★ ★ ★Exceptional ★ ★Excellent ★Very Good
Availability information is based on distributor records. Wines might not be in stock at every listed store and might be available at additional stores. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.
Here are a few wines to get the new year off to a delicious start.
★ ★ ★
Carnuntum, Austria, $55
A splurge, to be sure, but this is a lovely wine from one of my favorite producers of zweigelt, Austria’s most popular red grape. This stylish example is blended with cabernet sauvignon and merlot and achieves a velvety texture and deep flavors of blackberry and wild berries, leading to a finish that doesn’t want to quit. It is not widely available, but consider this a winery endorsement and look for Netzl’s other fine reds. Alcohol by volume: 14 percent.
KW Selection: SimonNCellars in the District, Prestige in Maryland, Select in Virginia: Available in Virginia at Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), the Wine Cabinet in Reston; on the list at the Inn at Little Washington.
Mendoza, Argentina, $17
Argentina’s malbec continues to impress, with quality and value at nearly all price points. This one starts out compact and tight, but with an hour or two to stretch, it unveils an enticing floral note and a silky gracefulness. ABV: 14 percent.
Country Vintner: Available in the District at De Vinos, D’Vines, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Franklin Liquors in Ijamsville, Georgetown Square Wine and Beer in Bethesda, Roundabout Fine Wine & Spirits in Laurel. Available in Virginia at Curious Grape in Arlington, Slater’s Market in Alexandria.
Elqui Valley, Chile, $15
This sauvignon blanc from the Elqui Valley in northern Chile has a slightly aggressive, grassy attack that will be familiar to fans of New Zealand savvie. On the finish, it tastes more earthy than fruity.
Bacchus: Available in the District at Cairo Wine & Liquor; on the list at Cafe Mitsitam (Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian), Heritage India. Available in Maryland at Fenwick Beer & Wine in Silver Spring, Petite Cellars in Ellicott City, Wells Discount Liquors in Baltimore, Wine Merchant in Lutherville; on the list at Bistro Blanc in Glenelg, Crush Kitchen & Winehouse in Annapolis, Food Wine & Co. in Bethesda.
Dolomiti, Italy, $13
This wine conjured such a strong image of pure mountain snow runoff that I wondered whether I was on the set of a Coors commercial. But no: This is fine grigio, with the characteristic copper tinge of the grape and a refreshing limpidity over flavors of tree fruit and minerals. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Country Vintner: Available in the District at De Vino’s, D’Vines, Kogod Liquor, Rodman’s, Rosebud Liquor. Available in Maryland at Balducci’s, Georgetown Square Wine and Beer in Bethesda, the Bottle Shop in Potomac. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean), Dominion Wine and Beer in Falls Church, the Italian Store in Arlington, Norm’s Beer & Wine in Vienna.