Exceptional Excellent Very Good
If you’re a food lover who has traveled through Europe, you probably have a story about a simple but delicious wine you enjoyed at a bistro in France, a trattoria in Italy or a roadside cafe wherever. The story usually includes frustration that the wine is not available here at home. This week’s recommendations include two such wines from your trip (real or imagined) to Sicily, including our greatest value of the week, the Cantine Colosi Rosso 2016, and a frappato, as fun to say as it is to drink.
And if you’re ready to fire up the grill (if it ever stops raining), here’s a terrific syrah from J. Lohr in California’s Paso Robles. This is one of the best California red wines under $20 I’ve tasted in a long time, from a family-owned winery and a leader in environmentally friendly sustainable viticulture.
Sicily, Italy, $13
Sicily’s wines seem to taste of warmth and sunshine. This lovely blend of nero d’avola and nerello cappuccio is savory with hints of wild herbs and dark cherries. It has depth and restrained power. I liked it on the first sip, and loved it by the third. Alcohol by volume: 13.5 percent.
Imported by Vias, distributed in the District and Maryland by Winebow, in Virginia by Roanoke: Available in the District at Cairo Wine & Liquor, Calvert Woodley, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Hayden’s Liquor, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Dunkirk Wine & Spirits in Dunkirk, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Rodman’s in White Flint. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese and the Italian Store (Lyon Village and Westover) in Arlington, Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean.
Paso Robles, Calif., $16
During a recent tasting in the District of the Rhone Rangers, a group of U.S. wineries that make Rhone Valley-style wines, the J. Lohr syrah impressed the audience with its easy-drinking, uncomplicated style and its rich flavors of blueberries and blackberries, buttressed by American oak. But when Steve Lohr, the family-owned winery’s CEO, said it retails for “about $15,” the audience was amazed. This is a terrific value. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Distributed by RNDC in the District and Virginia, Breakthru in Maryland: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Continental Wine & Liquor, Harris Teeter (various locations). Available in Maryland at Eastport Liquors in Annapolis, Edgewater Liquors in Edgewater, Fishpaws Marketplace in Arnold, Jim’s BottleWorks in Bel Air.
Tannat calls the Madiran area of southwestern France home, but it has made its mark in South America, too. Uruguay is the best-known producer there, but Bolivia and Brazil do a nice job, as well. Miolo’s is polished and elegant, with smooth tannins bracing deep black-fruit flavors of blackberries and dark cherries. Decant for an hour to let the flavors develop. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Imported by Mazeray Corp., distributed by Global Wines: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Grand Cata, Rodman’s, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits, U Street Wine & Beer. Available in Maryland at Bel Air Liquors in Bel Air; Bella’s in Annapolis; Charles Village Discount Liquors, Quarry Wine & Spirits, Urban Cellars, Wine Source and Wine Works in Baltimore; Cork 57 Beer and Wine in Bethesda; Dawson’s Market in Rockville; Drink Fine Wine & Spirits in Timonium; Fenwick Beer & Wine in Silver Spring; Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits & Bistro in Beltsville; Red: Wine, Beer & Spirits in Clarksville; Wine Bin in Ellicott City; the Wine Harvest (Gaithersburg, Potomac); Town Center Market in Riverdale Park.
Named for the annual spring horse race held in several Italian cities, this lovely verdicchio opens with aromas of peach blossom, then follows with flavors of white peach and nectarine. It ends with a refreshing salinity that makes it ideal for light seafood dishes and salads. Labeled as vegan. ABV: 14 percent.
Imported by Caput Mundi, 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, Wine Styles (Chantilly, Montclair).
Sicily, Italy, $14
Remember that wine you enjoyed while traveling through Italy, the pleasant cheap local red you had never heard of? And you could never find once you got home? Frappato is that type of wine — light in color and body, with bright flavors of Bing cherry, strawberry and plum. You’ll have to pay a little more than you did in Sicily, and re-create the meal and atmosphere yourself, but this lovely wine from Feudo di Santa Tresa, made with organic grapes, will do its part. Serve it chilled, with the drop of condensation running down the bottle matching the bead of perspiration on the back of your neck as you enjoy this on the patio on a warm afternoon. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Imported by Vias: Distributed by Winebow: Available in the District at A. Litteri, the Bottle Shop, Pearson’s, Rodman’s; on the list at several restaurants. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Edgewater Liquors in Edgewater, Goska’s Liquors in Severna Park, Port of Call Liquors in Solomons, Total Discount Liquors in Eldersburg, Wine Source in Baltimore.
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.