Exceptional Excellent Very Good
Cotes-du-Rhone reds used to be my go-to everyday tipple, but they’ve been creeping up in price the past few years. This week’s greatest value, the Acantalys from the Les Vignerons de Tavel cooperative winery, is a charming $10 red that captures the region’s character without draining the wallet. For Rhone lovers, we also have a stunning syrah from winemaker David Reynaud that, even at $22, seems like a bargain given its quality. Italian wine fans should snap up the Coppo barbera listed here.
Rhone Valley, France, $10
Produced by a cooperative winery in the Tavel region of the southern Rhone Valley, this wine is a terrific value. If we were vacationing in Provence, we might go to the neighborhood shop and have our jug filled with this wine for just a few euros. Here in the States, we can enjoy a bottle of it for $10 and feel clever for finding such a great value. Alcohol by volume: 14 percent.
Imported and distributed by Dionysos: Available in the District at Eye Street Cellars, Rodman’s, Whole Foods Market (P Street). Available in Maryland at Balducci’s, Bradley Food & Beverage, Lance’s Beer & Wine in Bethesda, Dawson’s Market in Rockville, Magothy Wine & Spirits in Severna Park, Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring, Wine Bin in Ellicott City; on the list at Q by Peter Chang in Bethesda. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean), Whole Foods Market in Arlington; on the list at Peter Chang in Arlington.
Piemonte, Italy, $16
Barbera at its best is a bright, juicy red that is fun to drink (as in gulpable, not cerebral), extremely food friendly and delicious on its own, and is modest in price. This beauty starts off with a slight CO2 spritz, as if it was super eager for you to crack the screw cap and liberate it from the bottle. It settles down with lovely flavors of black cherry and plum, with a savory herbal quality on the finish. ABV: 14.5 percent.
Imported by Folio, distributed in the District and Maryland by M. Touton Selection: Available in the District at 7-River Mart, A. Litteri, Burka’s Wine & Liquor, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Eye Street Cellars, Rodman’s , Washington Wine & Liquor, Wide World of Wines. Available in Maryland at the Bottle Shop in Potomac; Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda; Cork & Bottle Liquors in Laurel; Dawson’s Market in Rockville; Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg; Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville; Longmeadow Wine & Liquor in Hagerstown; Old Farm Liquors, Riverside Liquors and Village Mart Beer & Wine in Frederick.
Collines Rhodaniennes, Rhone Valley, $22
Plush and velvety, this luscious red wine is modern in style, displaying primarily sweet, ripe fruit flavors of blackberry, cherry and currant, with a hint of smoke and earth in the background. Its depth and finish help it punch well above its price. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Imported and distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rosebud Liquor, Streets Market (Cleveland Park, M Street NE); on the list at Cafe Bonaparte, Dish+Drinks, Et Voila, Le Diplomate, Mintwood Place, Reverie, Unconventional Diner. Available in Maryland at Antietam Spirits in Boonsboro; Beer, Wine & Co. and Capital Beer & Wine in Bethesda; Fenwick Beer & Wine in Silver Spring; Mt. Washington Wine Co. in Baltimore; Pour Vino N Hops in Rockville; on the list at La Ferme in Chevy Chase. Available in Virginia at Altura Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Arrowine & Cheese and Screwtop Wine Bar & Cheese Shop in Arlington, Barrel Thief Wine Shop & Cafe, Ellwood Thompson’s Natural Market and J. Emerson Fine Wines & Cheese in Richmond, Vienna Vintner in Vienna, Wine Cabinet in Reston; on the list at Atrium Cafe in Arlington, Can Can Brasserie in Richmond, Columbia Firehouse and Two Nineteen in Alexandria, One Eleven Main in Bel Air, Secret Garden Cafe in Occoquan.
Columbia Valley, Wash., $16
The label doesn’t tell us the blend, and the website doesn’t even mention the wine, so we only have what’s in the glass to go on. This attractively priced red from Washington’s Columbia Valley is fruit-forward in the American style, balanced with nice acidity and a silky texture. Enjoy this with anything grilled. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Distributed in the District and Maryland by M. Touton Selection: Available in the District at 7-River Mart, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Eye Street Cellars, Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s, Virginia Market. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda; Dawson’s Market in Rockville; Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg; Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville; House of Liquors in Westminster; the Liquor Barn in Taneytown; Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring; Wheaton Winery in Wheaton.
Loire Valley, France, $17
Dry chenin blanc from the Loire Valley often tends toward the stony, minerally style, and this is no exception. Right now it’s tart, but that mouth-puckering quality is backed up with loads of stone fruit flavors and an almost chalky texture (in a good way). Buy some now and forget about it for six months or so — it should improve with a little more time in bottle. ABV: 11.5 percent.
Imported and distributed by Dionysos: Available in the District at Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Balducci’s and Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean), Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), the Wine Outlet in Great Falls; on the list at Brabo 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 Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.