DC Wineaux visits Clarendon: Best Cellars (2855 Clarendon Blvd)

Kristi Green is the author of the blog DC Wineaux. She further indulges her love of wine in her work at a wine bar on U St NW.

Tonight, during a fairly routine errand run my fiance informed me that we had to trek to Clarendon so he could go to The Container Store (my thoughts, “whatever gets you to organize, dear…”)–during this excursion I happened upon Best Cellars and thought I’d seen a ghost! I used to visit Best Cellars in Dupont (1643 Connecticut Ave NW) until they closed last year–I had no idea there’d been one thriving in Clarendon for nearly seven years!

The store–bright and stark but some how comfortable–sort of like the Apple store, is teeming with great finds that are generally well-priced. I came home with three bottles for less than $50 (likely $60-$75 elsewhere)! The staff are friendly without being pushy, they politely asked if I needed help though I nearly always respond that I’d like to explore for a moment–which (thankfully) these guys didn’t seem to mind.

They have a wide variety of wine–red, white, pink, bubbly, dessert–everything–and all with their own classification to help you find what you like. Each wine is labeled with one or several of eight symbols denoting characteristics of the wine itself in order to help the buyer select wine that they will love–without having to request the guidance of the sales staff. The wine may be classified as “fizzy” and “fresh” or “big” and “smooth”–in any case, these guiding labels are brightly colored, easy to read, and totally helpful.

While about three-quarters of the wine at Best Cellars are of New World origin, they do also have a nice selection of Old World wines. Of that Old World selection–I came home with an Organic Sparkling Pinot Noir from Austria and a Red Portugese Blend; of their New World offerings, I was unable to resist a Cabernet Sauvignon Rose from the Coastal Region, South Africa. I find it important to note as well that Best Cellars had a pretty fabulous beer selection–we picked up Sneaky Pete Imperial IPA (Ponderay, ID//10%ABV).

Recommendations after the jump.

Wines I just had to have from Best Cellars: 100 Marias VinhoTinto 2006 (Alentejano, Portugal); Meinklang Organic Sparkling Pinot Noir (Burgenland, Austria–tasting notes below); Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rose (Coastal Region, South Africa).


Meinklang/Burgenland, Austria/Pinot Noir (Sparkling)/N/V


well structured balanced bubbly rose


an after dinner movie night (it went well with “Little Fockers!”) for food: try spicy asian cuisine or your favorite fruity dessert.


tiny, continuous bubbles. blush rose in color. on the nose: cinnamon and cream with notes of red berry. on the palette: bold red fruits: strawberry, raspberry, and watermelon–bright and refreshing, finishes dry.

21 Comment

  • is it legal to carry alcohol across state lines?

    • I think it depends on which state lines you’re talking about, and in which direction. I’m pretty sure it’s fine to take wine from Virginia into DC, but I’m not so sure it’s legal the other way around. Besides, nobody’s going to try to enforce that sort of law unless you’re transporting large quantities of alcohol across state borders with the intention of profiting from it and not paying the proper taxes.

      • oh i know the enforcement isn’t a big deal. and i do it a lot actually. just curious.

        its kinda like jaywalking.

        • as long as the wine is packaged properly (closed in a bag with a receipt) it is fine to transport wine via metro–in your car, as long as the wine is closed and in the back seat or trunk, you’re in the clear! (yes, even across state lines)

  • I used to work at the Dupont Best Cellars. Loved that place. Such a shame it got pushed out of the city.

  • they also have a selection of VA wines for the locavores out there

  • I’m sorry, but I ain’t going to the Commonwealth of Virginia. I don’t care how good a wine store they’ve got there, it’s just too NRA for me.

    • And racist and homophobic. I too try to avoid bringing my dollars to that wretched state.

      • Wow good to know bigotry is still runningn rampant. Losers.

        • Dear Anons1-3, I write this column to inspire positive discussion about wine. I do not write it so that you can share your absolutely erroneous beliefs–if you would like to share these points of view, perhaps begin a DCComplaineaux blog–and in the future, try to keep comments here a little more relevant and a little less negative.

        • saf

          Hardly bigotry to use economic power to express social justice convictions.

    • It must be rather sad living in such a tiny world.

      • I lived in Virginia for several years– it’s an entirely different world out there. There was a Peruvian gardener who was killed trying to defend his employer’s family from a burglarer, and the consensus in the community was that the gardener deserved it since he was probably illegal. I find such attitudes absolutely disgusting and sadly typical of Virginians.

        • you know, i’ve lived in virginia too, and as much as i hated it there, the same thing happens here in dc. look at any post involving some non white person getting killed. the assumptions are outrageous.

    • I bet you avoid Muslims too, because they’re just too terrorist for you.

      • how is not wanting to give money to the state of virginia the same as avoiding muslims? are you that dense? think longer and harder.

  • Best Cellars is always overpriced by about $2-3 a bottle. The three bottles you list should have been about $15 each for the first two and maybe $9 for the third, google if you don’t believe me. I don’t know where you’re getting “$60-75 elsewhere” from.

    I’m not above paying a premium at a good wine shop for their expertise and selection, but in my experience Best Cellars doesn’t employ people who know enough about wine or carry enough of a selection to be worth any premium.

    • The “elsewhere” price estimate listed in the column (added as a last minute edit, not part of the original content) is based on a bit of google shopping research–by all means, if you can find the exact same wines available in the area for significantly cheaper than I listed, please tell me where!

      I am always up for suggestion so if there’s a wine spot (wine bar, wine shop, etc) that you love that isn’t getting any press over here…tell me, I’ll go there!

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