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The pinot grigio, too often, is Italian for boring. Clean white wine, anonymous, refreshing at best but with little else to offer. But climb away from the sea of Plonk in the mountains of northern Italy, and you can find the pinot grigio with distinction, flowing with an energy that seems to come from the mountains themselves. The Tramin Winery 2017, one of the recommendations this week, is a good example, coming from the nearby Italian border with Austria.
Outside Italy, the same vine is often labeled as pinot grigio, the French name, and this can be an indication of style. Alsace produces a rich, sometimes sweet, pinot grigio, while Oregon hits a stylistic (dry) center between Alsace and Italy. Villa Wolf Pinot Gris, from the German region of Pfalz, is more Italian in style. It does not fill the Tramin's fist, but its price makes it a breeze to stock up. For further credentials, it was created by Ernst Loosen, one of Germany's most famous oenologists.
This week's tips also include the delicious Lord Sandwich White 2017, from Smith Story Wines in Sonoma County, which benefits charities for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. Red lovers will appreciate a fragrant red from Priorat in Spain and a pinot noir from Oregon.
Tramin Pinot Grigio Winery 2017
Alto Adige, Italy, $ 17
The best pinot grigios come from the mountains of the north, in particular the Alto Adige. This version is sparkling and mineral, with luminous fruit and energy. Consider the equivalent of a cup of espresso coffee. Alcohol by volume: 13 percent.
Imported from Winebow, distributed by Winebow in the district, Country Vintner in Maryland and Virginia. Available in the Ace Beverage District, Eye Street Cellars, Rodman & # 39; s; on the Bombay Club list, Brasserie Beck, Capital Burger, Grilled Oyster Co., La Tomate, New Heights, San Lorenzo. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage and Georgetown Square Wine and Beer in Bethesda; on the Brix & Vine list in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Norm & # 39; s Beer & Wine in Vienna; on the McLean Palladium list, Pazzo Pomodoro in Ashburn and Vienna.
Villa Wolf Pinot Gris 2017
Pfalz, Germany, $ 13
This wine by Ernst Loosen shows more the style of Italian pinot grigio than the richness of the pinot grigio of Alsace (they are the same grape). This is bright and citrus, perhaps with a less mineral character than the Tramin Winery but a more exuberant touch. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Imported by Loosen Bros. USA, distributed by Country Vintner: available in the Cairo district Wine & Liquor, Rodman & # 39; s; on the list at Cafe Berlin, Flight, O-ku Sushi. Available in Maryland at Beers & Cheers Too and Downtown Crown Wine and Beer at Gaithersburg, Bottle Shop at Potomac, Bradley Food & Beverage and Georgetown Square Wine and Beer at Bethesda, Old Town Market at Kensington, the Tasting Room Wine Bar & Shop at National Harbor, Wells Discount Liquors and Wine Source in Baltimore; in Not Your Average Joe's list in Bethesda, Gaithersburg and Silver Spring. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Cheesetique and Unwined in Alexandria, Wegmans (various locations); on the Not Your Average Joe's list in Reston, Old House Cosmopolitan Grill in Alexandria.
Smith Story Wine Cellars Lord White Sandwich 2017
Sonoma County, California, $ 22
Good news: Smith Story wines are now distributed in the Washington area. The Lord Sandwich white, named for their goldendoodle, which serves as a social media for the wine brand, is a delicious blend of sauvignon blanc, verdelho and chardonnay. Under the Smith Story label, they also have an excellent (2-star) riesling of the German Rheinhessen and an extraordinary (3-star) chardonnay from Dutton Ranch in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma. ABV: 14 percent.
Distributed by Lantern: available in the Ace Beverage district, Paul's of Chevy Chase. Available in Maryland at Crescent Beer & Wine in Bowie, Gilly's Craft Beer & Fine Wine in Rockville, Spirits of Mt. Vernon in Baltimore, Wine Bin in Ellicott City, Wine Cellars of Annapolis, Wine Harvest (Gaithersburg, Potomac) .
Priorat, Spain, $ 25
Priorat is known for its inebriating reds and high alcohol content of garnacha (grenache), grown on slate soils called "llicorella" in the hills near the Mediterranean coast in northeastern Spain. This intriguing example offers an attractive scent of roasted fruit and wild herbs and a sense of adventure. ABV: 14.5 percent.
Imported by Artisans & Vines, distributed in the district by Hop & Wine, Maryland by Artisans & Vines, and Virginia by Hop & Wine and LK Wine Tours and Sales: available in Cleveland Park district Wine and Spirits, Grand Cata, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Rodman & # 39; s, Schneider & # 39; s of Capitol Hill. Available in Maryland at Downtown Crown Wine and Beer and Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Fenwick Beer & Wine in Silver Spring, Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville. Available in Virginia at Aldie Peddler in Aldie, Altura Wine & Gourmet and Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Bonnie Blue Southern Market & Bakery in Winchester, Vintage Cellar in Blacksburg.
Averaen Pinot Noir 2017
Willamette Valley, Ore., $ 24
Averaen is a cheap pinot noir that offers a true taste of the character of Oregon. Think of the ruby red wine with flavors of cherries, blueberries and damson plums. The price makes it particularly popular among restaurants. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Distributed by Elite: available in the Central Liquors District, Rodman & # 39; s, Wagshal & # 39; s Deli, Wardman Wines, Whole Foods Markets (various locations); on the list in different restaurants. Available in Maryland at the Bo Brooks Lighthouse liquors in Baltimore, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer and Shady Grove Beer and Wine in Gaithersburg, Franklin Liquors in Ijamsville, Georgetown Square Wine and Beer in Bethesda, Gourmet Wine & Spirits and Sunny & # 39; s Fine Wine & Liquors in Sykesville, Old Town Market in Kensington, Rollins Berr-Wine-Deli in Rockville; on the list in different restaurants. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Cheesetiqueand Fern Street Gourmet in Alexandria, Dominion Wine and Beer in Falls Church, Locke Store in Millwood, Whole Foods Market (various locations); on the list in different restaurants.
Availability information is based on distributor records. Wines may not be available in all listed stores and may be sold in other stores. Prices are approximate Check Winesearcher.com to check availability or ask a preferred wine distributor to order through a distributor.