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Another wine-importer store opens


The new Ansonia Wines on 18th Street NW is the second importer's store to open recently. (Ansonia Wines)

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: Weygandt Wines, which opened in late October in Cleveland Park (and was profiled in my wine column last week), 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's effort to represent artisanal winemakers helps keep the value quotient high. Another plus: 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). 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 “Gran'T,” Coteaux du Languedoc Pic St. Loup ($32), a rich red from France's Mediterranean coast, made from carginan and grenache.

For overdue-holiday-gift shoppers (or those in search of host gifts for tonight's fetes?), 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.

-- Dave McIntyre

By The Food Section  |  December 31, 2009; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Shopping , Wine  | Tags: Dave McIntyre, wine  
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