Legado del Moncayo Garnacha 2020
#8 - Top 12 Wines of 2021
2 1/2 Stars - Excellent + / 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 importer is now selling the 2020 vintage. The winery also produces a fine garnacha called Montaña from older vines that is aged in oak for several months. ABV: 14.5 percent.
Imported by Grapes of Spain, distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Eye Street Cellars, Odd Provisions, Rodman’s, Streets Market (Adams Morgan), Wine & Butter. Available in Maryland at Beers & Cheers Too, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg; the Bottle Shop in Potomac; Butchers Alley, Capital Beer & Wine, Georgetown Square Wine and Beer in Bethesda; Cheers & Spirits in Arnold; Crescent Wine & Spirits in Bowie; Decanter Fine Wines in Columbia; Gilly’s Craft Beer and Fine Wine, Grosvenor Deli, Twinbrook Deli, Village Beer & Fine Wine in Rockville; Hop N Grape in North Bethesda; Howard Wine & Spirits in Elkridge; Kenilworth Wine & Spirits, UnCorked in Towson; Knowles Station Wine & Co. in Kensington; Rodman’s (Wheaton, White Flint); Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring; State Line Liquors in Elkton; Trout Liquors in Frederick; Wells Discount Liquors, Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington; La Tienda in Williamsburg; Wine Gallery 108 in Alexandria.
Domaine Pellé Menetou-Salon Morogues 2019/2020
3 Stars Exceptional / Loire Valley, France, $29
Menetou-Salon is in the far eastern part of the Loire Valley, near the more famous appellation of Sancerre. It shares the same Kimmeridgian marl soils as its glorified neighbor and produces some top-notch sauvignon blanc. Domaine Pellé’s is soft in texture but with lively verve to carry its flavors of jasmine and red currants. I tasted the 2019; the distributor recently switched to the 2020, so you may see both on retail shelves. ABV: 13.5 percent. BW: 600 grams (Average).
Imported and distributed by Elite Wines: Available in the District at Hop, Cask & Barrel, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Rodman’s, Wine Specialist. Available in Maryland at Bo Brooks Lighthouse Liquors, Wells Discount Liquors, Wine Source in Baltimore; the French Paradox Wines in Stevenson; Mills Fine Wine and Spirits, Wine Cellars of Annapolis in Annapolis; State Line Liquors in Elkton. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington; Bottle House in Charlottesville; Libbie Market, Second Bottle in Richmond; the Liberry in Leesburg.
Laurent Martray Brouilly "Corentin" 2018
3 Stars Exceptional / Beaujolais, France, $29
Deep, savory flavors of dark cherry and spice highlight this enchanting beaujolais, which shows the gamay grape at its woodsy, earthy best. Uncork this to enjoy with a wintry braise or stew and tell your smart speaker to play some French bistro music. ABV: 13 percent. BW: 535 grams (Average).
Imported and distributed by Elite Wines: Available in the District at the Bottle Shop, Old City Market and Oven, Rodman’s, Streets Market (Adams Morgan, Massachusetts Avenue, NoMa), Wardman Wines, Watergate Vintners & Spirits; Whole Foods Market (P Street, South Capitol). Available in Maryland at Bo Brooks Lighthouse Liquors, Wells Discount Liquors in Baltimore; Decanter Fine Wines in Columbia; Ronnie’s Beverage Warehouse in Forest Hill; Shawan Liquors in Cockeysville; Wine Merchant in Lutherville. Available in Virginia at Le Cafe Market, Pentagon City Wine Merchant in Arlington; Sonoma Cellar in Alexandria; Whole Foods Market (Arlington, Ashburn, Charlottesville, Fairlakes, Glen Allen, Tysons, Vienna).
Domaine A. Berthet Rayne Côtes du Rhône 2020
3 ½ Stars (Excellent / Extraordinary)
We’re seeing more of this style of wine, and thank goodness: Excellent quality fruit, well-tended in the vineyard and minimally processed in the winery with little oak influence, and released less than a year after the vintage. Simple, straightforward and delicious. This CdR still packs a punch — exuberant up-front fruit, with cherry and berry flavors, some wild herbs characteristic of the Rhône, and soft, ripe tannins to carry it home. Savor this now or in the next few years with hearty roasts or grilled meats. Organic. Alcohol by volume: 14.3 percent. Bottle weight: 560 grams (Average).
