★ ★ ★Exceptional ★ ★Excellent ★Very Good
Availability information is based on distributor records. Wines might not be in stock at every listed store and might be available at additional stores. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.
Champagne (which I will discuss in next week’s Wine column) may be the ne plus ultra of sparkling wine, but wineries around the world produce delicious fizz in a variety of styles. These are usually made by the “champagne method” of inducing the second (carbonation) fermentation in the bottle, but they achieve their own expressions because of the grape varieties used or the soil and climate where they were grown. Here are five outstanding examples of sparkling wine from unexpected places.
★ ★ ★
Dionysus: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, MacArthur Beverages, Rodman’s; on the list at Doi Moi, Iron Gate, Kapnos, Kellari, Komi, Mourayo, Zaytinya. Available in Maryland at Asadur’s Market in Rockville, Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg. Available in Virginia at Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria.
★ ★ 1 / 2
If you love grüner veltliner, as I do, you will love the addition of bubbles. This is one of Austria’s leading sparkling wines, from an excellent grüner grower, so look for the hallmarks of the grape — lemon grass, talc and exotic tropical fruit — plus fizz. Sekt is the German word for sparkling wine. The importer is transitioning from the 2010 to the 2011 vintage. Both are worth trying. (Insider’s tip: Austrian winemakers are excited about the 2011 vintage.) ABV: 13.5 percent.
SimonNCellars in the District, Prestige in Maryland, Select in Virginia. Available in the District at MacArthur Beverages. Available in Virginia at Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean, J. Emerson Fine Wines & Cheese in Richmond, Twisted Vines Bottleshop in Arlington, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), Wine Cabinet in Reston, Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville; on the list at Brabo in Alexandria, Euro Bistro in Herndon, Inn at Little Washington, Rincome Thai Cuisine in Arlington.
Pfalz, Germany, $20
Riesling lovers will appreciate the ripe apricot flavors and nearly imperceptible sweetness of this endearing bubbly. Like the Steininger, this is a nice expression of its grape variety, with bubbles. ABV: 11.5 percent.
Country Vintner: Available in the District at DCanter, Rodman’s; on the list at BLT Steak, Blue Duck Tavern, Doi Moi. Available in Maryland at Montgomery County liquor stores in Kensington and Darnestown. Available in Virginia at Grape + Bean in Alexandria; on the list at Salamander Resort in Loudoun.
New Mexico, $17
Country Vintner: Available in the District at Cairo Wine & Liquor, Calvert Woodley, MacArthur Beverages, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s, Whole Foods Market (various locations). Available in Maryland at Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Georgetown Square Wine & Beer in Bethesda, Pine Orchard Wine in Ellicott City. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Dominion Wine and Beer in Falls Church, Total Wine & More (Alexandria, Fairfax, Manassas and McLean), Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), Wegmans (all Virginia locations).
South Australia, $18
Sparkling shiraz is an Aussie oddity and an acquired taste. Better ones, like this example by Paringa, exhibit that sweet, jammy, herbal character of shiraz with an invigorating jolt of fizz. ABV: 13.5 percent.
RNDC in the District and Maryland: Available at 1 W Dupont Circle Wine & Liquors, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Wine Specialist. Available in Maryland at Bin 604 Wine Sellers and Wine Source in Baltimore, Mt. Airy Liquors. Available in Virginia at Norm’s Beer & Wine and Vienna Vintners in Vienna, Oakton Wine Shop, the Vineyard in McLean, Wegmans (Leesburg), Whole Foods Market (Alexandria).