Exceptional Excellent Very Good
A Rhone Valley “cru” wine under $20 is a rare find, so this week’s greatest value is the Brotte Cru des Côtes du Rhône from the village of Cairanne. We also have two affordable malbecs — one from Argentina, the other from Cahors in southwestern France. For whites, try a rich, splurge-worthy sauvignon blanc from Sancerre or a racy txakoli from Spain’s Basque country.
Brotte de Père en Fils, Cru des Côtes du Rhône
Cairanne, Rhone Valley, France, $14
Cairanne is one of the villages in the Rhone Valley that has earned its own appellation because of the quality of its wines. They usually cost more than $20, so this beauty is a terrific bargain. Think textbook Rhone red — hints of dark cherries, violets and wild herbs. Pair it with any red meat dishes — grilled, braised or roasted. Alcohol by volume: 14 percent.
Imported and distributed by M. Touton Selection: Available in the District at Eye Street Cellars, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Rodman’s, Whole Foods Market (P Street), Wine Specialist. Available in Maryland at Absolutely Wine or Spirits in Columbia; Bradley Food & Beverage and Lance’s Beer and Wine in Bethesda; Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg; Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville; Frederick Wine House and Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; Grosvenor Market in Rockville; Hop N Grape in North Bethesda; Hunt Valley Wine, Liquor & Beer in Cockeysville; Jason’s Wine & Spirits and Pine Orchard Liquors in Ellicott City; Mills Fine Wine & Spirits in Annapolis. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Chain Bridge Cellars and the Wine Outlet in McLean.
Alphonse Mellot La Moussiere Sancerre 2018
Loire Valley, France, $36
Sancerre is one of the global benchmarks for sauvignon blanc, and this bottling by Alphonse Mellot is top-notch, year in, year out. As 2018 was a warm, ripe vintage, this wine shows more tree fruit character and round, rich mouthfeel, rather than the slightly aggressive or stony mineral profile sauvignon blanc has in more classic years. Enjoy this for its ripeness and exuberance, with broiled fish or roast chicken. ABV: 13 percent.
Imported and distributed by Elite: Available in the District at MacArthur Beverages, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s, Whole Foods Market (P Street). Available in Maryland at Bo Brooks Lighthouse Liquors and Wine Source in Baltimore, Cranbrook Liquors in Cockeysville, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Viniferous in Frederick. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese and Grand Cru in Arlington, Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean), Richmond Wine Station in Richmond, Total Wine & More (Alexandria, McLean), Whole Foods Market (Arlington, Reston), Wine Cabinet in Reston.
Alleme 2018 Txakolina
Getariako Txakolina, Spain, $19
Crisp, racy and refreshing, this vibrant white wine screams for food. Serve it with seafood salad, grilled or broiled shrimp, sardines, scallops, oysters, anything with anchovies . . . well, you get the idea! ABV: 12 percent.
Imported and distributed by Kysela: Available in the District at Magruder’s, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at 13.5% Wine Bar, the Old Vine, Wells Discount Liquors and Wine Source in Baltimore; 5 O’Clock Wines & Spirits in Owings Mills; Fishpaws Marketplace in Arnold; Maple Lawn Wine & Spirits in Fulton; Wine Bin in Ellicott City. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Farm Fresh in Richmond, Kelsick Specialty Market in Gloucester, Locke Store in Millwood, Puck’s Market in Henrico, Vino Market in Midlothian.
Baron Edmond de Rothschild, Aguaribay Malbec 2017
Mendoza, Argentina, $13
Dense purple in color, this malbec from a leading Bordeaux company’s investment in Argentina offers appealing aromas and flavors of blueberries, smoke and meat. ABV: 14 percent.
Imported and distributed by M. Touton Selection: Available in the District at Barmy Wines & Liquors, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Eye Street Cellars, Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits, Oasis Market, Open Door Market, Prego Again, Rodman’s, S&R Liquors, U Street Wine & Beer, Wide World of Wines, Wine Specialist, World Liquors. Available in Maryland at 108 Deli & Liquor in Clarksville; Absolutely Wine or Spirits and Kings Contrivance Liquor Shop in Columbia; Allview Liquors, Jason’s Wine & Spirits and Pine Orchard Liquors in Ellicott City; Angelo’s Beer Wine Liquor, the Liquor Store and the Wine Shoppe in Waldorf; Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits in Annapolis; Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda; Centreville Liquors in Centreville; Cork & Bottle Liquors in Laurel; Frederick Wine House, Old Farm Liquors and Riverside Liquors in Frederick; Fulton Wine & Spirits in Fulton; Grosvenor Market, On the Vine Craft Beer & Wine and Potomac Beer & Wine in Rockville; Hop N Grape in North Bethesda; Rosewick Wine & Spirits in La Plata; Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington; Thirsty’s Wine and Spirits in Oxon Hill; Wine & Liquor Depot in Brandywine. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean.
Cèdre Heritage Malbec 2016
Cahors, France, $15
Argentina built its reputation for fine reds on the malbec grape in the 1990s, sparking a friendly rivalry with Cahors, in southwestern France, where the grape has thrived for generations. The Cèdre Heritage is typical for the region: brawny and rustic, with meaty flavors and an almost chewy texture. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Imported and distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Chat’s Liquors, Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits, Imperial Wine & Spirits, Metro Wine & Spirits, Michigan Liquors, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, Wardman Wines. Available in Maryland at Cheers & Spirits in Arnold; Harbour Spirits in Severna Park; Pine Orchard Liquors in Ellicott City; the Rockville Pike Craft Beer, Wine & More in Rockville; Rodman’s in White Flint; State Line Liquors in Elkton; Troy Farms Liquors in Elkridge; Wine Source and Wine Underground in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese, Crystal City Wine Shop, Pentagon City Wine Merchant and Tower Foods in Arlington; Balducci’s, Cheesetique, Department of Beer and Wine, and Unwined in Alexandria; Basic Necessities in Nellysford; Branch & Vine, Ellwood Thompson’s Natural Market and Fastop in Richmond; Green Mansions and Leesburg Vintner in Leesburg, Sonny’s Fine Wine and Beer in Henrico, Whole Foods Market (Alexandria, Arlington).
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.