Earlier versions of this list of wine recommendations contained incorrect origin and price information for the 2008 Verona Rosso del Veneto. It is from Veneto, Italy, and costs $9 a bottle. This version has been corrected.
Le Chapeau Cuvee Napoleon Pinot Noir 2009
Corsica, France, $9
This inexpensive charmer actually tastes like pinot, and it's good pinot. Don't expect the velvet of a top Burgundy; you'll still have to pay for that. But this should be a "by the case" selection to enjoy on a weeknight.
M. Touton Selection: Available in the District at Circle Wine & Liquor, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Sara's Market, Sheffield Wine & Liquor Shoppe. Available in Maryland at Arundel Wines & Spirits in Hanover; Bethesda Co-Op and Cork57 Beer and Wine in Bethesda; Franklin's Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville; Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; Snider's Super Foods in Silver Spring; Wine Harvest in Gaithersburg. Available in Virginia at Basic Necessities in Nellysford, Market Street Wineshop in Charlottesville, Opera House Gourmet in Manassas; on the list at Zin in Staunton.
Brooks Amycas 2008
This delightful blend of pinot gris, pinot blanc, Gewurztraminer, chardonnay, muscat and Riesling is effusively aromatic and richly complex on the palate. It should be on every Chinese restaurant's wine list.
Country Vintner: Available in the District at Cork Market. Available in Virginia at the Wine Cabinet in Reston; on the list at Evening Star Cafe in Alexandria
Pont de Gassac Selection Guibert (red) 2009
Languedoc, France, $15
A blend of 50 percent cabernet sauvignon, 30 percent merlot and 20 percent syrah, this wine from the hard-to-find, pricey Mas de Daumas Gassac is bright and fruity with a hint of earth and herbaceousness. Don't drink it quickly: It develops beautifully in the glass.
Country Vintner: On the list in the District at Proof. Available in Maryland at I.M. Wine in Fulton, Wine Cellars of Annapolis; on the list at Metropolitan Wine Bar and Sotto Sopra in Baltimore.
Villa d'Campania Bianco 2009
Campania, Italy, $9
Made from an obscure grape called Coda di Volpe, it's crisp and unassuming, but I couldn't just put the glass down and forget about it. A great candidate for "house white."
Siema: Available in Maryland at Adega Wine Cellars in Silver Spring. Available in Virginia at Ellwood Thompson's Local Market in Richmond, the Italian Store in Arlington, Market Street Wineshop and Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville, the Vineyard Table in Herndon, various Whole Foods Market locations, Whitestone Wine & Cheese in Whitestone; on the list at Castiglia's Italian Restaurant in Fredericksburg, Pizzeria Orso in Falls Church.
Bastgen Blauschiefer Riesling 2009
Mosel, Germany, $13
Crisp and lively, this wine is named for the blue slate found in the vineyard and offers solid Riesling with nice minerality.
Kysela: Available in the District at Magruder's. Available in Virginia at Cork & Fork in Gainesville, Curious Grape in Arlington, Unwined in Alexandria, Out of Site Wines in Vienna, Wegmans in Manassas, Whole Foods Market Arlington; on the list at Mark's Duck House in Annandale.
Verona Rosso del Veneto 2008
Veneto, Italy, $9
An unusual mixture of merlot and the regional Italian red grape raboso, this juicy, spicy charmer intrigues with its sense of the unknown. The label's heart-bedecked tribute to Romeo and Juliet makes it a nice choice for a Valentine's Day dinner.
Siema: On the list in the District at the Melting Pot, SEI. Available in Maryland at Bay Wine & Spirits in North Beach, Crush Winehouse in Annapolis, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Italian Market in Gambrills; on the list at La Scala Ristorante in Baltimore, Main Street Trattoria and Maria's Restaurant in Annapolis, Mia's Pizza in Bethesda, Palettie in Boonsboro. Available in Virginia at Harvest Moon Food Store in Floyd, the Italian Store in Arlington, Natural Mercantile of Hamilton, Private Stock Cigar & Wine Co. in Richmond, Wine Cabinet in Reston, Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville, various Whole Foods Market locations; on the list at Kora in Arlington, La Bodega in Hampton, Mangia in Lynchburg, Orzo Kitchen & Wine Bar in Charlottesville.
***Exceptional **Excellent *Very Good
Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.