At just $12, this Spanish garnacha is the prototype of a fun, juicy red wine
By Dave McIntyre,
The Washington Post
Juicy garnacha from Spain and pinot grigio from the mountains of northeastern Italy give us two great-value wines this week, packing a lot of punch for just $12 a bottle. For the adventurous, we have two natural wines from Georgia, aged underground in clay qvevri as wine has been for thousands of years. And we top off the week’s recommendations with a rich, fleshy white burgundy for chardonnay lovers.
Legado del Moncayo Garnacha 2019
Campo de Borja, Spain, $12
Campo de Borja is known for inexpensive, delicious garnacha, a prototype juicy, fun red wine, and this gorgeous, gulpable example shows why. Unencumbered by oak, it simply tastes of fruit — think cherry, blackberry, boysenberry and plum. There must also be smiles inside, because it’s difficult to taste it without breaking into a wide one. The winery also produces a fine garnacha called Montaña from older vines that is aged in oak for several months. Alcohol by volume: 14.5 percent.
Imported by Grapes of Spain, distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Odd Provisions, Rodman’s, Wine & Butter. Available in Maryland at the Bottle Shop, Founding Farmers in Potomac; Butchers Alley, Capital Beer & Wine, Lance’s Beer & Wine in Bethesda; Cheers & Spirits in Arnold; Decanter Fine Wines in Columbia; Downtown Crown Wine and Beer, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg; Grosvenor Market in Rockville; Hop N Grape in North Bethesda; Howard Wine & Spirits in Elkridge; Kenilworth Wine & Spirits in Towson; Knowles Station Wine & Co. in Kensington; Pinehurst Wine Shoppe, Quarry Wine & Spirits, Wells Discount Liquors, Wine Source in Baltimore; Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring. Available in Virginia at Founding Farmers in McLean; McDonough Market in Richmond; Pamplona in Arlington; Wine Gallery 108 in Alexandria.
Barone Fini Pinot Grigio 2019
Valdadige, Italy, $12
From the mountains of northern Italy, this bargain pinot grigio is an ideal summer sipper, predinner quaff or partner to lighter brunches. Look for flavors of lemon and lime, with hints of nectarine and an appealing herbal finish. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Imported by Deutsch, distributed in the District and Maryland by Breakthru, in Virginia by Select: Available in the District at Cairo Wine & Liquor, Calvert Woodley, Eye Street Cellars, Georgetown Wine & Spirits, Martin’s Wine & Spirits, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Safeway (various locations), Streets Market (Cleveland Park). Available in Maryland at 5 O’Clock Wines & Spirits in Owings Mills; Beacon Liquors in Callaway; Bel Air Liquors in Bel Air; Breton Bay Fine Wine & Spirits in Leonardtown; California Wine & Spirits in California; Cheers & Spirits in Arnold; Christos Discount Liquors in Ferndale; Friendship Wine & Liquor in Abingdon; Harbour Spirits in Severna Park; Hunt Valley Wine, Liquor & Beer in Cockeysville; Jason’s Wine & Spirits, Pine Orchard Liquors in Ellicott City; Liquor Mart & Deli in Annapolis; Patuxent Wine & Spirits in Lusby; Port of Call Liquors in Solomons; Total Wine & More (Laurel, Towson). Available in Virginia at Food Lion (various locations); Fresh Market (various locations); Giant (various locations); Safeway (various locations); and several restaurants.
Gvantsa’s Wine Otskhanuri Sapere 2019
Imereti, Georgia, $28
This juicy red is for curious and adventurous wine lovers. Georgia lays claim to being the birthplace of wine, as some of the oldest archaeological evidence of viticulture has been found there. Made from an obscure local grape and aged underground in traditional clay vessels known as qvevri, this wine may challenge your preconceptions of what red wine should be. It offers spicy fruit of red berries and pomegranate, with pronounced acidity wine lovers call “crunchy,” and some volatile acidity that lifts the aromas and adds an edgy vibe to the finish. Fascinating and delicious. ABV: 13 percent.
Imported by Georgian Wine House of Greater Washington: Available in the District at Batch 13, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Maydan, Potomac Wine & Spirits, Reveler’s Hour, Supra, Wardman Wines.
Jean-Marc Brocard Bourgogne Chardonnay Kimmeridgien 2019
Burgundy, France, $28
This wine is a bit of an outlier: The producer is in Chablis, at the northern end of Burgundy, where chardonnay excels with taut acidity and a stony, mineral character from the Kimmeridgien chalk soils, a geologic base that stretches through Champagne and westward into southern England. The vines producing this wine average 15 years in age, which is still young by French standards. The wine is soft, low in acid and a bit high in alcohol for white burgundy. But it is rich in fleshy, ripe stone fruit flavors of peach, nectarine and apricot. I nearly dismissed it on first impression because of its low obvious acidity, but with each sip I noticed impressive backbone and structure holding the wine together. In cooler vintages, when the grapes are not so overripe, this wine should excel. ABV: 14.5 percent.
Imported and distributed by Elite: Available in the District at the Bottle Shop, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Edgewater Liquors in Edgewater; Fairgrounds Discount Beverages in Timonium; Shawan Liquors in Cockeysville. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s in Alexandria; Cedar Knoll in Fort Hunt; Foods of All Nations in Charlottesville.
Tevza Shavkapito 2019
Kartli, Georgia, $24
The label describes this red wine from another indigenous Georgian grape variety as “crazy alive.” The label fits — this wine, aged in clay qvevri, is a bit all over the place. It darts left, then right on your palate, with juicy black cherry flavor one moment, spicy plum the next. It didn’t really settle down and come together for me until two days after I opened it. The exploration was delicious. ABV: 13 percent.
Imported and distributed by Georgian Wine House of Greater Washington: Available in the District at Batch 13, Potomac Wine & Spirits, Primrose, Reveler’s Hour, Supra, Wardman Wines. Available in Maryland at Mills Fine Wine & Spirits in Annapolis; Off the Rox Wine & Beer in Baltimore.
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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