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).
THE PRODUCER/THE PLACE/THE GRAPE/THE VINTAGE
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.