★ ★ ★Exceptional ★ ★Excellent ★Very Good
Availability information is based on distributor records. Wines might not be in stock at every listed store and might be sold at additional stores. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.
This week’s wine recommendations feature two outstanding, moderately priced white Burgundies that show chardonnay at its best; red blends from Colorado and California for your summer grilling; and a delightful moscato from Chile to get your patio parties off to a good start.
★ ★ ★
Burgundy, France, $23
Good news for wine lovers: basic Burgundy, as in chardonnay and pinot noir labeled “Bourgogne,” is getting better and better. Maison Roche de Bellene is a negociant — producing wines from purchased grapes or blending purchased wines — run by popular winemaker Nicolas Potel and imported by Loosen Bros., the import company of famed German winemaker Ernst Loosen. It is impeccable, rich with tree fruit flavors and moderate oakiness. Consider this a mini-Meursault, and stock up. Alcohol by volume: 13 percent.
Country Vintner: Available in the District at De Vino’s, Rodman’s; on the list at Lebanese Taverna. Available in Maryland at Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits, Graul’s Market in Towson, Vintage Cellars in Clarksville, Woodmore Wine and Spirits in Lanham; on the list at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in Baltimore, Lebanese Taverna (all locations). On the list in Virginia at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in Tysons Corner, Lebanese Taverna (all locations).
★ ★ ★
Saint-Véran, Burgundy, France, $16
This wine demonstrates why we should not snub “oaky” chardonnays. Yes, oak is evident in the toastiness and richness of texture, but it is beautifully balanced with fruit and mineral flavors, making this as good a chardonnay as I’ve had under $20. ABV: 13 percent.
M Touton Selection: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Burka’s Wine and Liquor, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits. Available in Maryland at Old Farm Liquors and Viniferous in Frederick, Quarry Wine & Spirits and Wine Source in Baltimore, Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington. Available in Virginia at Chain Bridge Cellars and the Vineyard in McLean, Rio Hill Wine & Gourmet in Charlottesville, the Purple Foot in Waynesboro; on the list at Can Can in Richmond, La Petite Auberge in Fredericksburg.
★ ★ 1 / 2
Wine from the Centennial State? Oh, yeah. This intriguing, stylish red blend of Bordeaux grape varieties combines fruit and earth. ABV: 14.1 percent.
Siema: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits. Available in Maryland at Hair o’ the Dog in Easton, Kent Towne Liquors in Chester. Available in Virginia at Little Washington Winery in Washington.
Central Valley, Chile, $10
Fans of moscato should try this off-dry version; it’s not as sweet as most but quite fruity, and delightful for sipping before dinner or with light appetizers. ABV: 11.5 percent.
Reliable Churchill in Maryland: Available at Barley, Hops & Grapes in Berlin; Bel Air Liquors; Iron Bridge Wine Co. in Columbia; Petite Cellars in Ellicott City.
This juicy, appealing red blend is better than most California reds at the price, and excellent with casual foods off the grill. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Washington Wholesale in the District. Reliable Churchill in Maryland: Available at Barley, Hops and Grapes in Berlin; Bel Air Liquors; Iron Bridge Wine Co. in Columbia; Petite Cellars in Ellicott City.