A day out shopping for wine - Gray Mackenzie & Partners, Abu Dhabi

I recently visited Gray Mackenzie & Partners, one of the principal liquor suppliers in Abu Dhabi to have a look at their latest store that has opened in the city. My interest was piqued after I tried their wines at a Tamba Restaurant Tuesday Tastings event. I asked their representatives what the wine I was having retailed for and I was blown away by the price. It was in this context that I went to their store. Many of us feel that wine and spirits are very expensive in the city and have become  a bit more savvy about smelling out a good bargain. 

Location

When I pulled up at The Hilton Capital Grand Hotel on Airport Road, I was not sure where to go, but the security guards were very happy to show me the way. The store is located in the basement of the hotel and the red door was distinctive enough to catch my eye. 

Shop


It is spacious, with store owners resisting the temptation to really fill the store. It is, after all, also about the shopping experience. What is the point of shopping trolleys if they cannot navigate the space? 




While the store's champagne portfolio is small, it does carry G.H. Mumm NV, while not my favourite, it is available at  a great price. To pay 225AED for champagne at a store is excellent value specially for one that rightly or wrongly, has proved popular with people. While there are other champagnes too, there are two labels that I am excited about.  Firstly, The Devaux Brut NV is a champgane I discovered a couple years ago when I did a Glass of Bubbly article on Bord Eau, the French restaurant at Shangri-la Hotel in Abu Dhabi. It has subsequently become the house champagne at Bu! Forget that you don't know this champagne - I would rather have it than most of the commercial brunch champagne we have here. 

Finally, the Perrier Jouet NV is available as a Brut and Brut Rosé and starts at 300AED, but it is the Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque, one of the more sort after in that price range because of its exquisitely crafted bottle(not pictured), that I dream of buying. By the way, if you want bubbly but without the champagne price tag, Hola Cava is a decent Spanish offering, especially the Rosé. 


Special Offers


These run throughout the shop and cover everything from whisky to wine to vodka and beer. The Cuvee Jean Paul red and white were on special, for example, at 40AED for 2 bottles. This table wine is passable for many average wine drinkers, especially when the wallet is a bit thin towards the end of the month. On the beer front, there were also many specials. Now, I drink beer primarily when I visit Asia or a Japanese restaurant, but I do know the average price for a beer is around 6.50AED in stores. I saw some New Zealand beer - I know right - going for 100AED for 24 bottles; Steinlager, for your information. I am told that special offers run throughout the month and the store does not rely only on slow moving items to fill the sale bins. 







Staff 


Jenny, who managers the store, is ably assisted by Mario and Frederick. They are efficient and friendly, so feel free to ask them when you can't find what you are looking for. There is a really good synergy between them and this filters through to customers. But what I liked most about them was that, apart from Jenny, they did not know who I was and they did not surround me and try to sell me things. That is what is wrong with sales people in Abu Dhabi - they do not allow customers just to browse. Nice. 





At a time when people are really watching their spending, places like Gray Mackenzie & Partners are very important to those who enjoy a glass of something at home. We all know the high mark up on a glass of wine when we have it at a hotel, and while having that glass of wine in a beautiful restaurant is still something to be done, there is a place for having it at home too. And at these prices, why not? 


The Essentials

Gray Mackenzie & Partners
Basement of The Hilton Capital Grand Hotel
Airport Road,
Abu Dhabi
+971 2 4449773

Opening Hours
Daily 9.30-10.pm
Friday 4pm-10pm

Please drink responsibly and respect local laws and customs.


Disclaimer: I was invited by Gray Mackenzie & Partners to try their new store and write about the experience. 

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