Best of 2004: Wegmans

This is not your ordinary grocery store.

With more than 1,300 wines and 400 cheeses, there's not much you can't find at Wegmans (45131 Columbia Pl., Sterling; 703-421-2400). The vast rows of wine shelves hold selections not only from California, Virginia, Europe, South Africa, and New Zealand but also from Mexico, Lebanon, the country of Georgia, and elsewhere. Wegmans' tasting room holds costlier bottles–dessert wines, sherries, ports, even a 1949 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Bordeaux for $4,600.

Winemakers often stop in to give tastings and talks. The cheese department carries British Stiltons, American farmhouse cheddars, Spanish sheep's-milk cheeses, and lots in between; the knowledgable staff can help match them with wines. Best of all, everything is competitively priced.

Washingtonian staff contributing to this section were Chuck Conconi, Sherri Dalphonse, Susan Davidson, Mary Clare Fleury, Cynthia Hacinli, Thomas Head, Stephanie Jones, Ann Limpert, Drew Lindsay, Chad Lorenz, Leslie Milk, William O'Sullivan, Cindy Rich, and Jeremy Stahl.  Also contributing were writers Cathy Alter, Ann Cochran, and Jenny Sullivan.


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