Italy shines again with an inexpensive bubbly that can help brighten the quarantine, plus a vibrant white wine to drink with all sorts of seafood. We continue the Mediterranean theme with a racy white from Greece, before moving on to a classic California sauvignon blanc. And for those cool autumn evenings around the fire pit, we’ve got a savory Spanish Rioja to round out the lineup.
Famiglia Falvo Masseria Li Veli Fiano 2018
Salento, Italy, $17
From the heel of Italy’s boot, this exuberant wine seems made to pair with any fish dish. It’s zesty, citrusy and a bit tropical, with apple and Asian pear flavors and a bracing salinity that suggests shellfish, grilled fish and, for Dr. Seuss fans, red fish, blue fish. Alcohol by volume: 13 percent.
Imported by Dalla Terra, distributed by Winebow: Available in the District at Cairo Wine & Liquor, Rodman’s, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda; Fenwick Beer & Wine and Woodmoor Supermarket in Silver Spring; Finewine.com in Gaithersburg; Hop N Grape in North Bethesda; Patuxent Wine & Spirits in Lusby; Town & Country Wine Liquor Etc. in Easton. Available in Virginia at Swirl & Sip in Fairfax.
Skouras Assyrtiko Wild Ferment 2019
Peloponnese, Greece, $20
Assyrtiko is most famous from the island of Santorini, but as demand has grown and prices climbed, importers are seeking out versions from the Greek mainland. Assyrtiko is structured, with high acidity that keeps it refreshing and exciting. This wine has some heft, so match it with hearty foods such as grilled chicken or fish. ABV: 13 percent.
Imported by Diamond Importers, distributed by Bacchus: Available in the District at Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, MacArthur Beverages, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at A&A Wine & Spirits in Gambrills; Dawson’s Liquors in Severna Park; Sobo Market in Baltimore.
Acentor Rioja 2018
This savory red seems ideal for the weeks on either side of the autumnal equinox. It greets the nose with jammy late-summer aromas of blackberry pie, as well as a sense of a cool afternoon turning to dusk in a forest where the leaves have reached peak color and are almost, but not quite, ready to fall. This wine begs to be paired with meat cooked over fire. It’s young and should age well over the next five years if you’re willing to stock up. ABV: 14 percent.
Imported by Grapes of Spain, distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Hop, Cask & Barrel, Rodman’s, Uptown Market, Vitis Fine Wine & Spirits. Available in Maryland at Butchers Alley in Bethesda; Downtown Crown Wine and Beer and Finewine.com in Gaithersburg; Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring; Village Beer & Fine Wine in Rockville; Wine Cellars of Annapolis; Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, La Tienda in Williamsburg.
Craftwork Estate Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2019
Monterey County, Calif., $15
Here’s a textbook California sauvignon blanc, with a bit of grassy herbs on the nose, and lean aromas of pear and apricot underneath. This wine is a nice partner for lighter pasta dishes and grilled tofu or poultry. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Distributed by Artisans & Vines: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Magruder’s, Rodman’s, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. Available in Maryland at Apple Greene Wine & Spirits and Dunkirk Wine & Spirits in Dunkirk; Beer, Wine & Co., Bradley Food & Beverage and Capital Beer & Wine in Bethesda; Crescent Wine & Spirits in Bowie; Decanter Fine Wines in Columbia; Dorsey’s Search Wine & Spirits in Ellicott City; Finewine.com in Gaithersburg; Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville; Greenbelt Co-Op in Greenbelt; Kensington Pizza & Kabob House in Kensington; Mills Fine Wine and Spirits in Annapolis; Montpelier Liquors in Laurel; Parkway Deli & Restaurant in Silver Spring; Wine Source in Baltimore.
Tommaso Gambino, Gambino Cuvée Brut Sparkling Wine
The company is from Sicily, but the wine hails from the Treviso area in northern Italy, the land of Prosecco. With flavors of ripe peaches and star fruit, slightly herbaceous and a tad off-dry, the bubbly is great on its own or as a base for a mimosas or bellinis. Be sure to try this; it’s delicious. ABV: 12 percent.
Imported by GV Liquid Group, distributed by Impero: Available in the District at A. Litteri, Batch 13, Imperial Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s, Salumeria 2703. Available in Maryland at Dawson’s Market in Rockville; Di Pasquale’s Marketplace in Baltimore; Downtown Crown Wine and Beer, Finewine.com and Gemelli’s Italian Market in Gaithersburg; Fishpaws Marketplace in Arnold; Giolitti Delicatessen and the Italian Market in Annapolis; Old Farm Liquors and Orion Wine & Spirits in Frederick; Rodman’s (White Flint); Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring. Available in Virginia at Cafe Torino and Bakery in Warrenton; City Vino in Fredericksburg; Crystal Palate in Norfolk; the Italian Store (Lyon Village, Westover) in Arlington; Marchese Italian Market & Cafe and Yiannis Wine & Food in Virginia Beach; Market 2 Market in Alexandria; Vienna Vintners in Vienna; the Wine Attic in Clifton; WineStyles (Chantilly, Montclair).
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.
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