Columnist, Food
Recommendations

★ ★ ★Exceptional  ★ ★Excellent ★Very Good

Availability information is based on distributor records. Wines might not be in stock at every listed store and might be sold at additional stores. Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

Here are four super wines to help you through the late winter chill.

Ermitage du Pic Saint Loup Tour de Pierres 2012

★ ★ ★

Pic Saint Loup, Languedoc, France, $20

This lovely wine reminded me why I adore reds from southern France. It smells of violets, sage and thyme, and it tastes like blackberries, currants and — well, there’s no better word for it — energy. Biodynamic. ABV: 13.5 percent.

Winebow: Available in the District at Arrowine and Spirits, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, P&C Market, Pearson’s; on the list at Red Hen.

Ferrari-Carano Fumé Blanc 2013

★ ★ ★

Sonoma County, Calif. $16

Widely available, it shows ideal Sonoma County sauvignon blanc style: racy acidity matched perfectly with ripe, mouth-filling fruit that ricochets between a citrus grove and an orchard. ABV: 13.8 percent.

Republic National: Available in the District at 1 W Dupont Circle Wine & Liquors, Ace Beverage, Burka’s Wine & Liquor, Cairo Wine & Liquor, Calvert Woodley, Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits, Harris Teeter (various locations), MacArthur Beverages, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Pearson’s, Safeway (various locations), Trader Joe’s (various locations), Whole Foods Market (various locations).

Trossos del Priorat Lo Petit de la Casa 2011

★ ★ 1/2

Priorat, Spain, $20

Priorat, near Barcelona, became fashionable for its brooding, brawny wines with high alcohol that resemble a furnace, a style I don’t particularly care for. The Lo Petit is made from this winery’s younger vines, so it emphasizes more fruit flavors than Priorat tends to display. The alcohol is not shy by any means, but it is well-balanced. This wine is a nice partner to hearty meat dishes. ABV: 14.5 percent.

The Spanish Wine Importers:  Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Cordial Fine Wine & Spirits; on the list at Bodega, Estadio. Available online from www.tienda.com. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese and Twisted Vines Bottleshop in Arlington; Cheesetique (Alexandria, Arlington); Classic Wines in Great Falls; Clifton Wine Shop; Grapevine in Warrenton; Market Street Wineshop and Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville; Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria; Swirl & Sip in Fairfax; Union Market in Richmond; the Vineyard in McLean; the Wine Outlet in Vienna; WineStyles (Montclair). 

Ironstone Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2013

★ ★ ★

Lodi, Calif., $12

Ironstone has a solid reputation for producing good-quality, inexpensive wines that can always be relied on. The 2013 cabernet franc has some of that wonderful, smoky leather character I call “Grandpop’s library,” a hallmark of the finest cab franc from the Loire Valley. It would be difficult to mistake this wine as French, though; its fleshy ripeness is decidedly New World. A beautiful wine for the price. ABV:13.5 percent.

Quintessential: Available in the District at Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Pearson’s, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Ronnie’s Fine Wine & Spirits in Forest Hill; Weaver’s Discount Liquors in Elkton. Available in Virginia at Ballston Place Gourmet and International Wine & Beverage in Arlington.