★★★Exceptional ★★Excellent ★Very Good
Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.
Here are my monthly recommendations of high-value, low-cost wines. These range in price from $9 to $15.
Cellars Unio, Senorio de Convey 2008
Priorat, Spain, $15
Wines from Priorat, with its hot Mediterranean climate, tend to be huge, ripe and expensive. So when I saw one priced at a relatively modest $15, I opened it with modest expectations. I presumed garnacha (grenache), but the cranberry and sage aromas made me think immediately of carignan and the wild, woolly wines of southern France. The blend is actually 50 percent garnacha, 30 percent mazuela (a Spanish name for carignan) and 20 percent syrah. This is a terrific wine, lively with a sense of energy and a tart fruitiness balanced on a razor’s edge by an earthy, herbal quality that lends complexity and depth. Bravo!
M Touton Selections: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Rodman’s, Subway Liquors II. Available in Maryland at Baker’s Liquors in Chester, Belby Discount Beer & Wine in Rockville, the Bottle Shop in Potomac, Elkton Liquor Warehouse, Franklin Liquors in Ijamsville, Grosvenor Market in North Bethesda, Old Farm Liquors in Frederick, Quench! Beer-Wine-Deli in Colesville, Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington, Tick Tock Liquor in Langley Park, Town & Country Wine Liquor Etc. in Easton.
Alfredo Roca Pinot Noir 2010
Mendoza, Argentina, $12
It’s rich and deep, with black-fruit flavors reminiscent of an Oregon pinot, yet at a fraction of the price.
Republic National: Available in the District at Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s, Van Ness Wines and Liquors; on the list at Wasabi.
Inca Pinot Noir 2010
★1 / 2
Calchaqui Valley, Salta, Argentina $9
Who says delicious pinot noir under $10 is unattainable? This is another example of Argentina’s ability to produce wine that tastes more expensive than it costs.
M Touton Selection: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Riverside Liquor, Rodman’s, Subway Liquors II. Available in Maryland at Annebeth’s in Annapolis, Bethesda Co-Op in Cabin John, Belby Discount Beer & Wine in Rockville, Village Wine & Liquors in Clarksville, Dunkirk Wine & Spirits, Franklin Liquors in Ijamsville, Georgetown Square Beer & Wine in Bethesda, Old Farm Liquors and Riverside Liquor in Frederick, Quench! Beer-Wine-Deli in Colesville, Walther Liquors in Parksville. Available in Virginia at Cork & Fork in Gainesville, Plaza Latina in Falls Church, the Vineyard in McLean, Whole Foods Market in Charlottesville.
Tierra de Antes Chardonnay 2010
★1 / 2
Mendoza, Argentina, $9
Crisp and focused, without a splinter of oak, this refresher is ideal as a palate cleanser, a party white or an accompaniment to simple appetizers. New to the market, it should become increasingly available in the next several weeks and is worth stocking up on.
Broadbent Selections/Country Vintner: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Georgetown Square Beer & Wine in Bethesda.
Bodegas Nekeas El Chaparral de Vega Sindoa Old Vines Garnacha 2010
★1 / 2
Navarra, Spain, $
Juicy, ripe and spicy, this lusty red is an ideal partner for casual meat dishes such as burgers or steaks.
Jorge Ordonez/Country Vintner: Available in the District at Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, P&C Market. Available in Maryland at Georgetown Square Beer & Wine in Bethesda, Pine Orchard Wine and Wine Bin in Ellicott City. Available in Virginia at Arrowine in Arlington and Unwined in Alexandria.