Exceptional   Excellent   Very Good


FROM LEFT: Pablo Claro Cabernet Sauvignon-Graciano 2016, from Spain; Togni Rebaioli Martina Vino Rosato, from Italy; Pithon-Paillé Mozaïk Chenin Blanc 2016 and Anjou 2016, both from France; and this week’s greatest value, Torre a Cona Chianti Colli Fiorentini 2016, from Italy. (Tom McCorkle/for The Washington Post)

Time to take a trip to Tuscany with the Greatest Value of the Week, a plush and deep chianti that shows the sangiovese grape at its best and at an affordable price. While in Italy, if only in spirit, try an unusual, enticing rosado to get you in the mood for warmer weather. A detour to Spain finds us sipping an unconventional blend of the international red favorite, cabernet sauvignon, with Spain’s own graciano. And the Loire Valley is our final stop, with a thrilling chenin blanc and a savory cabernet franc that are worth a little splurge.

GREAT VALUE
Torre a Cona Chianti Colli Fiorentini 2016

Tuscany, Italy, $16

Here’s a chianti to stock up on. The blend is 90 percent sangiovese, Tuscany’s landmark red grape, and 10 percent colorino, a minor Tuscan grape that has been eclipsed as wineries splash international varieties such as cabernet sauvignon into their blends. This wine is modern, in that it shows depth and extraction that suggest techniques of macerating the grapes on the skins, but, well, never mind — it’s delicious. Sangiovese’s flavors of dried cherries and cocoa powder are here, with an impressive depth and length. Enjoy this with just about anything you would think suggests red wine. Alcohol by volume: 14 percent.

Imported and distributed by Le Storie: Available in the District at Ace Beverage; A. Litteri; Cordial Craft Wine, Beer & Spirits (the Wharf); DCanter; on the list at A Rake’s Progress, Dino’s Grotto. Available in Virginia at the Brew Shop, Arrowine and Cheese and Screwtop Wine Bar & Cheese Shop in Arlington; Bottleworks and Union Market in Richmond; Grape + Bean and Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria; Oakton Wine Shop in Oakton; Vino Market in Midlothian; Vinosity in Culpeper; Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville.

GREAT VALUE
Pablo Claro Cabernet Sauvignon-Graciano 2016

Tierra de Castilla, Spain, $19

This biodynamic wine defies all the blending paradigms. It is a 50-50 blend of cabernet sauvignon, the most popular international red wine grape, and graciano, a Spanish grape best known as an ingredient in the famous red wines of Rioja. Together, they seem to have mated and produced a syrah from the Rhone Valley. This wine offers delicious flavors of blueberries, blackberries and cherries, along with a hint of smoked bacon. Enjoy this with stews, roasts, steaks — anything that suggests red wine. ABV: 13.5 percent.

Imported by Terroir Wine Group, distributed by Global Wines: Available in the District at the Bottle Shop; Cordial Craft Wine, Beer & Spirits (the Wharf); Cork & Fork; Eye Street Cellars; Glen’s Garden Market; Mom’s Organic Market; Wardman Wines; Yes! Organic Market (Petworth). Available in Maryland at Cork 57 Beer and Wine in Bethesda; Greenbelt Co-op in Greenbelt; Kings Contrivance Liquor Shop in Columbia; Mom’s Organic Market in Rockville; Old Town Market in Kensington; Red: Wine, Beer & Spirits in Clarksville; Roots Market in Olney; the Wine Harvest (Gaithersburg, Potomac).

Togni Rebaioli Martina Vino Rosato

Italy, $30

This is certainly the most unusual rosé I’ve ever tasted, and definitely one of the most beguiling. It is made from erbanno, an obscure grape that, according to the importer, is only grown in this one vineyard in Lombardy. Because there is no official designation for the wine, it cannot be vintage dated, but the code L ERB17 on the bottle tells you all you really need to know. And it’s delicious, so don’t just think of it as a one-off opportunity to check another grape variety off your spit-bucket list. The color is a bright reddish-orange, and the aroma suggests ripe strawberries, orange peel and mulling spice. The flavors also tend toward the citrusy side, as if you were sipping in an orange grove. Do not drink this straight from the refrigerator! It is best consumed at slightly cooler than room temp. In fact, I left the open bottle on my kitchen counter and enjoyed the wine over two days that way. ABV: 13 percent.

Imported and distributed by Le Storie: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, MacArthur Beverages, Wardman Wines; on the list at Dino’s Grotto. Available in Virginia at Brut Champagne and Wine Bar and Grape + Bean in Alexandria, Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean, Oakton Wine Shop in Oakton, Tavern & Grocery and Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville, Tinto (Chesapeake, Norfolk, Virginia Beach), Vino Market in Midlothian; on the list at Osteria da Nino in Arlington.

Pithon-Paillé Mozaïk Chenin Blanc 2016

Vin de France, $32

A few weeks ago, I wrote that South Africa was surpassing the Loire Valley with the best chenin blancs in the world. And then I tasted this one, which reminded me why the Loire is chenin’s homeland. It is thrilling, combining aromas of spring flowers with flavors of apple, pear and citrus, and a long satisfying finish. ABV: 13 percent.

Imported by Hirsch Collection, distributed by Hop & Wine: Available in the District at Rodman’s; on the list at DBGB. Available in Virginia at La Fromagerie and Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Vienna Vintner in Vienna.

Pithon-Paillé Mozaïk Anjou 2016

Loire Valley, France, $32

Cabernet franc is the preeminent red grape of the Loire Valley, and this one is textbook: It offers flavors of black cherry and berry, along with a smoky, leathery element that suggests a welcoming fire in the distance on a cold winter’s night. I suggest decanting this an hour before dinner. ABV: 12 percent.

Imported by Hirsch Collection, distributed by Hop & Wine: Available in the District at Rodman’s; on the list at DBGB. Available in Virginia at La Fromagerie and Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Vienna Vintner in Vienna.

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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