With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, we have an Australian grenache that successfully combines love-themed branding with good-quality wine. An exotic Italian white would also be a good choice for a romantic dinner, or you could revisit an Italian vacation with a trattoria-style red. We also have two outstanding grüner veltliners from Austria to complete the lineup.


Da Capo Grignolino d'Asti Renard 2017


Piedmont, Italy, $19

Grignolino is the type of cheap wine you find in a roadside trattoria during your Italian vacation that makes you wonder, “Why can’t we get this at home?” Grignolino may not be considered a serious wine, but the folks at Da Capo take it seriously and bring us this delightful bottling that just might transport you back to that Italian sojourn, at least in memory. Bright red fruit flavors and a laser beam of stony minerality give this wine energy and clarity of flavor. Like a tuning fork on a perfect high C. Unfortunately, by the time the wine reaches our retail shelves, it’s not an inexpensive quaff any more. And proposed tariffs would make it more dear. Alcohol by volume: 13.5 percent.

Imported and distributed by Simon N Cellars: Available in the District at A. Litteri, Cork & Fork. Available in Virginia at the Italian Store (Lyon Village) in Arlington, Tastings of Charlottesville in Charlottesville, Tinto (Chesapeake, Virginia Beach), Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), the Wine Outlet (Great Falls, McLean).

Weingut Bründlmayer Grüner Veltliner Terrassen 2018


Kamptal, Austria, $35

Willi Bründlmayer’s grüner veltliners seem to gush from a pure mountain spring, with clean, energizing flavors that are ever so slightly floral. Certified sustainable. ABV: 12.5 percent.

Imported by Skurnik, distributed by Winebow: Available in the District at Bell Wine & Spirits, Calvert Woodley, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda.

Le Marie Blanc de Lissart 2017


Italy, $22

This is a wild — and wildly delicious — dry white wine from northwestern Piemonte in Italy. The grape is called malvasia moscato, and it combines the exotic, floral characteristics of both the malvasia and muscat grapes into a raucous dance party of flavors. My notes show pine needles, tropical mango, orange blossom, white tea and jasmine, great concentration, freshness and length. ABV: 13 percent.

Imported and distributed by Le Storie: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Glen’s Garden Market, Via Umbria, Wardman Wines. Available in Virginia at Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean, Crystal City Wine Shop and the Italian Store (Lyon Village, Westover) in Arlington, Department of Beer and Wine and Grape + Bean in Alexandria, Ellwood Thompson’s Natural Market in Richmond, In Vino Veritas in Keswick, Oakton Wine Shop in Oakton, Vino Market in Midlothian.

Zonte's Footstep Love Symbol Grenache 2017


McLaren Vale, Australia, $20

Australia’s grenache is seen most often in the Rhone-style blend known as GSM, for grenache, syrah and mourvedre. Here it takes a solo turn. The label evokes the free love hippie lifestyle of the 1960s, with a drawing of a van decked out in peace symbols, hearts and flowers. If that doesn’t set a mood for you, the wine should, with its flavors of tart cherries, tea and spice. ABV: 14.5 percent.

Imported by Artisans & Vines. Distributed in the District by Artisans & Vines, in Virginia by LK Wine Tours and Sales: Available in the District at A. Litteri, Batch 13, Calvert Woodley, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, MacArthur Beverages, Magruder’s, Rodman’s, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda; Finewine.com in Gaithersburg; Franklins Restaurant, Brewery & General Store in Hyattsville; Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-Op in Takoma Park. Available in Virginia at Aldie Peddler in Aldie; Bonnie Blue Southern Market & Bakery, Crush Wine Bar, Murphy Beverage and Wine Mill in Winchester; Vintage Cellars in Clarksville.


Loimer Lois Grüner Veltliner 2018


Kamptal, $16

Grüner veltliner tends to feature flavors and aromas of white flowers and talc, with a minerally backbone. Fred Loimer’s grüners skew a bit to the earthy mineral side. Certified organic. ABV: 11.5 percent.

Imported and distributed by Winebow: Available in the District at Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Yes! Organic Market (Georgia Avenue). Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Edgewater Liquors in Edgewater, Fishpaws Marketplace in Arnold, Montgomery County Wine & Liquor Store in Westwood, the Perfect Pour in Elk Ridge, Pine Orchard Liquors in Ellicott City, Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington. Available in Virginia at Crystal City Wine Shop in Arlington, Wegmans (Alexandria, Chantilly, Dulles, Fairfax, Lake Manassas, Leesburg).

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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