Exceptional Excellent Very Good
Sherry remains a niche product in retail stores. That may be a chicken-and-egg issue, as low consumer demand discourages importers from expanding this category with new offerings. But an uptick in demand from sommeliers and cocktail crafters can help bring more labels to market. This week’s recommendations include two sherries from a label new to the U.S. market, through Grapes of Spain importers. The quality across the board is high, and we can expect these wines to be more widely available in weeks and months to come. In the meantime, look also for sherries from Lustau and González Byass, more established labels that offer wide availability and reliable quality.
We also have a red blend from California’s Sierra Foothills, modeled after the top wines of France’s Rhone Valley, a delicious nebbiolo from Piedmont in northwest Italy, and a comforting chenin blanc from Vouvray in the Loire Valley.
Diez-Merito, Pemartin Amontillado
Jerez, Spain, $21
Rich and nutty, this lovely amontillado smells and tastes of smoked meat, roasted hazelnuts and wild herbs, all with a creamy texture that coats the mouth. Pair it with hearty dishes such as smoked duck. Alcohol by volume: 18 percent.
Imported by Grapes of Spain, distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Imperial Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits. Available in Maryland at Butchers Alley in Bethesda, the Bottle Shop in Potomac, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer and Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Locavino and Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring. Available in Virginia at Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria.
Diez-Merito, Victoria Manzanilla
Sanlucar de Barrameda, Spain, $14
Here’s a delicious wine for aperitifs or nibbles, such as marcona almonds and ham. Light gold in color, it boasts a salinity that seems to season the wine and perk up your palate. ABV: 15 percent.
Imported by Grapes of Spain, distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Rodman’s, Uptown Market. Available in Maryland at Bethesda Co-Op in Cabin John, Butchers Alley in Bethesda, Rollins Beer-Wine-Deli in Rockville, Sugarloaf Wine Cellar in Germantown, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer and Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Locavino and Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring.
Domaine de la Terre Rouge, Tête-à-Tête 2013
Sierra Foothills, Calif., $22
This is a Rhone-style blend of mourvedre, syrah and grenache. Plush in texture, with deep flavors of plums and cherries, it is a lovely companion for red meat or roasted poultry. ABV: 14.5 percent.
Distributed by Salveto: Available in the District at Chat’s Liquors, Modern Liquors, S&R Liquors. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean, Reston), Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean, Crystal City Wine Shop in Arlington, Libbie Market and Once Upon a Vine (both locations) in Richmond, Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), Wine Cabinet in Reston, the Wine Outlet (Great Falls, McLean, Vienna).
Massimo Rivetti, Avene Nebbiolo 2017
Langhe, Italy, $23
The label touts the winery as a “family farm” and Avene as a “heroic vineyard.” The wine itself features the woodsy, dried cherry and licorice flavors typical of nebbiolo and a delicious, savory character that makes this grape so versatile with a wide variety of foods. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Imported and distributed by Simon N Cellars: Available in Virginia at Tastings of Charlottesville and Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), the Vineyard in McLean, the Wine Outlet (Great Falls).
La Forcine Vouvray 2018
Loire Valley, France, $17
A slight sweetness gives this delicious chenin blanc an extra-fruity character that suggests paring with spicy foods or bold sauces. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Imported by Tri-Vin, distributed by DMV: Available in the District at Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Beer, Wine & Co. in Bethesda, Draper Bros in Centreville, Eastport Liquors in Annapolis, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Frederick Wine House and Old Farm Liquors in Frederick, Grand Ritchie Liquors and Plaza Liquors in Pasadena, Hop N Cru in Germantown, Kings Contrivance Liquor Shop in Columbia, Leonardtown Wine & Spirits in Leonardtown, Montgomery County Wine & Liquor Stores (Kensington), the Perfect Pour in Elkridge, Pigtown Wine, Beer & Liquors in Baltimore, Town Center Market in Riverdale Park, Village Beer & Fine Wine in Rockville.
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.