★ ★ ★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. Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.
These wines are suitable for Thanksgiving and its leftovers. Other worthy wines from my recent recommendations include the Eroica Riesling from Washington state and the Gary Farrell Russian River Selections Pinot Noir from Sonoma County.
★ ★ 1/2
Monticello, Va., $25
Veritas is consistently one of my favorite Virginia viogniers, as winemaker Emily Pelton succeeds in capturing the grape’s floral, peach blossom and jasmine character. In the past few vintages, she has added a soupçon of petit manseng to lift the aromas and contribute a bit of sweetness to the palate. That is not unusual, but it is controversial: Some winemakers argue that viognier is best left to itself, without help from other grapes. Alcohol by volume: 13 percent.
Available in Virginia at Total Wine & More (various locations).
★ ★ 1/2
Old Mission Peninsula, Mich., $19
Beaujolais from Michigan? Yep. Grand Traverse and the Old Mission Peninsula in general are better known for Rieslings and crisp, aromatic whites, but this light-bodied red is delicious and food-friendly. Its tart cherry flavors, laced with aromas of nutmeg and other wood spice, suggest fall. This is a fun wine, not just because of the novelty of being a red from Michigan, but because it’s darn good. ABV: 13.4 percent.
Siema: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, DCanter, Each Peach Market, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits; on the list at Eno Wine Bar, Iron Gate, Oya, Red Apron Butchery (D Street). Available in Maryland at Capital Beer & Wine in Bethesda, Frederick Wine House. Available in Virginia at Cork & Fork in Gainesville; Little Washington Winery Tasting Room; Oby Lee Winery in Arlington; Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria; Red Apron Butchery in Merrifield; Red, White & Bleu in Falls Church, Wine Cabinet in Reston, Wine Loves Chocolate (Charlottesville, Washington); on the list at B Side and Ovvio Osteria in Merrifield, Bistro 306 in Arlington, Zibibbo73 Trattoria Italiana in Stafford.
North Coast, Calif., $25
Winemaker Greg La Follette specializes in pinot noir and chardonnay from various vineyards in Sonoma and Mendocino counties, and his wines are always expressive of each vineyard’s terroir. If you can find them, get them. This North Coast blend of pinot noir from several vineyards gives a good introduction to his style — bold flavors, lush texture and mouthfeel, and a savory, almost citrusy finish. ABV: 14.1 percent.
Elite: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Calvert Woodley, De Vinos, Rodman’s, Whole Foods Market (various locations); on the list at 701, Ardeo+Bardeo, B Too, Beuchert’s Saloon, Charlie Palmer Steak, Lincoln, Nopa. Available in Maryland at Beer, Wine & Co. in Bethesda; Bin 604 Wine Sellers, Wine Source in Baltimore; Finewine.com in Gaithersburg; Preserve Wine & Spirits in Hanover; Wine Cellars of Annapolis; on the list at Black Market Bistro in Garrett Park, Taste Gastropub in Olney. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese, Grateful Red Wine & Gift Shop in Arlington, Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean); on the list at Dudley’s Bistro in Williamsburg; the Majestic, River Bend Bistro in Alexandria; Willow in Arlington.
Husi, Romania, $15
Look for more wines from southeastern Europe, as traditional winegrowing areas modernize and improve in the post-Soviet era. Feteasca Neagra is an indigenous grape to Romania, with zinfandel-like character of spicy fruit and earth. Pair with simple meat dishes or enjoy on its own. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Cavanaugh Family Imports: Available in the District at Central Liquors, Chat’s Liquors, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Georgetown Wine & Spirits. Available in Maryland at Rip’s Wine and Spirit Shop in Bowie, Pinehurst Wine Shoppe, Wine Market in Baltimore, Waugh Chapel Wine & Spirits in Gambrills; on the list at Peter’s Inn in Baltimore.
“Romanian varietals for fat cats and aristocats,” the label proclaims. This fruity, flowery off-dry white smells and tastes as though muscat dominates the blend. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Cavanaugh Family Imports: Available in the District at Central Liquors, Chat’s Liquors, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Georgetown Wine & Spirits. Available in Maryland at the Perfect Pour in Elkridge, Pinehurst Wine Shoppe, Wine Market in Baltimore, Rip’s Wine and Spirit Shop in Bowie, Roots Market in Olney, Waugh Chapel Wine & Spirits in Gambrills; on the list at Peter’s Inn, Sotta Sopra, Ware House 518 in Baltimore.