Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, Calif., $45
Many winemakers feature single-vineyard wines and craft a blend out of the remaining barrels. Theresa Heredia does the reverse — she considers her Russian River Selection pinot noir and chardonnay as her top wines and uses the best barrels for them. She also harvests earlier than most, thereby clothing the Russian River Valley’s power in a sheath of elegance and freshness. The 2017 pinot noir is silky in texture and bursting with flavors of Rainier cherries, raspberries, wildflowers and baking spices. Alcohol by volume: 13.7 percent.
Distributed in the District and Maryland by RNDC, in Virginia by Virginia Imports: Available in the District at 1 West Dupont Circle Wine & Liquors; Calvert Woodley; Angel’s Share Wines and Liquors; Continental Wine & Liquor; Hop, Cask & Barrel; Rodman’s; Towne Wine & Liquors. Available in Maryland at Dawson’s Liquors in Severna Park, Frederick Wine House in Frederick, Pine Orchard Liquors in Ellicott City, Snowden River Liquors in Columbia, Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington and Total Wine & More (various locations).
Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat 2019
Priorat, Spain, $26
Alvaro Palacios produces L’Ermita, one of the most famous wines of Priorat, and one of the most expensive, at about $1,000 a bottle on Wine-Searcher.com. So consider the Camins del Priorat a price-conscious taste of the region from one of Spain’s top winemakers. This blend, based on garnacha (the Spanish name for grenache), is savory, rich, meaty and spicy with a lovely floral note that conjures the rose on the label. ABV: 14.1 percent.
Imported by Rare Wine Co., distributed by Roanoke Valley Wine Co.: Available in the District at Hop, Cask & Barrel; MacArthur Beverages; Rodman’s; Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. Available in Maryland at Bin 201 Wine Sellers in Annapolis, Bin 604 Wine Sellers and Wine Source in Baltimore, Hop N Grape in North Bethesda, Pine Orchard Liquors in Ellicott City. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s and Unwined (King Street, Belleview) in Alexandria, Leesburg Gourmet in Leesburg, Vinosity in Culpeper.
Lightwell Survey The Weird Ones Are Wolves 2017
Shenandoah Valley, Va., $30
This is an unconventional blend from an unconventional winery. Lightwell Survey is the brainchild of D.C. sommelier and restaurateur Sebastian Zutant and Early Mountain Vineyards winemaker Ben Jordan, who aim to challenge our preconceptions of what wine should taste like. This delicious red is 90 percent cabernet franc, with more or less equal smidgens of syrah plus the white grapes petit manseng and riesling. The result is a lively wine that — dare I say it snarls? — grabs your attention with bracing acidity and carries through with smoky pepper and dark berry flavors. Rrrowr. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Distributed by Williams Corner: Available in the District at Wardman Wines. Available in Virginia at Barrel Thief Wine Shop & Cafe, J. Emerson Fine Wines & Cheese and RichWine in Richmond; Fat Canary in Williamsburg; Market Street Wineshop in Charlottesville; Screwtop Wine Bar & Cheese Shop in Arlington; Unwined (King Street, Belleview) in Alexandria. The winery website (lightwellsurvey.com) has sold out of the 2017 and is offering the 2018.
Narmada Winery MOM 2018
Wine drinkers of a certain age (mine) might see the tall blue bottle and the dedication on the label “to all mothers” and think this is a cloying, slightly sweet but ultimately nondescript white a la Blue Nun. They would be wrong. This is a delightful blend of the hybrid grapes vidal blanc and chardonel, with a sploosh of chardonnay for extra body. Think peach blossom and tangerine zest, with pineapple and Asian pear. This wine excels with Middle Eastern and South Asian cuisines — savory, as opposed to hot, spices. If you dedicate a bottle to your mother, make sure you join her for a glass: It pairs well with that conversation you should have had with her by now. ABV: 13 percent.
Distributed by the winery: Available at the winery and online at narmadawinery.com. The 2017 is available at various Total Wine & More and Wegmans locations throughout Northern Virginia.
Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc + Viognier 2019
This wine is an old standby. Pine Ridge has been making it for years, and it is always delicious. While the price has crept up, the wine is often on sale for less. Chenin blanc is extremely food-friendly, making this a versatile pairing for a complex holiday menu. Viognier adds some jasmine and honeysuckle to the chenin’s apple and pear flavors. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Distributed by Winebow: Available in the District at Cairo Wine & Liquor, Calvert Woodley, MacArthur Beverages, Rodman’s, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, Trader Joe’s (Capitol Hill, Florida Avenue), Whole Foods Market (H Street, Tenleytown). Available in Maryland at Balducci’s, Beer Wine & Co., Bradley Food & Beverage, Cork 57 Beer and Wine and Lance’s Beer & Wine in Bethesda; Beers & Cheers Too, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer and Finewine.com in Gaithersburg; Bel Pre Beer & Wine, Parkway Deli & Restaurant, Woodmoor Supermarket in Silver Spring; the Bottle Shop in Potomac; Grosvenor Market in Rockville; Knowles Station Wine & Co. and Old Town Market in Kensington; Rodman’s (Wheaton, White Flint). Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean); Total Wine & More (various locations); Wegmans (Chantilly, Dulles, Fairfax); Whole Foods Market in Alexandria.
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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