★ ★ ★Exceptional ★ ★Excellent ★Very Good
Availability information is based on distributor records. Wines might not be in stock at every listed store and might be available at additional stores. Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.
With the holidays approaching, it’s time to consider sparkling wines, so we get the celebration off to a good start this week with a biodynamic bubbly from the Loire Valley.
Crémant de Loire, France, $16
Oslo: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Chat’s Liquors, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Cordial Fine Wines, Eye Street Cellars, Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s, U Street Wine & Beer. Available in Maryland at Chesapeake Wine Co., Spirits of Mount Vernon, Wells Discount Liquors, Wine Works in Baltimore, Frederick Wine House, Mt. Airy Liquors, the Wine Bin in Ellicott City, the Winery in Chester, Wishing Well Liquors in Easton; on the list at Bistro Blanc in Glenwood, Olive on Main Street in Laurel.
Ribeira Sacra, Spain, $19
Crisp and mineral, this wine seems to draw its essence from deep within the soil. Try it with shellfish. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Elite: On the list in the District at Daikaya. Available in Maryland at Crush Winehouse in Annapolis, Enchanted Forest Wine & Spirits in Ellicott City, Mt. Washington Wine in Baltimore, Ye Old Spirit Shop in Frederick. Available in Virginia at Beer Run in Charlottesville, the Whole Ox in the Plains; on the list at Europa in Herndon.
Alentejo, Portugal, $20
This is an unusual blend of indigenous Portuguese white grapes — antao vaz, arinto, roupeiro — along with a judicious splash of semillon, which might be a nod to winemaker David Baverstock’s Australian roots. The wine is taut and focused, with quince and talc flavors. ABV: 14 percent.
Dionysus: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Circle Wine & Liquor, De Vinos, MacArthur Beverages, Rodman’s, Whole Foods Market (P St., Tenleytown); on the list at Oya, Sei. Available in Maryland at Adega Wine Cellars in Silver Spring, Balducci’s, Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda; on the list at Tavira in Chevy Chase. Available in Virginia at Oakton Wine Shop in Oakton, Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Wegmans (Dulles, Gainesville), Whole Foods Market (Vienna); on the list at Carmello’s in Manassas, Giogio Restaurant in Virginia Beach, Tuscarora Mill in Leesburg.
Willamette Valley, Ore., $22
“Inox” is French for stainless steel, and Chehalem’s INOX was one of the first U.S. chardonnays to brag about not being fermented or aged in expensive oak barrels. The 2012 vintage in Oregon was riper than most, and this version of INOX is soft, round and full, with ripe peach and apple flavors. The Virginia distributor is still carrying the 2011, which may have more verve and acidity. ABV: 14.1 percent.
Bacchus in the District and Maryland: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Cork Market, Rodman’s; on the list at Bourbon Steak, Doi Moi, Ris, Sequoia Grill. Available in Maryland at finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Red’s Wine & Spirits in Kingsville, Wine Merchant in Lutherville; on the list at Grapeseed in Bethesda, Jack’s Bistro, Salt in Baltimore, Seasons 52 in Columbia. Robins Cellars in Virginia: Available at Norm’s Beer & Wine in Vienna.
★1 / 2
Calatayud, Spain, $13
Elite: Available in the District at Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Wagshal’s Deli; on the list at Afghan Grill, Boqueria, Chaplin, Daikaya, El Centro, Flight, La Tasca, Mandalay, Marcel’s, MXDC, Zenga. Available in Maryland at Cranbrook Liquors in Cockeysville, Frederick Wine House, Grand Cru and Wine Source in Baltimore, Mays Chapel Wine & Spirit Shop in Timonium, the Perfect Pour in Elkridge, the Wine Bin in Ellicott City; on the list at La Tasca in Baltimore, Red Horse Steakhouse in Frederick. Available in Virginia at Altura Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Hop and Wine, Olde Towne Butcher in Fredericksburg, Libbie Market, Union Market in Richmond, Little City Gourmet in Arlington, Unwined (Belleview), Whole Foods Market (Springfield); on the list at Cafe Caturra, La Tasca, Willow in Arlington, Goodstone Inn & Restaurant in Middleburg, Market Table Bistro in Lovettsville, Pane e Vino in Lorton, Parallel 38, Zocalo in Charlottesville, River Bend Bistro & Wine Bar in Alexandria.