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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

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

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Here are Dave McIntyre's monthly recommendations of wines that provide good value, priced at around $10.

Essay Chenin Blanc 2008/2009
South Africa, $8

South Africa excels with chenin blanc, and this basic charmer entices with pure apple and quince flavors and rich mouth feel before a semi-dry finish. Great for Asian foods and worth stocking up on. The distributor has switched to the 2009 vintage, but the 2008 should still be available in many stores.

Bacchus: available in the District at Capitol Supreme Market, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, MacArthur Beverages, Schneider's of Capitol Hill, S&S Liquors, Whole Foods Market P Street and Tenleytown, Zola Wine & Kitchen; on the list at Dish and Heritage India. Available in Maryland at Bacchus Wine and Spirits in Hagerstown; Hair o' the Dog and Wishing Well Liquors in Easton; Spirits of Mt. Vernon, Wine Underground and Wells Discount Liquors in Baltimore; Swirl in Timonium; Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits and Wine Cellar in Annapolis.

Jean A.B. Pinotage 2008
* 1/2
Marlborough, New Zealand, $9

This unusual New Zealand expression of the pinotage grape might fool many tasters into thinking they are drinking a nice, fruity pinot noir (a parent of pinotage). While this wine does have the slightly cloying finish typical of pinotage, it lacks the unpleasant tarriness that mars many examples from the grape's homeland of South Africa.

Monsieur Touton: available in the District at Cairo Wine & Liquor, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Paul's of Chevy Chase, Whole Foods Market Glover Park; available in Maryland at Bethesda-Chevy Chase Beer and Wine, Bethesda Co-Op, Snider's Super Foods in Silver Spring, Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington, Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; available in Virginia by the glass at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center.

Torre Castillo, Monastrell 2008
* 1/2
Jumilla, Spain, $10

Monastrell is the Spanish name for the mourvedre grape, and this version is exuberantly fruity and downright fun, with enticing, spicy aromas. A great everyday red.

Kysela: available in the District at Magruder's, Paul's of Chevy Chase; available in Virginia at Curious Grape in Arlington, Wegmans in Leesburg, Whole Foods Market in Arlington, Fair Lakes, Reston and Vienna.

Cuvee des Templiers 2007
* 1/2
Cotes du Rhone, France, $10

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