Hooray for more excellent wine available in the three-liter box format. Not only does the environment benefit from a lower carbon footprint than wine shipped in glass bottles, but we get the equivalent of four bottles at just over half the per-bottle price. And these two wines, a tempranillo and a garnacha from a new Spanish label, are good enough that you will want to keep them around. Just remember when they’re empty, there is always an environmental trade-off — tear out the bag inside and discard it, then recycle the cardboard box.
This week we also have a California Rhone blend, based on mourvedre from El Dorado, a bargain Bordeaux red and a grassy sauvignon blanc from Chile to round out the lineup.
The Withers In Hand Mourvedre 2017
El Dorado, Calif., $30
Here’s a delicious Rhone-style blend (with 22 percent syrah) that makes a great partner to braised meats, hearty pastas or charcuterie. Flavors of Bing cherry, mushrooms and wild herbs combine for an exotic savory quality. Alcohol by volume: 13.7 percent.
Distributed in the District and Virginia by Banville, in Maryland by Artisans & Vines: Available in the District at DCanter, Magruder’s. Available in Maryland at Beer Wine & Co. in Bethesda, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg, Wine Merchant in Lutherville. Available in Virginia at Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean, Vienna Vintner in Vienna, Whole Foods Market in Ashburn.
Independent Tempranillo 2019
Bajo Aragon, Spain, $15; $35 for a three-liter box
Savory, rich and beautifully balanced with flavors of blueberry and tobacco leaf, this juicy tempranillo is a great “house wine.” Buy it in the box format, at the equivalent of $8.75 a bottle, and chuckle at the value. Keep it on the counter for casual weekday meals or that “one last glass of red” when you don’t want to open a bottle. ABV: 14.2 percent.
Imported by Artisans & Vines; distributed in the District and Maryland by Artisans & Vines, in Virginia by LK Wine Tours & Sales: Available in the District at Rodman’s, Streets Market (Cleveland Park). Available in Maryland at Absolutely Wine or Spirits in Columbia; Bethesda Co-Op in Cabin John; Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda; Dawson’s Market in Rockville; Downtown Crown Wine and Beer and Finewine.com in Gaithersburg; Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville; Fulton Wine & Spirits in Fulton; Girl & the Vine and Takoma Beverage Co. in Takoma Park; Greenbelt Co-Op in Greenbelt; Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring; Town Center Market in Riverdale Park; Village Green Spirit Shop and Wine Bin in Ellicott City. Available in Virginia at Murphy Beverage in Winchester.
Independent Garnacha 2019
Bajo Aragon, $15; $35 for a three-liter box
Like its sister wine, the Independent Tempranillo, this spicy garnacha is a super value. It features more red fruit flavors of raspberry and currant. It tastes like it has a bit more alcohol, though both wines are labeled at the same amount. ABV: 14.2 percent.
Imported by Artisans & Vines; distributed in the District and Maryland by Artisans & Vines, in Virginia by LK Wine Tours & Sales: Available in the District at Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Absolutely Wine or Spirits in Columbia, Bethesda Co-Op in Cabin John, Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Dawson’s Market in Rockville, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer and Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Fulton Wine & Spirits in Fulton, Girl & the Vine in Takoma Park, Greenbelt Co-Op in Greenbelt, Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring, Town Center Market in Riverdale Park. Available in Virginia at Murphy Beverage in Winchester.
Chateau Cantillac 2019
Bordeaux Superieur, France, $15
Bordeaux is typically a blend of grape varieties, but this wine is entirely merlot. It is also fermented and aged in concrete, which gives it a grippy texture, and its plum and blackberry flavors come across as a little rustic, even chewy. ABV: 14.5 percent.
Imported and distributed by Simon N Cellars: Available in Virginia at Basic Necessities in Nellysford, In Vino Veritas in Keswick, Unwined (Belleview, Bradlee) in Alexandria, the Wine Outlet (McLean, Vienna), Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville.
Las Casas de Vaqueria Corral A18 Sauvignon Blanc 2019
Maule Valley, Chile, $12
From the same winery whose carmenere made my greatest values of 2020 list, this delicious sauvignon blanc is on the aggressive, grassy side, with flavors of grapefruit and lemongrass, carried through a long finish. ABV: 13 percent.
Imported and distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Little Italy Corner Store, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Decanter Fine Wines in Columbia, Fine Wine of Wheaton in Wheaton, Kenilworth Wine & Spirits in Towson, Lakefront Fine Wine & Spirits in Frederick, Lenox Beer & Wine and Spring Beer & Wine in Silver Spring, Middle Brook Discount Beer & Wine in Germantown. Available in Virginia at Fastop Convenience Store and Once Upon a Vine in Richmond, Le Cafe Market and Streets Market and Cafe in Arlington.
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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