Recorba Tinto 2012
Ribera del Duero, Spain, $10
Warning: This is a gateway drug that might get you hooked on the earthy tempranillos of Spain’s Ribera del Duero region, which typically cost $20 and up. Ribera fans will want to stock up and give their credit cards a break. When I first opened this wine, it was a bit rough-and-tumble, in a good way; two evenings later, it had settled down but was still vibrant and delicious. How often can we say that about a $10 wine? Alcohol by volume: 14.5 percent.
Dionysus: Available in the District at A. Litteri, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, De Vino’s, Rodman’s, Wagshal’s Deli. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage and Montgomery Gourmet Beer & Wine in Bethesda, Fireside Deli and Wine Shop in Swanton, Hops & Vines in Odenton, Iron Bridge Wine Co. in Columbia, McHenry Beverage Shoppe in McHenry. Available in Virginia at Angels Vineyard Wine Shop (online), Whole Foods Market (Reston, Vienna); on the list at La Fromagerie in Alexandria, Peter Chang’s China Cafe (Fredericksburg, Williamsburg).
Groom Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Adelaide Hills, Australia, $21
Australia is not known for its “savvy,” being overshadowed in that category by New Zealand. Its expression of the grape is distinctly different from its neighbor’s, emphasizing tree fruit flavors more than tropical fruits. This version is slightly underripe to emphasize the acidity, giving it a sleek feel. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Winebow: Available in the District at Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Kogod Liquor; by the glass at Range.
Tommasi Poggio al Tufo Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
Tuscany, Italy, $16
This is good, honest cabernet, suitable to pair with any red meat dish and nimble enough to dance by itself. Best of all, it’s not gussied up with a lot of oak flavors that people too often mistake for high-quality wine. ABV: 13 percent.
M Touton: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at
Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Quench! in Silver Spring.
Papet Del Mas Cava Brut
Penedes, Spain, $8
Cava is sparkling wine on the cheap, ideal for large parties or quiet celebrations of life’s minor triumphs. Don’t expect champagne here; what you will get is soft, fruity fizz that will bring an “ahh” to your lips. ABV: 11.5 percent.
Dionysus: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, De Vinos, Rodman’s, Wagshal’s Deli; on the list at Cava. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage and Cork & Fork in Bethesda, Chesapeake Wine Co. in Baltimore, Rodman’s in Wheaton, Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring; on the list at Sushiko in Chevy Chase. Available in Virginia at Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean, Fern Street Gourmet in Alexandria, Prime Gourmet in Ashburn, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), Whole Foods Market (Alexandria, Vienna); on the list at Cava Mezze in Clarendon.