Two bargain wines from Acacia in California, good and inexpensive enough to be your house white and red, highlight our list this week. And we have a pinot noir comparison — the light and tasty A by Acacia and a deeper, richer example from Meadowcroft, grown in California’s Anderson Valley. Both are delicious, but the comparison highlights what you get when you pay more. (At this price level, bang often does come with the buck.) We round out the list with a refreshing Spanish white and a hearty red from Beaujolais.
A by Acacia Chardonnay 2019
Here’s a clean, crisp California chardonnay with just a hint of oak character to give it a little body. Look for peach and apple flavors — nothing complex, just good straightforward chard for easy sipping. This would be great for parties in a 3-liter box format. (Hint, hint.) Alcohol by volume: 13.8 percent. BW: 500 grams (Average).
Distributed by Breakthru: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Hill Spirits Unlimited, Rodman’s, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits. Available in Maryland at A&A Wine & Spirits in Gambrills; Cheers Wine & Spirits in Bel Air; Hilltop Convenience & Liquor in New Market; Hunt Valley Wine, Liquor & Beer in Cockeysville; Pine Orchard Liquors in Ellicott City; Pip’s Discount Liquors and Fine Wines in Chestertown; Ye Old Spirit Shop in Frederick. Available in Virginia at several Wegmans and Kroger stores.
A by Acacia Pinot Noir 2018
Black cherry, thyme and a hint of sassafras — simple, straightforward and delicious. This is inexpensive pinot noir that doesn’t taste like candy. Like the chardonnay, I would love to see it in a box, which would make it even cheaper and a great wine for parties. (Remember those?) But this bottle can easily grace any weeknight table. ABV: 13.5 percent. BW: 500 grams (Average).
Distributed by Breakthru: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Classy Corks Wine & Spirits, Exotic Wine & Liquors, Rodman’s, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits. Available in Maryland at A&A Wine & Spirits in Gambrills; Bee Hive Inn in Annapolis; Cork & Barrel in Havre de Grace; Edgewater Liquors in Edgewater; Fishpaws Marketplace in Arnold; Friendly Liquor in Odenton; Graul’s Market in St. Michael’s; Hilltop Convenience & Liquor in New Market; Honeygo Wine and Spirits in Perry Hall; Hunt Valley Wine, Liquor & Beer in Cockeysville; Northside Liquors in Aberdeen; Pine Orchard Liquors in Ellicott City; Riverside Liquors, Ye Old Spirit Shop in Frederick. Widely available in Virginia at supermarkets such as Giant, Kroger and Wegmans, as well as Total Wine & More.
Oro de Castilla Verdejo de Rueda 2020
Rueda, Spain, $18
Rueda, along the Duero River in north-central Spain, specializes in light, aromatic, dry white wines. They make a fitting contrast to the bold reds of Ribera del Duero, the next region upriver, and a tasty alternative to sauvignon blanc when you feel a need for variety. This Oro de Castilla is more substantial than most Rueda wines I’ve tried — not effusively fruity like some, but seems well grounded in the vineyard. Look for a hint of lime over peach and stone. The Virginia distributor has recently begun selling the 2020, so the excellent 2019 vintage may still be at stores. Don’t hesitate to snap it up. ABV: 14.2 percent. BW: 480 grams (Light).
Imported by Olé & Obrigado, distributed in the District and Maryland by Bacchus, in Virginia by Salveto: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Calvert Woodley, Modern Liquors. Available in Maryland at Luna Blu in Annapolis, Vintage 414 in Cambridge, Wine Works in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington; Cafe Frank, Union Market in Richmond; Crudo Nudo in Norfolk; Dominion Wine and Beer in Falls Church; Market Street Wineshop in Charlottesville; Unwined (Belleview, King Street) in Alexandria; Wine Cabinet in Reston; Wine House in Fairfax; the Wine Outlet (Great Falls, McLean, Vienna).
Meadowcroft Pinot Noir 2020
Anderson Valley, Calif., $25
Anderson Valley, in California’s Mendocino County, is punching way above its weight in pinot noir. Meadowcroft makes a delicious introduction, bursting with black cherry, pomegranate and woodspice, and a sensation of a cool night by a lake high in the mountains. With moonlight. And owls. Definitely owls. ABV: 13.8 percent. BW: 530 grams (Average).
Distributed by Elite Wines: Available in the District at Bacchus Wine Cellar, the Bottle Shop, Cordial Craft Wine, Beer & Spirits, Harvard Wine & Liquor Store, Metro Wine & Spirits, Old City Market and Oven, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s, Streets Market (various locations), Yes Organic Market (Petworth). Available in Maryland at Aria Beer Wine & Deli, Bradley Food & Beverage, Cork 57 Beer and Wine in Bethesda; Bin 201 Wine Sellers in Annapolis; Bin 604 Wine Sellers, Fleet Street Spirits, the Happy Grape, Mount Washington Wine Co., Wine Source in Baltimore; Cheers & Spirits in Arnold; Festival Major Liquors in Frederick; Hops & Vines in Odenton; Liquor Locker in Hagerstown; Parkway Deli & Restaurant, Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring; UnCorked in Towson. Available in Virginia at Branch & Vine in Richmond; Cedar Knoll in Fort Hunt; K-1 Beer and Wine in Arlington; the Liberry in Leesburg; Sisters Thai, Slaters Market, Unwined (Belleview, King Street) in Alexandria.
Domaine Jacky Piret Vieilles Vignes Côte de Brouilly 2018
Beaujolais, France, $28
Juicy, ripe and rich, this powerhouse of a Beaujolais can match hearty winter stews, roasts or smoked meats. Winemaker Frédérique Piret sources her gamay grapes from higher vineyards planted nearly a century ago. The older vines give lower yields but greater intensity of flavor. ABV: 14 percent. BW: 495 grams (Light).
Imported and distributed by Lanterna: Available in the District at the Pursuit, Reveler’s Hour. Available in Maryland at Bo Brooks Lighthouse Liquors, Wells Discount Liquors in Baltimore; Longmeadow Wine & Liquors in Hagerstown; Mays Chapel Wine & Spirit Shop in Timonium; Wine Cellar at Deep Creek. Available in Virginia at Caffespresso, Yellow Umbrella Provisions in Richmond; L’Auberge Chez Francois in Great Falls; Wine Gallery 108 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 wine-searcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.
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