Recommended

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Casa Lapostolle Clos Apalta 2005
***
Colchagua Valley, $65

A valley within the Colchagua Valley appellation, Apalta produces some of Chile's top wines. This leading entrant in the luxury category has fresh, springlike aromas, plenty of oak, silky tannins and a long, complex finish.

Washington Wholesale; available at MacArthur Beverages, Calvert Woodley and Wine Specialist in the District.

Cousino-Macul Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
**
Maipo Valley, $16
(Good Value)

One of the most consistently good values in cabernet at this price range, this vintage is more international in style than is typical for this wine, which used to evoke Europe. Decant an hour or more before drinking.

Billington; widely available, including at Montgomery County liquor stores; on the list at Zola, Brasserie Beck and Lauriol Plaza in the District.

Errazuriz "Wild Ferment" Chardonnay 2007
**
Casablanca Valley, $21

Made with native yeast, which helps show the local characteristics, this is a lively wine, rich with roasted apple and creme brulee notes. It is long, complex and delicious.

Monument Fine Wines; available at Finewine.com in Gaithersburg and at Modern Liquors and Watergate Wine and Beverage in the District; on the list at Vinoteca and BLT Steak in the District.

2 Brothers Big Tattoo Red 2006
* 1/2
Colchagua Valley, $10
(Good Value)

This is one of the best values in our market today. A blend of cabernet sauvignon and syrah, it has great balance and more interest than most wines in this price category. Buy it by the case.

Billington; widely available, including at Montgomery County liquor stores; on the list at Kemble Park Tavern, Zola, Creme and Chi-Cha Lounge in the District.

Emiliana Natura Chardonnay 2008
* 1/2
Casablanca Valley, $12
(Good Value)

Made from organic grapes, this unoaked chardonnay offers crisp apple, quince and pear flavors.

Republic National; available at Ace Beverage, Schneider's of Capitol Hill and Paul's of Chevy Chase in the District; on the list at Darlington House and Peacock Grand Cafe in the District.

Falernia Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2007
* 1/2
Elqui Valley, $12
(Good Value)

Chile is developing a style of sauvignon blanc that falls between grassy-herbal New Zealand and tropical-fruit-flavored California. This delicious wine, new to our market, has citrus and fresh, white fruits, enveloped by focused acidity to give it structure.

Bacchus and Virginia Imports; on the list at Darlington House in the District and at Vino Volo at Dulles and BWI airports.

Terra Noble Gran Reserva Carmenere 2007
* 1/2
Maule Valley, $15
(Good Value)

Carmenere, the "lost grape" of Bordeaux, may be Chile's signature grape. It can reek of pipe tobacco; but this stylish wine is tamed by lush cherry and silky tannins.

Winebow; available at Bacchus Wine Cellar, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Todito's Grocery, Watergate Wine & Beverage and Paul's of Chevy Chase in the District; on the list at Ardeo, Capital Grille and Zola in the District.

Veramonte Primus 2005
* 1/2
Casablanca Valley, $12
(Good Value)

It's very oaky when first opened, but the fruit integrates nicely with time. Cellar it for a few years, and impress your friends with how little you paid for it; or at least open it an hour before drinking. Once it comes together, it shows nice tobacco and earth notes over berry fruit and silky tannins.

RNDC; available at Calvert Woodley, Pearson's and Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits in the District; on the list at Ardeo, Fogo de Chao and Old Ebbitt Grill in the District.

KEY

*** Exceptional

** Excellent

* Very good

Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through the distributor.

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