Bargain Bottles

★★★Exceptional  ★★Excellent ★Very Good

Prices are approximate. Check to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

Here is my monthly list of inexpensive wines that overperform for their price, which ranges from $9 to $15.

Sinfonia Tempranillo 2011

★★1 / 2

Vino de la Tierra de Castilla, Spain, $11


What a delightful wine. Explosively fruity yet well balanced with acidity, this is a crowd pleaser, one to gulp down rather than contemplate. I’m amazed it isn’t more widely available. From local importer Aurelio Cabestrero.

Elite: Available in the District at Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits, D’Vines, Metro K Supermarket; on the list at Taberna del Alabardero. Available in Maryland at Crush Winehouse in Annapolis, Wine Bin in Ellicott City. Available in Virginia at Cheesetique and Unwined in Alexandria, Out of Site Wines in Vienna; on the list at Piero’s Corner in Fairfax.

Wolfberger Pinot Blanc 2011


Alsace, France, $15

Crisp and refreshing, like drinking spring water with a kick. 

Kysela: Available in the District at Fresh & Green’s, Magruder’s, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at the Bottle Shop in Potomac, Eddie’s Liquors and Urban Cellars in Baltimore, Jason’s Wine & Spirits in Ellicott City, Ronnie’s Beverage Warehouse in Forest Hill. Available in Virginia at Aldie Peddlar; Arrowine, Grateful Red and Twisted Vines in Arlington; Galloping Grape in Warrenton; Locke Store in Millwood; Throx Country Store in Winchester; Unwined and Whole Foods Market in Alexandria.

Cantele Primitivo 2009


Salento, Italy, $13

Fans of zinfandel should latch onto this southern Italian expression of the same grape. This shares the dried cranberry flavor and woodsy earthiness of its California cousin, but with sharper, more focused acidity and lower alcohol. 

Country Vintner: Available in the District at Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Rodman’s, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, Whole Foods Markets (P Street); on the list at Menomale. Available in Maryland at Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits & Bistro in Beltsville; Pine Orchard Wine in Ellicott City.

Villa Dria Colombard-Sauvignon 2011


Gascony, France, $9

Gascony has become France’s cash cow for cheap, charming white wines. With the Villa Dria, you’re paying a little extra for the heavy bottle (unnecessarily pretentious, especially at this price), yet the wine is crisp, clean and delightful, everything one would hope for at $9.

Dionysus: Available in the District at A. Litteri, Rodman’s, Wagshal’s Market. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage and Cork & Fork in Bethesda, in Gaithersburg, Iron Bridge Wine Co. in Columbia, Wine Cellars of Annapolis. Available in Virginia at Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean, Cheesetique in Shirlington, Unwined in Alexandria and Belleview, Whole Foods Markets (Alexandria and Vienna).

Finca Venta Don Quijote Verdejo 2011

1 / 2

Castilla, Spain, $9

Spanish verdejo is one of the most underrated white wines. It tastes a bit like sauvignon blanc, with some orchard fruit flavors to balance the citrus. This one is a nice introduction for the price.

J.W. Sieg: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits; on the list at the Tombs. Available in Virginia at Aldie Peddlar; Cohn’s on the Corner, Whole Foods Market, Wine Made Simple in Charlottesville; In Vino Veritas in Keswick; Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria.

Carelli 34 Malbec 2011

Mendoza, Argentina, $9

Malbec is a star, and this straightforward, fruity wine is a nice introduction to the grape and a good wine for everyday drinking.

J.W. Sieg: Available in the District at 1 W Dupont Circle Wine & Liquors, Bacchus Wine Cellar, Barmy Wines & Liquors, Local Vine Cellar; on the list at Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza, Redline, Smith Commons, the Source, Vinoteca. In Virginia, on the list at Busboy’s and Poets in Shirlington.

— D.M.