Piemonte, Italy, $27
Exotic and compelling, a botanical garden in a glass, this outstanding wine made me want to turn down the lights, crank up an opera and have a good cry. All this from a white wine. Serve slightly chilled. Alcohol by volume: 13.5 percent.
Kysela: Available in the District at Fresh & Green’s, Magruder’s, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s. Available in Virginia at Kroger in North Chesterfield.
Browne Family Vineyards Red Blend 2010
Columbia Valley, Wash., $35
A stylish blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and syrah, it’s a lovely example of what Washington state can accomplish. I appreciate the light touch with the oak that allows the fruit to shine through. This wine can often be found at a lower price, making it an even better value. ABV: 13.6 percent.
Siema: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Cowgirl Creamery, DCanter; on the list at Charlie Palmer Steak. Available in Maryland at the Bottle Shop in Potomac, Fenwick Beer & Wine in Silver Spring, Pinky & Pepe’s Grape Escape in Gaithersburg; on the list at Ricciuti’s in Olney. Available in Virginia at Ashburn Wine Shop, Market Cellars in Richmond, Unwined (Belle View); on the list at Magnolia’s at the Mill in Purcellville.
San Pantaleo Prendas Vermentino 2012
2 GREAT VALUE
Sardegna, Italy, $15
This rough-and-tumble white seemed a little ungainly at first, as though its fruit flavors were fighting with the herbs and salinity of Mediterranean breezes. But after about an hour — and over the next two evenings, actually — the parts began singing in harmony, and what a lovely tune it was. Nice by itself, this wine has stuffing enough to stand up to simple grilled fish or seafood pasta dishes. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Kysela: Available in the District at Fresh & Green’s, Magruder’s, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s. Available in Virginia at Tastings of Charlottesville.
Thomas Goss Shiraz 2011
McLaren Vale, Australia, $19
Textbook Aussie shiraz, inky in color and effusively ripe with blueberry and bramble and a touch of eucalyptus. ABV: 14.5 percent.
Constantine: Available in the District at Central Liquors, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, De Vinos, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. Available in Maryland at Allview Liquors, Jason’s Wine & Spirits, Pine Orchard Wine and Wine Bin in Ellicott City; Hops & Vines in Odenton; King’s Contrivance Liquor Shop in Columbia; Mays Chapel Wine & Spirit Shop in Timonium; Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits & Bistro in Beltsville; Perfect Pour in Elkridge; Wells Discount Liquors in Baltimore, the Winery in Chester.
Domaine de la Colline Chinon 2011
Loire Valley, France, $15
The Loire Valley is the spiritual home of cabernet franc. This wine shows the white pepper and black cherry flavors typical of the grape, in a light style that goes down easily without grandstanding for your attention. It’s a “bistro” wine, an ideal partner for simple foods. ABV: 13.5 percent.
M Touton Selection: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Logan Circle Liquor, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. Available in Maryland at Adega Wine Cellars in Silver Spring; Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits in Annapolis; Franklin’s Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville; Frederick Wine House and Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; Rodman’s in White Flint. On the list at Peacock Restaurant in Easton. Available in Virginia at the Vineyard in McLean, various Wegmans locations.