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

RESTAURANT TEN, UZES: RESTAURANT REVIEW

Ten sits just off the market square in Uzes, one of the prettiest villages in southern France. The newly renovated space is airy and comfortable with tables of sufficient size and sufficiently spaced to provide for a pleasant dining experience. Service was cheerful, fully bilingual, and attentive without being overbearing. The food presented well to both eye and tongue. And the rate of approximately 30 € per person for a party of five included starters, mains, a dessert or two, two bottles of local wine, and coffees at the finish. Reasonable if not cheap eats.  So why am I hesitant to give an unqualified thumbs up?  It took me a while to figure it out. Uzes is a quintessentially French village in a quintessentially French region of southern France. There are those who will say that the Languedoc is just as beautiful but less crowded and less expensive than its eastern neighbors. I know. I'm one of those people. But the fact remains that for many people, villages like Uzes are t

CONGRATULATIONS, DUNCAN AND FIONA: JUNE 1, 2019

We've known Duncan since he was about 5 and were honored to be invited to all of the festivities surrounding his wedding to Fiona. The wedding was held in a magazine converted to a military museum in Gosport. Duncan's dream...a wedding in a place where they used to blow things up. I've never been around so many uniforms. Live Long and Prosper! A kiss was the price to continue... That's Duncan's sister Clair arriving on the right. Grandparents...headed for 100 and sharp as tacks. Reception in an old magazine/museum. Mom baked the cake and made the ducks to order. Not from the wedding but seemed appropriate.

Kreuz Market vs. Smitty’s Market: Texas Barbecue in Lockhart

I was born and raised in New Jersey. I didn’t taste Texas barbecue until I was twenty-two years old. What the hell do I know about barbecue? And what could I add to the millions of words that have been written on the subject? Well, I know a bit about food. I’ve managed to check out a few of the finer joints in Texas – Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse in Dallas, Joe Cotton’s in Robstown before the fire, the dear departed Williams Smokehouse in Houston, and the incomparable New Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Huntsville . So I can speak from a reasonably wide experience. This will not be a comprehensive discussion of the relative merits of Texas barbecue as opposed to the fare available in places like Memphis or the Carolinas. It’s simply a take on our recent visits to Lockhart and the relative merits of Smitty’s versus Kreuz from our point of view. I’ll get all over academic in a later post. On our way out to the ranch in Crystal City, we stopped at Smitty’s. You have to look