Imported and distributed by Elite Wines: Available in the District at the Bottle House, the Bottle Shop, Burka’s Wine & Liquor, D’Vines, Daily 14, Gallagher & Graham Fine Spirits, Hayden’s Liquor, Hop, Cask & Barrel, Jefferson Liquor, Metro Wine & Spirits, Modern Liquors, New H Wine & Spirits, Old City Market and Oven, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s, Sohal Wine & Spirit, State Liquors, Uptown Market, Wine & Butter, Yes Organic Market (14th Street, Cleveland Park). Available in Maryland at 818 Market in Catonsville; Allview Liquors in Ellicott City; Annebeth’s, Mills Fine Wine and Spirits in Annapolis; Balducci’s, Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda; Bo Brooks Lighthouse Liquors, Cheese Galore and More, Fleet Street Spirits, Wine Source in Baltimore; Cheers & Spirits, Fishpaws Marketplace in Arnold; Dawson’s Market in Rockville; Frederick Wine House, Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; Howard Wine & Spirits in Elkridge; Kenilworth Wine & Spirits in Towson; Kings Contrivance Liquor Shop in Columbia; Knowles Station Wine & Co. in Kensington; Longmeadow Wine & Liquors in Hagerstown; Magothy Wine & Spirits in Severna Park; New Market Beer & Wine in New Market; Red: Wine, Beer & Spirits in Clarksville; Ronnie’s Beverage Warehouse in Forest Hill; Shawan Liquors in Hunt Valley; Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring; Takoma Beverage Co. in Takoma Park. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese, Trade Roots, Westover Market, Whino in Arlington; Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean); Branch & Vine, J. Emerson Fine Wines & Cheese, Libbie Market, Lombardy Market, Once Upon a Vine, Oxford Cellars in Richmond; Cafe Frank in Charlottesville; Classic Wines in Great Falls; Department of Beer and Wine, Planet Wine & Gourmet, Streets Market in Alexandria; Front Royal Wines in Front Royal; Mermaid Winery in Norfolk; Retro’s Good Eats in Williamsburg; Sisters Thai (Alexandria, Fairfax); Yiannis Wine Shop in Virginia Beach.
Beaujolais, France, $20
Bistro wine. The type of red that could be served in a carafe in a modest Paris hole-in-the-wall to wash down the inexpensive but delicious plât du jour. Unfortunately, it’s a little pricey for that once it gets over to this side of the Atlantic. It’s still delicious, and the type of wine I wish were available in 3-liter-box format for those occasions when just a glass or two are needed and we could stretch the joy over several weeks. ABV: 12.5 percent. BW: 405 grams (Light).
Imported and distributed by Elite Wines: Available in the District at Classy Corks, Congress Market, District Liquors, Grand Liquor, Irving Wine & Spirits, Mac Market, Old City Market and Oven, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits, State Liquors, Uptown Market, Wagshal’s Deli, Wardman Wines, Wine & Butter, Yes Organic Market (Petworth). Available in Maryland at FineWine.com in Gaithersburg; Fleet Street Spirits, Quarry Wine & Spirits, Remington Bottle, Wine Source in Baltimore; Frederick Wine House in Frederick; Maple Lawn Wine & Spirits in Fulton; Old Town Market in Kensington; Ronnie’s Beverage Warehouse in Forest Hill; Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring. Available in Virginia at the Cheese Shop in Williamsburg; Cheesetique (Del Ray), Department of Beer and Wine, Lost Dog Cafe, Slaters Market in Alexandria; City Vino in Fredericksburg; Front Royal Wines in Front Royal; Kroger in Henrico; Lombardy Market, McDonough Market, Oxford Cellars, Puck’s Market, Yellow Umbrella Provisions in Richmond; Towers Foods, Westover Market in Arlington; WineStyles in Montclair.
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