If you had asked me a few months ago to name wine stores owned and
operated by importers and devoted to that importer’s wines, I would have
mentioned two: Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant in Berkeley, Calif., and
Rosenthal Wine Merchant in New York City, which features importer Neal
Rosenthal’s selections. There may be others, but for various reasons
such stores are rare.
Now there are two right here in the District of Columbia: Weygandt
Wines, which opened in late October in Cleveland Park (and is profiled
in my Washington Post wine column today), and the tiny Ansonia Wines, on 18th
Street NW. Ansonia, which opened its door earlier this month, is a
shoebox of a store in the basement level of a row house. It features the
wines of Mark Wilcox, who like Weygandt is a Philadelphia-based
importer. Wilcox has gained a modest reputation over the past six years
by supplying high-quality small-production wines, primarily to
restaurants. The store is owned and operated by Mark’s son, Tom.
The emphasis here is on Burgundy, with some wines from southern
France, a couple from Alsace and a few stray Italian selections. The
Burgundy focus means the wines are not cheap, but Wilcox’ effort to
represent artisanal winemakers helps keep the value quotient high. Tom
said his father does not emphasize organic or biodynamic viticulture,
but since heâ€™s focusing on small producers, many of his growers favor
those techniques. Another plus â€“ the store stocks some older vintages
(back at least to 2001), not just current releases.
Tom Wilcox said he will always have two wines open for tasting (and
he Tweets the daily selections @ansoniawines). When I stopped in just
before the Blizzard of Aught-Nine, he was pouring the Domaine Michel Gros 2005 Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Nuits ($29), a delightful chardonnay that had just enough toasty oak to give structure to the abundant fruit, and the Mas Foulaquier â€œGran’T,â€ Coteaux du Languedoc Pic St. Loup ($32), a rich red from France’s Mediterranean coast, made from carginan and grenache.
For last-minute holiday shoppers, Ansonia is offering four gift
boxes, each with two wines representative of the store’s portfolio. They
cost $49 or $99, depending on your taste and budget.
Ansonia Wines, 1828 18th St. NW. www.ansoniawines.com