Exceptional   Excellent   Very Good

Two fine Italian wines highlight this week’s recommendations, ideal for convivial weekend feasts. We also have a delicious Riesling from Michigan and two more kosher wines for Passover, starting on March 30.


Cà ed Balos Dolcetto d'Alba 2016

Piedmont, Italy, $20

I found this wine entrancing from the first sip. The color is deep ruby, the aromas burst with ripe flavors of dark cherries, plums and maybe a hint of citrus peel. And the flavors would not quit. Stock up and keep this on hand for those nights when pasta, pizza and abbondanza are on the menu. But hurry: Only 150 cases were produced. Hopefully some of them will show up in more stores soon. Alcohol by volume: 13 percent.

Distributed by Simon N Cellars: Available in the District at A. Litteri, MacArthur Beverages; on the list at Bibiana, Lupo Verde. Available in Virginia at the Italian Store in Arlington, Leesburg Vintner in Leesburg, Tastings of Charlottesville and Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville; on the list at Bizou in Charlottesville.


Vigneti del Vulture Pipoli Greco-Fiano 2016

Basilicata, Italy, $17

This zesty white, with its tropical fruit and citrus notes, had me dreaming of summer and a weekend lunch of salad and grilled seafood on the patio. It pairs as well with food as it does with fantasy. ABV: 12 percent.

Distributed by Bacchus in the District and Maryland, Virginia Imports in Virginia: Available in Virginia at Dominion Wine and Beer in Falls Church, Vienna Vintner in Vienna, WineStyles in Montclair; on the list at Clarity in Vienna, Landini Brothers in Alexandria, Violino Ristorante in Winchester.

Chateau Grand Traverse Whole Cluster Riesling 2016

Old Mission Peninsula, Mich., $19

So I continue my excitement for wines from Michigan’s Old Mission and Leelanau peninsulas, extending like a victory sign northward from Traverse City. “CGT” has done it again with this charming, delicious Riesling, with its flavors of apricot and citrus balanced by soft but persistent acidity. It’s dry without being mouth puckering, fruity and approachable without being sweet. A Goldilocks wine. ABV: 11.5 percent.

Distributed by Siema: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Wagshal’s Deli. Available in Maryland at Cork & Fork in Bethesda, Cranberry Liquors in Westminster, Fenwick Beer & Wine in Silver Spring, Finewine.com and Pinky & Pepe’s Grape Escape in Gaithersburg, Franklin Liquors in Ijamsville, Longmeadow Wine & Liquors in Hagerstown; on the list at Vini Culture in Frederick. Available in Virginia at Great Bottles in Suffolk, Little Washington Winery in Washington, Tastefully Yours in Occoquan.

Les Remparts de Bel Air 2015

Bordeaux, France, $17

Rather light in color and body for a Bordeaux, this wine nonetheless offers lovely fruit and wood notes with a high-wire balance that resonates for several seconds on the finish. Kosher for Passover. ABV: 13 percent.

Distributed by M. Touton: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s, S&R Liquors. Available in Maryland at Old Farm Liquors in Frederick.

Tree of Life Semi-Sweet Kosher Pomegranate Wine

Armenia, $15

Think of Pom, with a kick. Made from 100 percent pomegranate juice, the wine adds a resiny hint that may come from aging in some sort of cask. The tartness of pomegranate’s acidity balances the sweetness nicely. There is also a semi-dry version, and the company makes a liqueur and vodka from pomegranate as well. Kosher. ABV: 12 percent.

Distributed by DMV: Available in the District at Georgia Ave Food Barn, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Beers & Cheers in Germantown, Bin 604 Wine Sellers and Eddie’s Liquors in Baltimore, C&R Liquors in Hagerstown, Country Boy Market, Fenwick Beer & Wine and Quench! Beer-Wine-Deli in Silver Spring, Crescent Beer & Wine and Rip’s Wine and Spirit Shop in Bowie, Dunkirk Wine & Spirits in Dunkirk, Edgewater Liquors in Edgewater, Frederick Wine House and Old Farm Liquors in Frederick, Friendship Wine & Liquor in Abingdon, Harbour Wine & Spirits in Severna Park, Montgomery County Liquor & Wine (various locations), North Ridge Wine & Spirits and Petite Cellars in Ellicott City, Potomac Beer & Wine in Rockville, Rodman’s in Wheaton, Roland’s in Chesapeake Beach, Rosewick Wine & Spirits in La Plata, Sunny’s Fine Wine & Spirits in Sykesville, Wine Rack in Fruitland, Village Pump Liquors in College Park, Wine & Liquor Depot in Brandywine, Zip’eez in Oakland.

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.

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