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A few weeks ago, I wrote about two wines made with the pinot gris grape in the Italian “grigio” style — racy, refreshing and light. This week’s “greatest value” is a pinot gris from Réthoré Davy in the Loire Valley, a region not known for the grape. It shows a richer style more familiar from Alsace, with the coppery color from extended skin contact (the gris in pinot gris is a dusky purple, much darker than other white grapes) and a rich mouthfeel that calls for substantial foods.
Loire Valley, France, $15
Here is a rich version of pinot gris. It’s not the crisp, refreshing version the grape gets as pinot grigio. This is full-bodied, rich and complex, with flavors of baked apples, poached pears and baking spices. Not that it’s sweet — just rich because of skin contact in fermentation in a “natural” style. This is a white wine suitable to pair with winter braises and stews, as well as seafood. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Imported and distributed by Simon N Cellars: Available in Virginia at Leesburg Vintner in Leesburg, Tastings of Charlottesville and Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview); on the list at Renewal in Charlottesville.
Sicily, Italy, $31
Nero d’Avola is a red grape almost exclusively grown in Sicily. It can make delicious wines that resemble a lithe version of syrah. Intense aromas of flowers and herbs rise from the glass. This has what wine lovers call “lift” in that it seems to levitate, not just the flavors but also the spirits of those enjoying it. Absolutely lovely. ABV: 13 percent.
Imported by Folio Fine Wine Partners, distributed by M. Touton Selections: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Eye Street Cellars, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Apple Greene Wine & Spirits in Dunkirk, Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville, Old Farm Liquors in Frederick, Port of Call Liquors in Solomons.
This wine has notes of smoked meat, blueberry and wild herbs that conjure up a different story with every sip. ABV: 13 percent.
Imported by Folio Fine Wine Partners, distributed by M. Touton Selections: Available in the District at Capitol Hill Wine and Spirits, Eye Street Cellars, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Apple Greene Wine & Spirits in Dunkirk, Bradley Food & Beverage and Georgetown Square Wine and Beer in Bethesda, Chesapeake Market & Deli in North Beach, Crescent Beer & Wine in Bowie, Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville, Old Farm Liquors and Riverside Liquors in Frederick, Olde Solomon’s Wine & Spirits in Edgewater, Port of Call Liquors in Solomons, Total Discount Liquor in Eldersburg; on the list at Cristina Ristorante Italiano in Wheaton, Harvest Thyme Tavern in Davidsonville, Il Pizzico in Gaithersburg.
Loire Valley, France, $24
Textbook Loire cabernet franc: Flavors of black cherry, white pepper and wood smoke walk a tightrope of acidity and backbone. This delicious charmer has a lingering hint of the character I call “grandpop’s library,” like the aroma of pipe tobacco and leather-bound books wafting down a hallway. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Imported by Hirsch Collection, distributed by Hop & Wine: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Rodman’s; on the list at Central by Michel Richard. Available in Virginia at La Fromagerie and Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Vienna Vintner in Vienna.
Loire Valley, $20
Chenin blanc stars among white wines in this part of the Loire Valley. This one is full-bodied and dry, with flavors of green apple and quince, and a hint of roasted almonds on the finish. Enjoy this food-friendly white with just about any casual meal, or while grazing on charcuterie, cheeses and nuts. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Imported by Hirsch Collection, distributed by Hop & Wine: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Rodman’s. 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.