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This week’s Greatest Value is a tempranillo from Spain, an affordable beauty priced for everyday drinking. And if that makes you want to celebrate, we also have a delicious bubbly from Burgundy that’s a ringer for a fine champagne.
Tierra de Castilla, Spain, $13
Tempranillo, the main grape of Spain’s Rioja and Ribera del Duero wines, is an ideal red for regular appearances on your dinner table when the price is right. This example, made with certified organic grapes, offers textbook tempranillo flavors of red berries, cherries and (my personal mnemonic for the grape) tobacco leaf. Alcohol by volume: 13.5 percent.
Imported by Terroir Wine Group, distributed by Global Wines: Available in the District at Gallagher & Graham Fine Spirits, Glen’s Garden Market, Good Food Markets, Mom’s Organic Market, Union Kitchen Grocery, Whole Foods Market (South Capitol Hill), Yes! Organic Market (Brookland, Capitol Hill, Petworth); on the list at Bin 1301 Wine Bar. Available in Maryland at Beer, Wine & Co. and Bethesda Market in Bethesda; Dawson’s Market, Grosvenor Market and Mom’s Organic Market in Rockville; Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg; Greenbelt Co-op in Greenbelt; Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits & Bistro in Beltsville; Parkway Deli & Restaurant in Silver Spring; Rodman’s in Wheaton, Roots Organic Market in Olney, Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-op in Takoma Park, Yes! Organic Market in Hyattsville.
Burgundy, France, $21
This absolutely delicious sparkling wine, made entirely from chardonnay, might easily be mistaken for a fine blanc de blancs champagne. From first glance at its straw-gold color and fine bead of bubbles to its explosive aromas of berries and citrus flowers and, finally, its energy on the palate, it resembles its more pedigreed counterpart from the north. If I had to nitpick the differences, perhaps this emphasizes fruit over champagne’s minerality, but I would accept the challenge only as an excuse to have another glass. This strikes all the right notes for trendy champers fans, too: Noël Bulliat makes this from grapes he farms organically on his own family vineyards, ages it 15 months on the lees, and adds no dosage of sugar at disgorgement. The result is a bone-dry scintillatingly delicious “grower crémant.” Bravo. ABV: 12 percent.
Imported and distributed by Hop & Wine: Available in the District at Rodman’s. Available in Virginia at La Fromagerie and Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), J. Emerson Fine Wines & Cheese in Richmond, Wine Outlet (various locations); on the list at Lake Anne Coffee House & Wine Bar in Reston.
Bordeaux, France, $16
A 50-50 blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon, this red wine shows impressive depth and elegance for its price. It displays the classic Bordeaux profile of black fruits, plums and graphite with some toasty char from oak barrels. Pair this with just about anything, from elegant roasts to humble burgers, as well as poultry or fish. ABV: 13 percent.
Imported by Artisans & Vines; distributed in the District and Maryland by Artisans & Vines, in Virginia by LK Wine Sales & Tours: Available in the District at Rodman’s, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda; Crescent Beer & Wine and Rip’s Wine and Spirit Shop in Bowie; Downtown Crown Wine and Beer and Finewine.com in Gaithersburg; Fenwick Beer & Wine and Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring; Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville; Rodman’s in White Flint; Village Beer & Fine Wine in Rockville. Available in Virginia at Aldie Peddler in Aldie; Bonnie Blue Southern Market & Bakery, D’Vine Wines and Murphy Beverage in Winchester; Leesburg Vintner in Leesburg; Locke Store in Millwood.
Piemonte, Italy, $16
I’ve been tasting some very nice barberas lately. This Collina San Ponzio is a beauty, with smoky cherry flavors and scents of alpine herbs. Just thinking about it makes me hungry for salumi or roast pork. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Imported and distributed by Well Crafted Wine & Beverage Co.: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Radici Market. Available in Virginia at Cheesetique (various locations), Vino Market in Midlothian, Vinosity in Culpeper; on the list at Alta Strada in Fairfax, Castiglia’s in Fredericksburg, Copper Fish in Culpeper, Cork & Co. and Leone’s Italian in Norfolk.
Marlborough, New Zealand, $17
New Zealand native Nick Goldschmidt made his name in Northern California’s wine industry, but he returns to his roots with Boulder Bank. The Fitzroy Vineyard “savvie” sports the racy character of Marlborough sauvignon blanc, but without the aggressive grassiness that can plague the grape variety. Enjoy this with lighter meals such as salads and shellfish. Certified sustainable. ABV: 13 percent.
Imported by Goldschmidt Vineyards, distributed by M. Touton: Available in the District at Eye Street Cellars, Modern Liquors, Rodman’s, Virginia Market. Available in Maryland at the Bottle Shop in Potomac; Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda; Cork & Bottle Liquors in Laurel; Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville; Mel’s Liquors in Jessup; Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington.
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.