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Here’s an Italian-accented list of weekly recommendations, including one of Daniele Cernilli’s favorite white wines. I include a zingy pinot grigio from Sicily, an intriguing red from the Italian Alps, as well as a delightful Rhone rosé and an inexpensive Bordeaux value from France.
Marche, Italy, $23
In “The Ultimate Guide to Italian Wine 2017,” author Daniele Cernilli named Bucci’s Riserva 2013 Verdicchio as his white wine of the year. It can still be found in some places in the District and Maryland, at about $60. The classico is nearly as delicious and a much better value. I love Verdicchio for its faint saline quality, with a hint of seashore herbs and nutty flavor. It’s one of my favorite wines with simple seafood dishes. Branzino, anyone? Alcohol by volume: 13 percent.
Distributed by Bacchus in the District and Maryland: Available in the District at Cairo Wine & Liquors, Calvert Woodley (the 2014), Paul’s of Chevy Chase; on the list at Alta Strada, Fiola Mare, Lupo Verde, Sfoglina Pasta House. On the list in Maryland at Cinghiale in Baltimore.
Valle d’Aoste, Italy, $33
Don’t let the price turn you away from a wine from an obscure grape you’ve never heard of. Fumin has been grown in the Valle d’Aosta in the Alps of northwestern Italy for several centuries; written records of sales to the archbishop of Turin date at least to the late 1600s. It has the focus of high-altitude wines without the austerity; it’s rather rich, actually. I’d describe it as Bordeaux-like, except that would be an injustice to both Bordeaux and Fumin. It is a fascinating wine. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Distributed by Siema: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Cork & Fork; on the list at Minibar by José Andrés. Available in Maryland at Cork & Fork in Bethesda, Cranberry Liquors in Westminster, Gemelli’s Italian Market in Gaithersburg, Viniferous in Frederick; on the list at Antrim 1844 in Taneytown, Frankly Pizza in Kensington, Grano Emporio in Baltimore, Pizzeria Da Marco in Bethesda, Sushi Damo in Rockville. Available in Virginia at Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market and Once Upon a Vine (Stratford Hills) in Richmond, Foods of All Nations and Tastings in Charlottesville, Little Washington Winery Tasting Room, Locke Store in Millwood, Vino Market in Midlothian, Wine Outlet in Vienna; on the list at Orzo Kitchen in Charlottesville.
Sicily, Italy, $11
You’ll want to buy this wine by the case and use it as your summer house white. Certified organic and with an innovative twist-off cork stopper, it is racy, citrusy and scintillatingly refreshing. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Distributed by M. Touton: Available in the District at Capital City Wine & Spirits, Magruder’s, Mimi’s Convenience Mart, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Oasis Gourmet Deli, Open Door Market, Rodman’s, Sheffield Wine & Liquor Shoppe, Sunset Wine & Spirits, Virginia Market; on the list at Lillie’s Restaurant and Bar, Windows Cafe & Market. Available in Maryland at 108 Deli & Liquor, Village Liquors and Red: Wine, Beer & Spirits in Clarksville; Bethesda Co-Op in Cabin John; Bottle Shop in Potomac; Cork ’n Bottle Liquor in Laurel; Frederick Wine House, Old Farm Liquors, Plus Mart, Riverside Liquors and Ye Olde Spirit Shoppe in Frederick; Grosvenor Market in Rockville; Quench! Beer-Wine-Deli in Silver Spring; the Wine Shop in Waldorf; Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria), Crystal City Wine Shop, D’Vine Wines in Winchester, Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market and Union Market in Richmond, Market Street Market in Charlottesville, the Vineyard in McLean; on the list at the Caboose in Ashland, Giardino in Springfield, Paradiso in Alexandria.
Lalande de Pomerol, Bordeaux, France, $16
This is a “Right Bank” Bordeaux, meaning it is based on merlot and cabernet franc, and it is a wonderful vintage. This is the time to seek out inexpensive Bordeaux, and the Vieux Duché doesn’t disappoint with its intriguing flavors of plums, smoke, blackberries and mint. ABV: 13 percent.
Distributed by M. Touton: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Capital City Wine & Spirits, Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s, Wide World of Wines. Available in Maryland at Bethesda Market and Bradley Food and Beverage in Bethesda, Choice Wine & Beer in Wheaton, Village Liquors in Clarksville, Frederick Wine House and Old Farm Liquors in Frederick, Rollins Beer-Wine-Deli in Rockville, Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington, Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at the Vineyard in McLean.
Tavel, Rhone Valley, France, $16
This is textbook Tavel: bright red color with vibrant flavors of strawberries, rosemary and thyme. Lots of fun on a warm day on the patio, or with garlicky or spicy foods. The 2016 is just entering the market and should have wider availability in the coming weeks. ABV: 14 percent.
Distributed by Kysela: Available in the District at DCanter. Available in Maryland at Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Pine Orchard Liquors in Ellicott City, Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Foods of All Nations and Rio Hill Wine & Gourmet in Charlottesville, Kroger (Richmond-area locations), Locke Store in Millwood, Unwined (Alexandria).
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.