Sometimes it seems like there’s a liquor store at every corner, but that doesn't mean they are all good, especially when it comes to the wine selection. But today, we want to talk about a whole separate crop of stores that offer something unique in their selection. Here are three stores you should check out if you want wines with interesting stories, or to step out of your comfort zone and try something new.
Specializes In: Natural Wines
This is the District’s newest addition, and the first retail destination dedicated to natural wine selections from around the world. Far from the average wine shop, Truxton Circle's Domestique carries close to 400 varieties of wine made from biodynamic or organically grown grapes, fermented with ambient yeasts and with very minimal use of sulfur (if any at all). Whether you are a wine connoisseur or just looking to get introduced to natural wines, Domestique is a great place to start. Don’t let any of the technical terms scare you off – Domestique hosts informative tastings on a regular basis, and the folks there are friendly and eager to educate more people about natural wines, which are gaining popularity globally.
Recommend If: You're interested in the natural wine movement, but need some help selecting the right bottle.
Specializes In: Wines from Latin America
Grand Cata is a wine store in Shaw specializing in Latin American wines. The wines showcased here demonstrate the depth of varieties from popular Latin American regions such as Argentina and Chile, but also producers from lesser known countries such as Peru, Bolivia, Portugal and Mexico. They have a full range of old world and new world wines, but with a special Latin flare, and options for all budgets. You'll find something for every palate, whether you want a rich, silky red from Argentina, a crisp cava from Spain, or a lesser known brandy from Bolivia. They also host a range of tastings, classes and events that are very casual and welcoming for all level of wine drinkers. In addition to wines, they have cheeses and meats and wine serving ware and such, so it’s a great place to pick up a gift or put together a special wine evening at home.
Recommend If: You'd like to explore beyond Malbec, or you're stopping to grab a bottle and a cheese to bring to a party, and want to impress.
Specializes In: Independent/small/ local producers
With two convenient locations (Union Market, and The Wharf), Cordial is your one-stop-shop for local and independent producers. Expect to find wines from mom and pop vineyards, small producers and products from boutique wineries and distributors. You can also pick up a bottle of just about every spirit being made locally in D.C., from Republic Restoratives gin to Cotton & Reed spiced rum. Although the selection may be relatively small, the quality of wines to be found here is very high. Cordial offers wines at price points ranging from everyday selections to pricier, special occasion wines.
Recommend If: You want to try something new, or local, as they usually have a good selection from Virginia producers.