From Bean to Grape

The Triangle's arbiter of good taste turns to wine

When Lex Alexander opened 3CUPS a few years ago, coffee was the backbone of his Chapel Hill, North Carolina, specialty shop, where locals go for beans that are sourced from family farms and roasted nearby at Durham's Counter Culture.

But the former Whole Foods product developer's latest obsession is wine–more specifically biodynamic, organic and sustainable wine–and 3CUPS now houses one of the most carefully curated lists around, the majority of it priced in the value sweet spot of $12 to $20 a bottle.

Even if you don't live in the Triangle area, you can order wine online and 3CUPS will ship it to you. Or you can sign up for 3BOTTLES, the shop's monthly wine club, which highlights a new theme in every installment.

Here, three of Alexander's favorite summertime whites:

2006 Claude Quenard Vin de Savoie St. Jeoire Prieure ($10) This crisp, lively white wine from eastern France is made from Jacquere grapes grown organically in clay-limestone soil (order it here).

2008 Jas De'Escalans Côtes de Provence Blanc ($15) A tasty blend of organic Rolle and Ugni Blanc grapes from Provence, this wine is an awesome, uniquely Mediterranean combo of ripe and refreshing. The wine borders on full-bodied, but has enough lip-smacking acidity to stay thirst-quenchingly fresh (order it here).

2007 Brundlmayer Grüner Veltliner Kamptaler Terrassen ($23) Willi Brundlmayer is one of the best-known grape growers in Austria–and also one of the best. His wines age in cold cellars in oak and acacia casks, where they become rounder, deeper and more interesting (order it here).

Editor's Note: 3CUPS has closed.