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This crisp $14 chardonnay will help start your new year off right

From left: Domaine Saint-Nabor Chardonnay 2020, Schoenheitz Riesling 2018, Domaine Pelle Menetou-Salon Morogues 2019/2020, Laurent Martray Brouilly “Corentin” 2018, Ridgecrest Vineyards Estate Dry Riesling 2020. (Scott Suchman/for The Washington Post)

We start the new year with four wines from France: A great value in chardonnay leads the way, followed by a stellar sauvignon blanc from the Loire Valley and a savory beaujolais that may have you thinking of your favorite Paris brasserie. A riesling from Alsace helps us transition to the Pacific Northwest, where a new label from the Willamette Valley is boosting Oregon’s claim to be in the ranks of world-class champions of riesling.

The best bargain wines of 2021


Domaine Saint-Nabor Chardonnay 2020

(2 stars)

Pays d'Oc, France, $14

Crisp and minerally, this affordable chardonnay offers aromas and flavors of apples, pears and a hint of pineapple. Quite pleasant by itself, it’s a natural partner for poultry or lighter seafood dishes. Alcohol by volume: 12.5 percent. Bottle weight: 500 grams (Average).

Imported by Marquee Selections, distributed by DMV: Available in the District at Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Bella’s, Eastport Liquors in Annapolis; Bethesda Co-Op in Cabin John; Blue Wind Gourmet in Lexington Park; Country Spirits in Cascade; Downtown Crown Wine and Beer, in Gaithersburg; Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville; Frederick Wine House, Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; Howard Wine & Spirits in Elkridge; Landover Liquor in Landover; Liquor Locker, Longmeadow Wine & Liquors in Hagerstown; Pine Liquors in Fort Washington; Town Center Market in Riverdale Park; Vintage 414 in Cambridge.

Schoenheitz Riesling 2018

(3 stars)

Alsace, France, $25

Here’s a dry riesling from some of Alsace’s highest vineyard slopes. Firm acidity gives it structure to pair with shellfish or richer seafood dishes. Look for flavors of quince and apricot and an appealing floral aroma as the wine warms; you may need to be patient for these flavors to emerge, as this wine seems firmly rooted in the earth. ABV: 13 percent. BW: 455 grams (Light).

Imported by Roche-Mere Wine Selections, distributed by Salveto: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Calvert Woodley. Available in Virginia at Dominion Wine and Beer in Falls Church; Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria; Vienna Vintner in Vienna; Washington Street Purveyors in Lexington; the Wine Attic in Clifton; Wine Cabinet in Reston; Wine House in Fairfax.

Domaine Pellé Menetou-Salon Morogues 2019/2020

(3 stars)

Loire Valley, France, $29

Menetou-Salon is in the far eastern part of the Loire Valley, near the more famous appellation of Sancerre. It shares the same Kimmeridgian marl soils as its glorified neighbor and produces some top-notch sauvignon blanc. Domaine Pellé’s is soft in texture but with lively verve to carry its flavors of jasmine and red currants. I tasted the 2019; the distributor recently switched to the 2020, so you may see both on retail shelves. ABV: 13.5 percent. BW: 600 grams (Average).

Imported and distributed by Elite Wines: Available in the District at Hop, Cask & Barrel, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Rodman’s, Wine Specialist. Available in Maryland at Bo Brooks Lighthouse Liquors, Wells Discount Liquors, Wine Source in Baltimore; the French Paradox Wines in Stevenson; Mills Fine Wine and Spirits, Wine Cellars of Annapolis in Annapolis; State Line Liquors in Elkton. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington; Bottle House in Charlottesville; Libbie Market, Second Bottle in Richmond; the Liberry in Leesburg.

Laurent Martray Brouilly "Corentin" 2018

(3 stars)

Beaujolais, France, $29

Deep, savory flavors of dark cherry and spice highlight this enchanting beaujolais, which shows the gamay grape at its woodsy, earthy best. Uncork this to enjoy with a wintry braise or stew and tell your smart speaker to play some French bistro music. ABV: 13 percent. BW: 535 grams (Average).

Imported and distributed by Elite Wines: Available in the District at the Bottle Shop, Old City Market and Oven, Rodman’s, Streets Market (Adams Morgan, Massachusetts Avenue, NoMa), Wardman Wines, Watergate Vintners & Spirits; Whole Foods Market (P Street, South Capitol). Available in Maryland at Bo Brooks Lighthouse Liquors, Wells Discount Liquors in Baltimore; Decanter Fine Wines in Columbia; Ronnie’s Beverage Warehouse in Forest Hill; Shawan Liquors in Cockeysville; Wine Merchant in Lutherville. Available in Virginia at Le Cafe Market, Pentagon City Wine Merchant in Arlington; Sonoma Cellar in Alexandria; Whole Foods Market (Arlington, Ashburn, Charlottesville, Fairlakes, Glen Allen, Tysons, Vienna).

Ridgecrest Vineyards Estate Dry Riesling 2020

(3 stars)

Ribbon Ridge, Willamette Valley, Ore., $30

Two weeks ago, I recommended the pinot noir from this new label by the father-daughter duo of Harry and Wynne Peterson-Nedry. Their riesling comes from the same vineyard on Ribbon Ridge, in the western part of the Willamette Valley, that Harry planted in the early 1980s. It is racy and energetic, a prime example of why Oregon can stake a claim to making some of the world’s best riesling. LIVE certified sustainable. ABV: 12.5 percent. BW: 450 grams (Light).

Distributed by Lanterna: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Classy Corks Wine & Spirits, Cork Market, Paul’s of Chevy Chase. Available in Maryland at Wine Cellars of Annapolis in Annapolis; Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Slaters Market, Unwined (Belleview, King Street) in 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 to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

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