★ ★ ★Exceptional ★ ★Excellent ★Very Good
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.
This week’s wines include a fantastic splurge-worthy nebbiolo from Piemonte in Italy, a terrific “house red” from Beaujolais in France, as well as good values from Spain and Argentina.
★ ★ ★
Piemonte, Italy, $55
This is an outstanding nebbiolo from Piemonte in northwestern Italy, lush with dark-fruit flavors, tobacco, cloves and mushrooms. It’s easy to imagine this wine coming from a mountainous region; it suggests altitude, somehow. Pair this beauty with rich meat dishes, such as a hearty winter stew. Alcohol by volume: 14.5 percent.
Country Vintner: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, Via Umbria; on the list at Acqua al 2, Fiola Mare, Tosca. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington.
Beaujolais, France, $15
Why do we keep ignoring Beaujolais? It is one of the world’s best wine bargains. This one is not like the grapey Beaujolais nouveau that arrives every November with the sunny, fruity taste of the recent harvest. This speaks of earth, rock and shadows. At first sip, you might stare at your glass for a moment, but the wine will let you return to your conversation. If conversation flags, however, the wine will always welcome you back. Serve it slightly chilled. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Wine Traditions: Available in the District at Arrowine and Spirits, P&C Market; on the list at Buck’s Fishing and Camping, Thally. Available in Maryland at Finewine.com in Gaithersburg. Available in Virginia at La Fromagerie in Alexandria, Vienna Vintner.
Rias Baixas, Spain, $17
Elite: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Bottle Shop, Broad Branch Market, S&R Liquors; on the list at 1789, Ardeo + Bardeo, Blue Duck Tavern, Buck’s Fishing and Camping, Lapis, Olivia’s Diner, Prime Rib, Ris. Available in Maryland at Cork 57 Beer and Wine and Geste Beer & Wine in Bethesda, Fenwick Beer & Wine and Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring; on the list at K Town Bistro in Kensington, Republic in Takoma Park, Woodside Deli in Silver Spring.
Calatayud, Spain, $14
Spain keeps churning out delicious garnacha (known as grenache elsewhere) with effusive, spicy fruit flavors. This is yet another example, a fun wine to have with casual weeknight dinners. ABV:14.5 percent.
Kysela: Available in the District at Magruder’s, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Antietam Spirits in Boonsboro; Artisan Wine Co. in Westminster; Balducci’s in Bethesda; Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits and Pinky’s West Street Liquors in Annapolis; Columbia Fine Wine & Spirits; Finewine.com in Gaithersburg; Fishpaws Marketplace in Arnold; Frederick Wine House, Old Farm Liquors and Ye Old Spirit Shoppe in Frederick; Longmeadow Wine & Liquors in Hagerstown; Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington; Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Beer Run in Charlottesville, Leesburg Vintner, Unwined (Alexandria), Vienna Vintner, Vino Volo at Dulles Airport.
Mendoza, Argentina, $12
Elite: Widely available in the District, Maryland and Virginia, and frequently found on restaurant wine lists.