5 boutique-style wines to try

Columnist March 11
Recommendations

★★★Exceptional  ★★Excellent ★Very Good

Availability information is based on distributor records. Wines might not be in stock at every listed store and might be available at additional stores. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

Dave McIntyre is a wine columnist for The Washington Post. He also blogs at dmwineline.com. View Archive

Here are five wines from the Free Run Wine Merchants portfolio that exemplify the style and quality of boutique wineries along the West Coast. Free Run distributes in the District and Virginia; plans call for making wines available in Maryland soon.

Field Recordings Chenin Blanc 2011 Jurassic Park

★★★

Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara County, Calif., $20

This one makes me wish more California wineries (and retailers, and consumers) took chenin blanc seriously: It is gorgeously lush, with flavors of quince, Asian pear and apple, accented with lime to give it some verve. Alcohol by volume:
13.1 percent.

Free Run: Available in the District at Cordial Fine Wine & Spirits, DCanter; on the list at Birch & Barley, Ripple. Available in Virginia at Grape+Bean in Alexandria, J. Emerson Fine Wines & Cheese in Richmond, Oakton Wine Shop; on the list at Saison in Richmond.

Arterberry Maresh Chardonnay 2011

★★★

Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Ore., $35

It’s stunning: racy with lemon curd, apricot and wild herbs. Lip-smacking, fist-pumping good. And this isn’t even the winery’s top chardonnay. ABV: 12.3 percent.

Free Run: Available in the District at DCanter; on the list at Ripple. Available in Virginia at the Barrel Thief Wine Shop & Cafe and Strawberry Street Vineyard in Richmond, Grape+Bean in Alexandria, Oakton Wine Shop, Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville; on the list at Buckhead’s Restaurant & Chop House in Richmond.

Rasa QED 2008

★★★

Walla Walla, Wash., $55

A Rhone-style blend of syrah, grenache, mourvedre and a splash of viognier, it’s powerful, sleek and lush. It’s also a splurge, but a great example of what Washington state can do with syrah. ABV: 14.4 percent.

Free Run: On the list in the District at Bourbon Steak, Ripple. Available in Virginia at Basic Necessities in Nellysford; Tastings in Charlottesville; Camden’s Dogtown Market, Cellar to Table, J. Emerson Fine Wines & Cheese and Once Upon a Vine in Richmond; Clifton Wine Shop; Grape+Bean in Alexandria; Unwined (Belleview); Vienna Vintner; Vino Volo (Tysons Corner); Winestyles (Dumfries). On the list at Blue Goat in Richmond.

Headhunter Albariño 2012

1 / 2

Paso Robles, Calif., $20

Like sucking on an apricot at the nanosecond of peak ripeness. ABV: 12.5 percent.

Free Run: Available in Virginia at Camden’s Dogtown Market, Cellar to Table and J. Emerson Fine Wines & Cheese in Richmond; Grape+Bean in Alexandria; Oakton Wine Shop. On the list at 2941 in Falls Church, Magpie and Patina in Richmond.

Thurston Wolfe D.R. Wolfe’s Family Red 2011

★★

Columbia Valley, Wash., $22

This is a delightful red blend based on zinfandel (yes, from Washington!), with some petite sirah and lemberger to boot. Ideal for casual red-meat meals. ABV: 13.5.

Free Run: Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Ashburn Wine Shop, the Caboose Wine & Cheese in Ashland, Once Upon a Vine and Strawberry Street Vineyard in Richmond, Unwined (Belleview), Vienna Vintner, Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville; on the list at the Magpie in Richmond.

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