(Deb Lindsey/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)
Columnist, Food

Recommendations

★★★Exceptional  ★★Excellent ★Very Good

Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

Douro table wines have not really caught the market’s fancy, so they unfortunately are not widely available. Here are some that are worth seeking out; from them, you’ll get a sense of this beautiful wine-growing region’s effort to establish its identity apart from its traditional fortified wines.

Crasto 2009

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Douro, Portugal, $15

Stylish and deep, this entry wine from the terrific Quinta do Crasto winery and port house gives an explosive introduction to the red wines of the Douro. The grapes come from estate vineyards near the winery and from new vineyards farther east, near the Spanish border, a part of the Douro just being developed. That’s good news; there might be more of this wine in future vintages. Any Quinta do Crasto wine, including a racy white also labeled Crasto, is worth seeking out.

Broadbent/Country Vintner: Available in the District at De Vinos, MacArthur Beverages, Rodman’s; on the list at Plume, Rasika. Available in Virginia at Arrowine in Arlington, the Frenchman’s Cellar in Culpeper, Out of Site Wines in Vienna, the Vineyard in McLean, Unwined in Alexandria.

Monte Cascas Tinto 2009

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Douro, Portugal, $19

It’s a lovely wine, once it shakes off some stiffness with a little air time. I suggest decanting it an hour ahead of dinner to allow its fruit to emerge from behind the leafy forest flavors and mineral backbone that give Douro wines their characteristic expression.

J.W. Sieg: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits; on the list at the Hamilton. Available in Virginia at the Frenchman’s Cellar in Culpeper, Vienna Vintner.

Calheiros Cruz Tinto 2007

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Douro, Portugal, $10

This stylish wine tastes expensive but remains a bargain at $10. It features bright cherry and plum flavors with a hint of tobacco leaf and stone, and impressive complexity for a wine of this price.

Bacchus: Available in the District at Zola Wine & Kitchen. Available in Maryland at Chesapeake Wine Co. and Mt. Washington Wine Co. in Baltimore, Dumm’s Corner Market in Riverdale, Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington.

Lello 2009

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Douro, Portugal, $8

Wow. I’ve recommended a previous vintage of this wine, but it just gets better. For an under-$10 bottle, this is terrific for an everyday red: wine meals, parties, etc. Buy it by the case.

Dionysus: Available in the District at Modern Liquors, Rodman’s and Whole Foods Market locations at Foggy Bottom, P Street and Tenleytown; on the list at Nando’s Peri-Peri. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage and Cork & Fork in Bethesda, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Rodman’s in Wheaton and White Flint; on the list at Nando’s Peri-Peri in Bethesda and Silver Spring, Tavira in Chevy Chase. Available in Virginia at Arrowine in Arlington; Wegmans in Dulles and Gainesville; Whole Foods Market in Alexandria, Arlington, Charlottesville, Tysons Corner and Vienna. On the list at Carmello’s Restaurant in Manassas.

Symington Altano 2009

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Douro, Portugal, $10

This bargain wine from the famed Symington port house offers attractive cherry fruit and a hint of smoke and earth.

Vineyard Brands/Bacchus in the District and in Maryland, Country Vintner in Virginia: Available in the District at 1500 Market; on the list at Cafe Milano, Open City. Available in Maryland at Edgewater Liquors in Edgewater. Available in Virginia at Au Domaine and Le Tastevin Fine Wines in Alexandria, Home Farm Store in Middleburg, Vinosity in Culpeper, area Wegmans locations; on the list at Michel in Tysons Corner.