Colonia Las Liebres Bonarda Clásica 2019
Mendoza, Argentina, $10
The previous vintage of this delicious wine led my greatest values list for 2018. Now with organic certification, it continues to deliver pure pleasure. Bonarda, called charbono in California, where there is little of it left, plays second fiddle to malbec in Argentina. The wine is unoaked and features juicy black fruit flavors as well as a touch of earthiness. Great for steaks, burgers and pasta. Alcohol by volume: 13 percent.
Imported by Altos Las Hormigas USA, distributed by Bacchus: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, the Corner Market, Eye Street Cellars, Grand Cata, Lion’s Fine Wine & Spirits, MacArthur Beverages, Magruder’s, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s, Yes! Organic Market (Georgia Avenue). Available in Maryland at Blue Wind Gourmet in Lexington Park; Dawson’s Liquors in Severna Park; Eastport Liquors, Eddie’s Liquors, Eddie’s of Roland Park and Wine Source in Baltimore; Fairwood Cafe Wine & Spirits in Bowie; Fishpaws Marketplace in Arnold; Friendship Wine & Liquor in Abingdon; the Perfect Pour in Elkridge; Pine Orchard Liquors in Ellicott City; Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring; Stateline Liquors in Elkton.
Claude Vialade Carignan Premium Vieilles Vignes 2018
Cotes Catalanes, France, $12
Here’s a wine I recommend decanting, or maybe even opening on Thursday to drink on Saturday. I liked it immediately, but it was only on the second or third evening that I decided it deserved three stars, my highest rating. An initial hint of green herbaceousness transformed into violets and wild herbs that suggest the garrigue flavors of southern France. There’s also a hint of wood smoke, as if a distant fire beckons you home for dinner. This is not a profound wine — it will not change your life — but it is an honest one and can carry a good conversation with your palate and your imagination. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Imported and distributed by Bacchus: Available in the District at Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Fairwood Cafe Wine & Spirits in Bowie, Rodman’s in White Flint, Roland’s in Chesapeake Beach, West-O Bottle Shop in Ocean City, Wine Works in Baltimore.
Couly-Dutheil Les Gravières Chinon 2018
Loire Valley, France, $23
Fans of Virginia’s cabernet franc wines should taste this beauty from France’s Loire Valley. Rich and savory with dark cherry flavors, it also carries a hint of old leather-bound books and pipe smoke. ABV: 14.5 percent.
Imported and distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Eye Street Cellars, Hill Spirits Unlimited, Rodman’s, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, Whole Foods Market (Florida Avenue, Foggy Bottom, H Street NE, P Street, H Street SE). Available in Maryland at Balducci’s in Bethesda, Dawson’s Market in Rockville, Decanter Fine Wines in Columbia, Fenwick Beer & Wine in Silver Spring, Mills Fine Wine and Spirits in Annapolis, Pine Orchard Liquors in Ellicott City, State Line Liquors in Elkton, Wells Discount Liquors in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at the Bottle Stop in Occoquan, Grand Cru in Arlington, Market Street Wineshop in Charlottesville, Streets Market in Arlington; Whole Foods Market (various locations).
Villierà Jasmine 2019
Stellenbosch, South Africa, $18
Described on the label as a “fragrant white,” this flowery blend of gewurztraminer, riesling and muscat ottonel is slightly sweet, but that sweetness is balanced with enough acidity to keep the wine fresh. Jasmine is a good name for it, given the tropical garden of aromas emerging from the glass. Match this with spicy cuisines or funky cheeses. Certified sustainable. The winery also has a very nice sauvignon blanc-semillon blend called Down to Earth. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Imported by Red Wolf, distributed in the District and Maryland by Global, in Virginia by LK Wine Tours and Sales: Available in the District at Capitol Hill Supermarket, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Metro Wine & Spirits, Old City Market and Oven, Rodman’s, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Streets Market (Connecticut Avenue), Watergate Vintners & Spirits. Available in Maryland at Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Maple Beer & Wine and Talbert’s Ice & Beverage Service in Bethesda, the Wine Harvest in Potomac. Available in Virginia at Bonnie Blue Southern Market & Bakery, Murphy Beverage, the Wine Mill and the Wine Room at Taylor Pavilion in Winchester; Grayhaven Winery in Gum Spring.
Cantine Pellegrino Moscato NV
Sicily, Italy, $12
Fruity, fizzy and gloriously sweet, this delightful wine is great with fruit-based desserts, spicy cheeses or just by itself. It tastes like a ripe peach, and at this time of year, why not add a slice of peach to your glass for an added flavor boost? At 7 percent alcohol, it can also serve as a brunch wine without slowing you down for the afternoon. ABV: 7 percent.
Imported by Caput Mundi, 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; Frederick Wine House, Old Farm Liquors and Orion Wine & Spirits in Frederick; Franklin Liquors in Ijamsville; Giolitti Delicatessen and the Italian Market in Annapolis; Longmeadow Wine & Liquors in Hagerstown; Rodman’s in White Flint. Available in Virginia at City Vino in Fredericksburg, Crystal Palate in Norfolk, the Italian Store (Lyon Village, Westover) in Arlington, Marchese Italian Market and Yiannis Wine & Food in Virginia Beach, Market 2 Market in Alexandria, Vienna Vintner 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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