Exceptional Excellent Very Good
Here are five “Great Value” wines that deliver exceptional quality for their price. We have an archetypal Cotes du Rhone, a racy Sangiovese from an obscure area of Tuscany, a delightful tropical white from central Italy, a perennial value white Bordeaux and a delicious red blend from Turkey made from a tongue-twisting blend of grapes.
Rhone Valley, France, $14
This lovely red offers everything we want in a Cotes du Rhone: dark fruit flavors, the “garrigue” of wild herbs and a bright floral note. The balance and depth are exceptional. It could be enjoyed and admired by itself, but it excels with any roast meat. Alcohol by volume: 14 percent.
Imported and distributed by Well Crafted Wine & Beverage Co.: Available in the District at MacArthur Beverages. Available in Maryland at Wine Works in Baltimore; on the list at Antrim 1844 in Tenleytown. Available in Virginia at Cheesetique (various locations), Farm Fresh and Union Market in Richmond, Leesburg Vintner in Leesburg, Swirl & Sip in Fairfax, Uncork’d in Suffolk; on the list at Eat in Virginia Beach, Origin Wine Social in Norfolk, Stellar Wine Co. in Portsmouth.
Barco Reale di Carmignano, Italy, $17
Carmignano is a small subregion of Tuscany, just west of Florence. Fabrizio Pratesi’s Locorosso is spicy and rich, blending Sangiovese, Tuscany’s main red grape variety, with 10 percent cabernet sauvignon for heft. This is a young, rambunctious wine, fun to drink now but showing promise for when it settles down with a few years’ age. Try this with charcuterie, fresh cheese and rich pasta dishes. ABV: 14 percent.
Imported by DeGrazia Imports, distributed by Bacchus: Available in the District at Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits, Hayden’s Liquor, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Eastport Liquors in Annapolis, Wine Source in Baltimore; on the list at La Scala in Baltimore.
Falanghina is one of Italy’s delicious white wines, part of an impressive array that could launch a wine lover on a long exploration before repeating a variety. This beauty is citrusy with a hint of tropical fruit, ideal for lighter seafood dishes. ABV: 13 percent.
Imported by DeGrazia Imports, distributed by Bacchus: Available in the District at A. Litteri, Ace Beverage, Cork Market, Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits, Hayden’s Liquor, MacArthur Beverages, Rodman’s; on the list at Centrolina, Hill Prince, Little Coco’s. Available in Maryland at Eastport Liquors in Annapolis, Wine Source in Baltimore, Wishing Well Liquors in Easton; on the list at Fager’s Island in Ocean City, Limoncello in St. Michael’s, Piazza in Easton.
Entre-Deux-Mers, Bordeaux, France, $14
This producer, from Bordeaux’s Right Bank, near Saint-Emilion, makes delicious, affordable wines year in, year out. This white, a blend of organically farmed sauvignon blanc, semillon and muscadelle, is crisp and refreshing, with flavors of guava and apple. Enjoy this by itself or with light weeknight suppers. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Imported and distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Best One Liquor, Central Liquors, Capital Fine Wine & Spirits, Downtown Liquors, Rodman’s, Rosebud Liquor, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Wardman Wines, Whole Foods Market (P Street, Tenleytown), Wine & Butter; on the list at Acadiana, La Vie, Marcel’s. Available in Maryland at Balducci’s, Beer Wine & Co. and Georgetown Square Wine and Beer in Bethesda, Cheers & Spirits in Arnold, Decanter Fine Wines in Columbia, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg, Midway Discount Liquors in Joppa, Orion Wine & Spirits in Frederick, Wells Discount Liquors in Baltimore; on the list at Passionfish in Bethesda, Vin 909 in Annapolis. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Balducci’s (Alexandria, Reston), Bottle Stop in Occoquan, Fern Street Gourmet and Lee’s Market in Alexandria, Foods of All Nations in Charlottesville, In Vino Veritas in Keswick, Once Upon a Vine (South), Private Stock Cigar & Wine Co. and Union Market in Richmond, Vino Market in Midlothian, Whole Foods Market (Arlington, Charlottesville, Tysons, Reston, Springfield, Vienna); on the list at Can Can in Richmond, La Cote d’Or Cafe in Arlington, Passionfish in Reston.
Syrah, at 20 percent of the recipe, gives an international character to this delightful red blend that includes three indigenous, hard to pronounce Turkish grapes. For a classical frame of reference, think Rhone Valley, or maybe the hotter garnacha-dominant regions of Spain. There is some red raspberry, blackberry fruit with a hint of woodsy forest floor earth underneath. The wine continues to improve as it stays open for an hour or more. Turkish wines are often quite good, and great values, but they haven’t really caught on in the U.S. market — perhaps because it’s easier to say “cabernet” than “Okuzgozu.” ABV: 14 percent.
Imported by VinoRai, distributed by Siema: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Each Peach Market, Wagshal’s Deli (Massachusetts Avenue); on the list at Ankara. Available in Maryland at Hair o’ the Dog in Easton, Wells Discount Liquors and Wine Market in Baltimore; on the list at Ayse Meze Lounge and Doner Bistro in Frederick. Available in Virginia at Branches Tasting Room in Chesapeake, Tides Inn Market in Colonial Beach; on the list at Anatolia Bar & Grill in Williamsburg, Doner Bistro in Leesburg.
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.