Exceptional Excellent Very Good
Spain continues to produce some of the best-value wines on the market today. This week’s selections include two examples, both from Jumilla and made of monastrell, a Spanish name for the grape called mourvedre in France and mataro in California. These are exuberant, juicy and fun wines that will enliven your dinner without taxing your wallet. We also have an outstanding pinot grigio from the mountains of northern Italy, a racy pinot blanc from Alsace and an intriguingly delicious Rhone red.
Cantina Andriano Pinot Grigio 2018
Alto Adige, Italy, $22
Italy’s best pinot grigio wines come from the mountainous regions in the country’s north, especially the area known as Alto Adige. Crisp and minerally, this beauty would make an ideal dinner partner to grilled trout or shrimp. Alcohol by volume: 13.5 percent.
Imported by Banville, distributed by Banville in the District and Virginia, by Artisans & Vines in Maryland: Available in the District at Batch 13; Calvert Woodley; Cordial Craft Wine, Beer & Spirits; Cork & Fork; Grand Cata; Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage and Cork 57 Beer and Wine in Bethesda, Knowles Station Wine & Co. in Kensington, World Gourmet Wine & Beer in Potomac. Available in Virginia at Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean, Whole Foods Market (Arlington, Ashburn, Vienna).
Domaine Lucien Tramier, Cairanne 2017
Rhone Valley, France, $22
This lovely red is lighter in color and body than many Rhone wines, but don’t let that put you off. There’s great structure and energy here to carry the bright cherry and spice flavors through to a satisfying, long finish. ABV: 13.5 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 Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Dupont Market, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda; Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg; Fenwick Beer & Wine and Parkway Deli & Restaurant in Silver Spring; Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville; Grosvenor Market in Rockville. Available in Virginia at Vintage Cellar in Blacksburg, Wine Mill in Winchester.
Mader Pinot Blanc 2018
Alsace, France, $22
Racy and lithe, this wine is excellent for before-dinner nibbles or a lazy weekend lunch when you really want some wine. ABV: 13 percent.
Imported and distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Cork Wine Bar and Market, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Balducci’s in Bethesda, Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits and Bin 201 Wine Sellers in Annapolis, Dawson’s Liquors in Severna Park, the French Paradox Wines in Stevenson, State Line Liquors in Elkton, Wells Discount Liquors in Baltimore, Wine Bin in Ellicott City. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s and Department of Beer and Wine in Alexandria, Classic Wines in Great Falls, J. Emerson Fine Wines & Cheese in Richmond, Locke Store in Millwood, Market Street Wineshop in Charlottesville, Unwined in Belleview, Whole Foods Market (Alexandria, Fairlakes, Vienna).
Finca Bacara 3015 Monastrell 2018
Jumilla, Spain, $15
Spain has a way with monastrell, typically more fruity and plush in texture than the earthier expression in France, where the grape is known as mourvedre. While this wine is not complex, it packs a lot of dark berry flavors with notes of vanilla bean, which give a perception of sweetness. Pair with stews, burgers or kebabs. Certified organic grapes and vegan. ABV: 14.5 percent.
Imported by Tri-Vin, distributed by DMV: Available in the District at Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Riggs Liquor, Rodman’s, Yes! Organic Market (Georgia Avenue). Available in Maryland at Apple Greene Wine & Spirits and Dunkirk Wine & Spirits in Dunkirk; Beer, Wine & Co. in Bethesda; Cambridge Farmer’s Market in Cambridge; Frederick Wine House in Frederick; the Italian Market in Annapolis; Landover Liquor in Cheverly; Pine Liquors in Fort Washington; Rosewick Wine & Spirits in La Plata; Thirsty’s Wine and Spirits in Oxon Hill; Town & Country Wine Liquor Etc. in Easton; Town Center Market in Riverdale Park; Vino-2 Wine & Liquor in Charlotte Hall; Waugh Chapel Wine & Spirits in Gambrills; the Wine Shoppe in Waldorf.
Goru Verde Monastrell 2018
Three years ago, I raved about the 2015 vintage of this wine, calling it “the best $10 red I’ve tasted in a long time.” The 2018 vintage is also delicious, though a little more expensive and decidedly sweeter on the finish than I remember. Still, it’s a great value for the price and an ideal match for spicy Mexican or Middle Eastern dishes. Certified organic grapes. ABV: 14.5 percent.
Imported by Tri-Vin, distributed by DMV: Available in the District at Giant (Wisconsin Avenue), Lee Towers Market, Magruder’s, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Riggs Liquor, Rodman’s, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Yes! Organic Markets (various locations). Available in Maryland at Beer, Wine & Co., Bradley Food & Beverage and Georgetown Square Wine and Beer in Bethesda; Bethesda Co-Op in Cabin John; Edgewater Liquors in Edgewater; Finewine.com in Gaithersburg; Fishpaws Marketplace in Arnold; Mom’s Organic Market in Rockville; Montgomery County Wine & Liquor Stores (various locations), Mt. Airy Liquors in Mt. Airy; Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits & Bistro in Beltsville; Pine Orchard Liquors in Ellicott City; Plaza Liquors in Pasadena; Rodman’s in White Flint; Roots Market in Olney; Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-Op in Takoma Park; Woodmoor Supermarket in Silver Spring; Yes! Organic Market in Hyattsville.
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.