This chianti alternative offers depth of flavor for $18

Placeholder while loading article actions

Looking for an easy-to-find and affordable California Cabernet to accompany your burgers or grilled steaks? Here’s a crowd pleaser. If your tastes are more European, try this delicious Italian red from Abruzzo. Seafood on the menu? This is a racy New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. And start your patio party with one of these two rosés from the French Mediterranean coast.

Velenosi Prope Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2019

(3 stars)

I used to consider Montepulciano d’Abruzzo a nicer, cheaper alternative to Chianti. Some I’ve tasted recently, however, have impressed with their depth of flavor, savory texture and energy that makes me want to explore more. This pretty wine should accompany all kinds of dishes, but above all we think of wild mushrooms. Velenosi also makes an excellent trebbiano, also called Prope, for white wine lovers. Alcohol by volume: 14 percent. Body weight: 415 grams (light).

Imported and distributed by Baron François: Available in the District at Chat’s Liquors, Rodman’s, U Street Wine & Beer, Wardman Wines. Available in Maryland at Beers & Cheers in Germantown; Sal’s Italian cuisine in John’s cabin. Available in Virginia from Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington.

Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

(2.5 stars)

Hess Select has long been a line of delicious and affordable Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, which I always look for on a restaurant list when asked to select wine for a crowd. This cab shows off the currant, blackberry, and cherry flavors of the variety, without tasting like it was made to a recipe. ABV: 13.5%. Bottle weight: 580 grams (medium).

Distributed by Breakthru Beverages: Widely available.

Flannery Hill Sauvignon Blanc 2020

(2.5 stars)

Marlborough, New Zealand, $18

Pink grapefruit, orange peel and wildflowers characterize this lively savvie in Marlborough, on the northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island. There is just a hint of peppery spice in the mid-palate before giving way to a long fruity finish. ABV: 13%. Body weight: 425 grams (light).

Imported and Distributed in District and Maryland by Artisans & Vines, Distributed in Virginia by LK Wine Tours & Sales: Available in District at Broad Branch Market, Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Dawson’s Market, MacArthur Beverages , Michigan Liquors, Mimi’s Convenience Mart; Old Town Market and Oven, Rodman’s, Streets Market (Adams Morgan), Timber Pizza, Vitis. Available in Maryland at Airpark Beer & Wine, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg; the Arrowhead Market at Deep Creek Lake; Bella’s, Full On Craft Eats & Drinks, Annapolis’ Italian Market; Beer, Wine & Co., Bradley Food & Beverage at Bethesda; Blue Wind Gourmet at Lexington Park; Crescent Wine & Spirits in Bowie; Dawson’s Liquors in Severna Park; Dawson’s Market, Gilly’s Craft Beer & Fine Wine, Grosvenor Market, Rollins Beer-Wine-Deli in Rockville; District East Beer & Wine, Lakefront Fine Wine & Spirits, Old Farm Liquors, Riverside Liquors, Viniferous in Frederick; Dulaney Wines & Spirits in Towson; Discounted drinks for fairgrounds in Timonium; Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville; Fulton Wine & Spirits in Fulton; Greenbelt Co-Op at Greenbelt; Hair o’ the Dog in Easton; JJ Liquors, Village Green Spirit Shop in Ellicott City; Locavino, Parkway Deli & Restaurant, Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring; Nick’s of Calvert in Prince Frederick; Old Town Market in Kensington; the perfect casting at Elkridge; Potomac grocer in Potomac; Italian cuisine from Sal to Cabin John; State Line Liquors in Elkton; Wise Liquors in Dundalk. Available in Virginia from Aldie Peddler at Aldie; Kimberly is in Winchester; Oxford Cellars in Richmond; Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria.

L’Escarelle 21 June Rosé 2021

(2.5 stars)

Mediterranean IGP, France, $18

Watermelon, red berries, wild herbs and a breath of fresh sea air come to mind with every sip of this delicious rosé. ABV: 13%. PC: 585 grams (average).

Imported and distributed in the District and Virginia by Banville Wine Merchants, distributed in Maryland by Artisans & Vines: available in the District at The Bottle Shop, Cairo Wine & Liquor, Magruder’s, Metro Wine & Spirits, Mac Market, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Rodman’s, Toscana Market, Wagshal’s Deli. Available in Maryland from Beer, Wine & Co. in Bethesda; Downtown La Couronne wine and beer, in Gaithersburg; Knowles Station Wine & Co. in Kensington; Locavino in Silver Springs. Available in Virginia from Aldie Peddler at Aldie; Bonnie Blue Southern Market & Bakery, Kimberly’s, Murphy Beverage, Willie Sutton’s Saloon in Winchester; Classic Wines in Great Falls; Department of Beer and Wine, Unwined (Belle View, King Street) in Alexandria; Dominion Wine and Beer at Falls Church; Norm’s Beer & Wine in Vienna; PaveMint Smokin’ Taphouse at Front Royal; Swirl and sip in Fairfax.

Château les Valentines Rosé 2021

(3 stars)

Cotes de Provence, France, $26

This 50-50 blend of Grenache and Cinsault, two common red grape varieties in the south of France, results in an expressively aromatic rosé, with wildflowers and herbs, followed on the palate by a cornucopia of citrus, melons and berries. Certified organic. ABV: 13.5%. BW: 700 grams (heavy).

Imported and distributed by Baron François: Available in the District at Pursuit Wine Bar & Kitchen, Rodman’s, U Street Wine & Beer, Wide World of Wines. Available in Virginia from Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington; Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean; Evening Star Cafe, Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria.

Availability information is based on distributor records. Wines may not be in stock at all stores listed and may be sold at other stores. Prices are approximate. To verify to check availability, or ask your favorite wine merchant to order from a distributor.

Comments are closed.