Exceptional Excellent Very Good
Wines from little-known regions in famous wine countries are often tremendous values, as their reputations and price are overshadowed by their famous neighbors. This week’s greatest value is a garnacha from Las Moradas de San Martín, a winery outside of Madrid. Other selections this week include a juicy rosé from Spain; a delicious, affordable bordeaux; and two exciting whites, from Tuscany and California. And for Pride Month, we have a celebratory cava.
Spain’s capital is not known for its wine, but there are some long-established wineries producing delicious reds from garnacha (a.k.a. grenache) in the region around the city. The Las Moradas Senda is a single-vineyard red from bush-trained old-vine vineyards, and it is an honest, soulful wine that cries out for some red meat and introspection. The label says it is 15 percent alcohol, but it does not taste “hot.” Alcohol by volume: 15 percent.
Imported and distributed by M. Touton Selection: Available in the District at Bacchus Wine Cellar, Eye Street Cellars, Rodman’s, Van Ness Wines and Liquors. Available in Maryland at Frederick Wine House, Old Farm Liquors and Riverside Liquors in Frederick. Available in Virginia at Vino Market in Midlothian, the Wine Outlet in McLean.
Bordeaux, France, $20
The 2016 vintage was exceptional in Bordeaux, and many of the wines represent great values at affordable prices. Julie Gonet-Médeville makes delicious wines from throughout the region; the Cru Monplaisir is predominantly merlot, with some cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc filling out the blend. The wine is plush and ripe, almost New World in style, but with a core of the graphite minerality (often called “pencil shavings’’) that is Bordeaux’s signature. ABV: 14 percent.
Imported and distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Daily 14, Eye Street Cellars, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Streets Market (Massachusetts Avenue), Whole Foods Market (Foggy Bottom, P Street). Available in Maryland at Antietam Spirits in Boonsboro, Bin 604 Wine Sellers and Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Ashburn Wine Shop in Ashburn, Balducci’s in Alexandria, the Bottle Stop in Occoquan, Locke Store in Millwood, Once Upon a Vine (South) in Richmond, the Town Duck in Warrenton, Unwined in Belleview, Wine Cabinet in Reston, Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville, Whole Foods Market (Alexandria, Arlington, Fairlakes, Reston, Vienna).
Tuscany, Italy, $28
The name “Ribellante” comes from a quote from Dante’s “Inferno” about rebelling against the laws of God, but here the rebellion is against the notion that Tuscany’s Maremma region is suitable only for red wines. This lovely white is a blend of riesling (which contributes acidity), malvasia (aromatics) and chardonnay (body). Enjoy this with substantial dishes, such as roast chicken. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Imported by Caput Munda, distributed by Impero: Available in the District at A. Litteri, Batch 13, Cork & Fork, MacArthur Beverages. Available in Maryland at Gemelli’s Italian Market in Gaithersburg, the Wine Harvest (Gaithersburg, Potomac). Available in Virginia at the Italian Store (Lyon Village and Westover) in Arlington, Vienna Vintner in Vienna, WineStyles (Chantilly, Montclair).
Somontano, Spain, $15
Cabernet sauvignon from Spain? As a rosé? There’s cognitive dissonance here, but also a nice, sappy, deep-colored rosé. Flavors of dark cherries and wild herbs suggest grilled vegetables and romesco sauce on the patio. ABV: 14 percent.
Imported and distributed by M. Touton Selection: Available in the District at Eye Street Cellars, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Old Farm Liquors in Frederick. Available in Virginia at Specials Wine Seller in Kilmarnock.
Lodi, Calif., $15
Albariño, the racy white wine of Galicia in northwestern Spain, is rare in California. This example from Klinker Brick in Lodi, south of Sacramento and known more for brawny zinfandel than for white wine, is an argument in favor of planting more. It has the grape’s characteristic flavors of lime, apple and grapefruit with a slight floral note, combined with California exuberance. ABV: 12.8 percent.
Distributed by Republic National: Available in the District at Circle Wine & Liquor, Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits, Potomac Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Catonsville Gourmet in Catonsville, Jim’s BottleWorks in Bel Air, Pine Orchard Liquors in Ellicott City, Wine Source in Baltimore.
Penedes, Spain, $19
The rainbow colors on the bottle advertise this wine’s support for GLAAD, an organization promoting LGBTQ acceptance. It’s a soft bubbly with lemon and brioche notes, plus a noticeable sweetness in the style of the popular Freixenet wine. There is also a 187-milliliter bottle for $7. ABV: 12 percent.
Imported by Highland, distributed by Global: Available in the District at 1 West Dupont Circle Wine & Liquors, Ace Beverage, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Cork & Fork, Cost Plus World Market, D’Vines, Gallagher & Graham Fine Spirits, Good Food Markets, Imperial Wine & Spirits, Michigan Liquors, Modern Liquors, Morris Miller Wine & Liquors, Oasis Gourmet Deli, Odd Provisions, Sane Wine & Spirits, Serv-U Liquors, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits, U Street Wine & Beer, Union Kitchen Grocery (various locations), Watergate Vintners & Spirits, Yes! Organic Market (various locations). Available in Maryland at Aloha Liquor in Baltimore; Beer Wine & Co., Bethesda Market, Capital Beer & Wine, Cork 57 Beer and Wine and Shuvam Beer and Wine in Bethesda; Cost Plus World Market and Dawson’s Market in Rockville; Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg; Franklin’s Restaurant, Brewery and General Store and Yes! Organic Market in Hyattsville; Friendship Gourmet Market in Chevy Chase; Lenox Beer & Wine, Nazret Market and Parkway Deli & Restaurant in Silver Spring; Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits & Bistro in Beltsville; Roots Market in Olney; Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-op in Takoma Park.
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.