurance because it's included in their employment package. Folks simply don't think about how much their employer may be reducing their salaries when factoring in insurance costs.

Before I retired, my employer paid for my health insurance but I had to pay to insure my wife. The cost, taken out of my every paycheck, came to about $6,000 annually. And even with insurance, there were co-pays and other out of pocket expenses. We were reasonably healthy (and still are, knock wood), but we each take a few common prescription medications - for blood pressure and cholesterol and the like, nothing exotic or costly. Even so, with regular visits to the doctor, periodic lab work, the drugs, and the occasional illness or injury, we normally spent an additional several thousand dollars annually in the States over and above the cost of the i…