Exceptional   Excellent   Very Good

From left, Alyssa Red Blend 2019, Terre de la Custodia Grechetto Colli Martani 2018, Miss Anaïs Chardonnay Viognier 2019, Domaine de l’Hémonière Sauvignon Touraine 2019, Le Origini Falanghina Beneventano 2018. (The Washington Post)

This week we have five delightful value-priced wines under $20. If you haven’t discovered the amazing diversity of white wines from Italy, start with this electrifying grechetto and an elegant falanghina. If you can’t get to the Amalfi coast this summer, you can at least drink as though you’re there. We also have two bottles from an alliance of cooperative wineries in the Languedoc region of France, blended and aggressively priced for the U.S. market. And we finish with a ripe version of an inexpensive Loire sauvignon blanc.


Terre de la Custodia Grechetto Colli Martani 2018

Italy, $18

This lovely white wine features aromas and flavors of white flowers and roasted hazelnuts, with an overall sense of minerals, as though you were relishing pure spring water gushing over stones. Really, a lovely wine. Enjoy this with seafood or on its own. Alcohol by volume: 12.5 percent.

Imported and distributed by Bravo Wine Imports: Available in the District at A. Litteri, Radici Market. Available in Virginia at A Deli, Crystal City Wine Shop and the Italian Store (Westover) in Arlington; Classic Wines in Great Falls; Barrel Chest Wine & Beer and Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar in Roanoke; Foods of All Nations and Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville; J. Emerson Fine Wines & Cheese, Once Upon a Vine and Once Upon a Vine South in Richmond; Pickford’s Fresh Seafood in Harrisonburg; the Town Duck in Warrenton; Wine Cabinet in Reston; Wine Mill in Winchester; WineStyles (Chantilly, Montclair).


Domaine de l'Hémonière Sauvignon Touraine 2019

Loire Valley, France, $14

Here is an outlier for Loire Valley sauvignon blanc — it is noticeably riper and fuller than is typical for the region. I might have guessed it was from California, but it is unmistakably sauvignon blanc, with herbal and mineral notes typical of the variety. The ripeness is apparent in the texture and body of the wine — mouth-filling, fleshy and soft. The alcohol level noted on the label is higher than average for the region, but the wine does not taste hot. ABV: 14.5 percent.

Imported and distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Dixie Liquor, Hop Cask & Barrel, New H Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s, Wardman Wines. Available in Maryland at Beer, Wine & Co. and Capital Beer & Wine in Bethesda; Liquor Locker in Hagerstown; Mays Chapel Wine & Spirit Shop in Timonium; Pine Orchard Liquors and Wine Bin in Ellicott City; Spin the Bottle Wine Co. and Ye Old Spirit Shop in Frederick. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington; Wine Cabinet in Reston; WineStyles in Montclair; Whole Foods Market in Glen Allen.

Le Origini Falanghina Beneventano 2018

Italy, $18

Italy has a multitude of grape varieties that, for one reason or another, have never expanded beyond the boot. Falanghina beneventano is one of two varieties that were lumped together as simply falanghina until genetic testing unveiled their differences. It is not particularly aromatic, but on the palate it suggests white flowers, wild herbs and sea air. It is a great partner to grilled or roasted fish and lighter pastas with seafood, and a ticket for a virtual wine trip to Italy’s Mediterranean coast. ABV: 13 percent.

Imported by Caput Mundi, distributed by Impero: Available in the District at A. Litteri, Batch 13, Cork & Fork, Imperial Wine & Spirits, MacArthur Beverages, Salumeria 2703. Available in Maryland at Choice Wine & Beer in Wheaton; 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; Giolitti Delicatessen in Annapolis; Old Farm Liquors and Orion Wine & Spirits in Frederick; Old Town Market in Kensington; Rodman’s in White Flint. Available in Virginia at City Vino in Fredericksburg; Crystal Palate in Norfolk; Grapevine in Warrenton; the Italian Store (Lyons Village, Westover) in Arlington; Marchese Italian Market, Rigoletto Italian Bakery and Yiannis Wine Shop in Virginia Beach; Market 2 Market in Alexandria; Vienna Vintner in Vienna; the Wine Attic in Clifton; WineStyles (Chantilly, Montclair).

Miss Anaïs Chardonnay Viognier 2019

Pays d'Oc, France, $15

Here’s an atypical blend that just works. The wine sports aromas of jasmine and talc with a whiff of sea air. As wines go, the texture of this one is rich and “chewy,” making it a wine for food — such as fish or poultry — rather than sipping on its own. The Miss Anaïs line also has a nice rosé (labeled as a gris) and a savory red blend. ABV: 13 percent.

Imported by MHW Ltd., distributed by RNDC: Available in the District at Batch 13, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Potomac Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits. Available in Virginia at Wine Mill in Winchester.


Alyssa Red Blend 2019

Pays d'Oc, $11

Here’s a southern French red blend interpreted for the American palate — and, well, our sweet tooth. The wine is nearly equal parts grenache, syrah and cabernet sauvignon, but aged in American oak barrels with a sweet finish. It has plenty of fruit and is not cloyingly sweet like some of the syrupy confections coming out of California these days. This red blend and the Alyssa white, made from grenache blanc and viognier, should have wide appeal. Fans of drier wines will prefer the Miss Anaïs line. ABV: 13 percent.

Imported by MHW Ltd., distributed by RNDC: Available in the District at Batch 13, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Potomac Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits. Available in Virginia at Wine Mill in Winchester.

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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