Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, Calif., $22
This is lovely, with flavors of fig, pear and quince, plus a good sense of earth and minerality. Sauvignon blanc can easily taste like a confection, and even taste good as one; this is the real deal. This winery’s zinfandel and grenache are worth seeking out as well. Certified as biodynamic by Demeter.
Country Vintner: Available in the District at Rodman’s, Whole Foods Market P Street; on the list at Equinox, Potenza. Available in Virginia at Unwined in Alexandria, the Wine House in Fairfax; on the list at Brabo in Alexandria, Trummer’s on Main in Clifton.
**1 / 2
Cotes Catalanes, France, $14
The estate practices biodynamic viticulture, though this wine is certified as made from organic grapes. It is also kosher, which probably doesn’t help its sales. However, it is delicious in that woodsy, spicy way that reds from southwestern France often display. There’s some bell pepper that resembles a nice Virginia cabernet franc, and that gives way to coffee and a sweet, musky sexiness that emerges the second day after opening. A beguiling wine.
M Touton Selection: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Watergate Wine & Beverage. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Koshermart in Rockville, Roots Market in Olney.
Tarantino, Italy, $17
Made with organic grapes, this red wine evokes chocolate and cherry flavors, with medium body and nice length. Its charms might not leap out at you at first, but it will keep tugging at you until you pay attention and realize it does have something to say.
Calypso: Available in the District at Dupont Market, Windows Cafe and Market; on the list at Busboys and Poets (two locations), Coppi’s Organic. Available in Maryland at Mom’s Organic Market in Rockville; on the list at Assaggi Mozzarella Bar in Bethesda, Roscoe’s Neapolitan Pizzeria in Takoma Park. Available in Virginia at Grape & Bean and Mom’s Organic Market in Alexandria; Nourish Market in McLean; Whole Foods Market locations in Fair Lakes, Tysons Corner and Vienna.
Austrian pinot noir at its best combines lightness, ripeness and earth in a way that can be rather beguiling. This wine does not taste like a Burgundy, nor does it have the candied aspect of many U.S. pinots in this price range. It is recognizably pinot noir, but poised on the transition of winter into spring, with a hint of woodsmoke and fragrant damp earthiness. This should be a strong candidate for restaurant by-the-glass programs. Demeter-certified biodynamic.
Siema: Available in the District at Cork & Fork and Whole Foods Market P Street and Tenleytown; on the list at Redrocks Firebrick Pizzeria, SEI. Available in Maryland at Balducci’s, Bethesda Co-Op and Cork 57 in Bethesda; the Wine Market, North Charles Fine Wine & Spirits, Wells Discount Liquors and Wine Underground in Baltimore; Mom’s Organic Market in Rockville; Rodman’s in White Flint and Wheaton; Roots Market in Olney. On the list at Grand Cru and Kali’s Court in Baltimore, Osteria 177 in Annapolis.
*1 / 2
Central Valley, Chile, $12
Made from organic grapes, it’s crisp and clean, with just enough grassy aggressiveness to show it as a New World sauvignon blanc, somewhere in between New Zealand and California in style.
Elite: Available in the District at Bell Wine & Spirits, various Whole Foods Market locations; on the list at Posto, Rasika. Available in Virginia at Mom’s Organic Market in Alexandria, Leesburg Vintner, Norm’s Beer & Wine in Vienna, various Whole Foods Market locations; on the list at Me Jana in Arlington.
***Exceptional **Excellent *Very Good
Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.