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A fascinating cinsault from the Itata Valley gives us a taste of Chile's history, while a savory carmenere shows off the country's signature red grape. A berry-filled rosé from California, a delicate white from Italy and an inexpensive red from southern France help us with the transition to autumn weather and foods.
Itata Valley, Chile, $23
Cinsault is a relatively minor grape from the Rhone Valley and southern France, but it has a long history in Chile's Itata Valley. De Martino's Gallardia bottling is extraordinary: light and austere with pure cherry fruit and a long haunting finish, like someone a few houses away singing a spiritual on a cool evening when you can keep the windows open. Alcohol by volume: 13 percent.
Distributed by Country Vintner: Available in the District at Cordial Fine Wine & Spirits, Grand Cata; on the list at all area Legal Sea Foods and Seasons 52 restaurants, Bo Brooks in Baltimore.
Colchagua Valley, Chile, $16
Carmenere, virtually unknown today in its homeland of Bordeaux, has become Chile's signature red grape. This savory rendition offers aromas of tobacco leaf and black fruits, and meaty flavors that practically demand a hearty beef dish. ABV: 14 percent.
Distributed by Bacchus in the District and Maryland, Roanoke Valley in Virginia: Available in the District at Grand Cata, Paul's of Chevy Chase, Rodman's, Yes! Organic Market (Eighth Street SE); on the list at Tico. Available in Maryland at Plaza Liquors in Pasadena, Rip's Wine and Spirit Shop in Bowie; on the list at Bar Vasquez in Baltimore, Bo Brooks in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Organic Butcher in McLean.
This is the first rosé from this Sonoma County winery, and it's a winner. Bright zesty flavors of ripe strawberries leads to raspberries and a refreshing minty finish. If you don't suck this one down before dinner, try it with spicy Asian foods. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Distributed by Country Vintner: Available in the District at Cairo Wine & Liquor, Hayden's Liquor, Rosebud Liquor, Sheffield Wine & Liquor Shoppe, Union Kitchen Grocery (both locations). Available in Maryland at Beers & Cheers Too and Diamond Square Beer & Wine in Gaithersburg, the Bottle Shop in Potomac, Hop N Grape in North Bethesda, Village Beer & Fine Wine in Rockville.
What a delightful little refresher. This citrusy wine is delicious by itself, as an aperitif with finger foods or even with a light weekend lunch. ABV: 12 percent.
Distributed by Simon N Cellars: Available in the District at A. Litteri, MacArthur Beverages; on the list at Beuchert's Saloon, Lupo Verde. Available in Virginia at Screwtop Wine Bar & Cheese Shop in Arlington, Tastings and Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville, Tinto (Norfolk, Virginia Beach).
Languedoc, France, $12
This Rhone-style red offers hints of wild sage and lavender, with ripe, juicy fruit flavors that suggest the sunshine of France's Mediterranean coast. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Distributed by Elite: Widely available, including at Rodman's in the District, Rodman's (Wheaton, White Flint) in Maryland, and Whole Foods Markets (various locations) in Virginia.
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.