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Ansonia Wines, 1828 18th St NW (Dupont-Morgan)


Waitman
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Someone once suggested in The Economist (and here I translate from the original British and correct for inflation) that a good bottle of Burgundy costs $300. $50 for the good bottle of Burgundy and $250 for the other five that sucked. I think the reason we all used to crumple up hundred dollar bills and throw them at Slater during his Citronelle days was that, even at (always reasonable) restaurant markups, he was saving us money by taking innumerable bad glasses for the team.

Now comes a little shop on 18th Street between S and T called Ansonia Wines that aims to provide the same service Mark did/does on a retail basis.

Housed in the front room of an English basement roughly the size of the one where you shacked up in with that bad influence your first year out of college (if you lived in DC), it is at this moment not-yet-fully stocked with a selection of French wines imported exclusively by the father of proprietor Tom Wilcox -- aka Wilcox Fils -- a tall and enthusiastic young man with an entrepreneurial spirit (though, God help us, he appears to tweet) and a taste for French wine. The shop is a little empty at this point, although prices are already chalked on slate for wines that haven't arrived, indicating a certain confidence that they will, soon. And fully stocked, I'm guessing that they might have a hundred selections, so this is not ever going to be Calvert-Woodley. Roughly half the shop is given over to Burgundy, the other half to lesser other French wines. Some of our resident oenophiles may recognize the producers represented but, given that they are all imported by Wilcox Père in small batches and that I'm a total poseur, I did not. They sell to Komi, which is a reasonably impressive endorsement, I'm not sure where else in the area you can drink it.

This is not a shop for bargain hunters. This is a shop for people who don't mind paying $50, or $60, or $100 for a bottle of wine, as long as they get a $50, $60 or $100 bottle of wine.

Do they deliver? I can't honestly say. I was having pizza tonight and it was Radius Pizza (which does deliver) so I was both too lowbrow and too broke to drop $55 on a Gevrey-Chambertin.

But I did cop a $15 bottle of '07 Domaine Coulange Cotes du Rhone Village, which was a pretty impressive bit of plonk. Almost like a village Beaujolais, but with cohones. Cherry, velvet and structure (there's enough of that sort of talk from the likes of me). And I got an $18 bottle of '07 Domaine Gerard Thomas Borgogne, a crisp -- tart even -- Chard with just a touch of oak.

Better palates than mine will render final judgment on Ansonia Wines. But if they deliver as well at the 1er Cru level as they do with village wines, we might have a keeper here. Y'all check it out.

Ansonia Wines

1828B 18th Street NW

Washington, DC 2009

215 498 0189

www.ansoniawines.com

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Someone once suggested in The Economist (and here I translate from the original British and correct for inflation) that a good bottle of Burgundy costs $300. $50 for the good bottle of Burgundy and $250 for the other five that sucked. I think the reason we all used to crumple up hundred dollar bills and throw them at Slater during his Citronelle days was that, even at (always reasonable) restaurant markups, he was saving us money by taking innumerable bad glasses for the team.

Now comes a little shop on 18th Street between S and T called Ansonia Wines that aims to provide the same service Mark did/does on a retail basis.

Housed in the front room of an English basement roughly the size of the one where you shacked up in with that bad influence your first year out of college (if you lived in DC), it is at this moment not-yet-full stocked with a selection of French wines imported exclusively by the father of proprietor Tom Wilcox -- aka Wilcox Fils -- a tall and enthusiastic young man with an entrepreneurial spirit (though, God help us, he appears to tweet) and a taste for French wine. The shop is a little empty at this point, although prices are already chalked on slate for wines that haven't arrived, indicating a certain confidence that they will, soon. And fully stocked, I'm guessing that they might have a hundred selections, so this is not ever going to be Calvert-Woodley. Roughly half the shop is given over to Burgundy, the other half to lesser other French wines. Some of our resident oenophiles may recognize the producers represented but, given that they are all imported by M. Wilcox Pere in small batches and that I'm a total poseur, I did not. They sell to Komi, which is a reasonably impressive endorsement, I'm not sure where else in the area you can drink it.

This is not a shop for bargain hunters. This is a shop for people who don't mind paying $50, or $60, or $100 for a bottle of wine, as long as they get a $50, $60 or $100 bottle of wine.

Do they deliver? I can't honestly say. I was having pizza tonight and it was Radius Pizza (which does deliver) so I was both too lowbrow and too broke to drop $55 on a Gevrey-Chambertin.

But I did cop a $15 bottle of '07 Domaine Coulange Cotes du Rhone Village, which was a pretty impressive bit of plonk. Almost like a village Beaujolais, but with cohones. Cherry, velvet and structure (there's enough of that sort of talk from the likes of me). And I got an $18 bottle of '07 Domaine Gerard Thomas Borgogne, a crisp -- tart even -- Chard with just a touch of oak.

Better palates than mine will render final judgment on Ansonia Wines. but if they deliver as well at the 1er Cru level as they do with village wines, we might have a keeper here. Y'all check it out.

Ansonia Wines

1828B 18th Street NW

Washington, DC 2009

215 498 0189

www.ansoniawines.com

I can't tell you how happy I am to hear about this shop. I've done business with Mark Wilcox (le Pére) for the last two years (at Citronelle; he just got his Virginia warehouse and certification), and his wines are top-notch. Look at the Burgundies from Michel Gros, Domaine L'Arlot and the sensational Chateauneuf-du-Pape from Paul Autard- red and white. Waitman is right: good Burgundy is never "cheap", but these wines are all unique, small production and delicious. There may even be some of the wonderful 2004's available- great for drinking now.

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We’re grateful for the kind words from Waitman and Mark Slater, and we hope to develop our clientele at the Ansonia Wines DC Shop from food and wine lovers just like those who follow this blog.

We are sensitive to the cost of fine wine, particularly Burgundy, and we will also be working hard to carry some wines that are gentler on the pocketbook than our premier crus from the Côte d'Or. We hope you’ll come by and ask for those as well – they get the same care as those at the high end.

For those willing to buy in case and half-case lots, our Advance Order Group can provide remarkable savings. Importing cases for friends and family was how we started, and we still have a lot of fun with it. Some patience is required, and because production is so small we inevitably can’t get all the wine that everyone wants; but regular participants ultimately fill their cellars with superb wine at costs that are modest by comparison to the rest of the market. We circulate these offerings every few months, and those who think they might be interested need to sign up separately to receive them. You can do so from this link: http://ansoniawines.com/aog.html

Mark and Tom Wilcox

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If you have yet to get a look at the new Ansonia Wines shop on 18th Street NW (between Swann and T), consider stopping by our open house this Saturday between 10 and 9. We’ll have quite a few wines open and some things to nibble while sampling the wares.

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Ansonia Wines is having an Open House this Saturday, March 20, which means we'll have extra wines open for tasting and some things to snack on -- charcuterie, paté and cheese. 1828 18th St. NW (between Swann and T, across from Lauriol Plaza). Stop by!

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