Here are five wines worth trying for early summer enjoyment, including two Vinhos Verdes from Portugal and a Tuscan red that will pair well with grilled meats.
Domaine Pfister Cuvee 8 2009
Alsace, France, $36
Melanie Pfister is the eighth-generation winemaker at her family’s domaine, which was established in 1780 at the height of the French Revolution. She created this delicious blend of Riesling, pinot gris, Gewurztraminer and muscat as a modern expression of Alsace. It is flowery and slightly off-dry, with some tropical flavors, and is available primarily at restaurants.
Vintage 59/Country Vintner: On the list in the District at CityZen, Komi, Rasika Penn Quarter. Available in Maryland at Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington. On the list in Virginia at Restaurant Eve in Alexandria.
Pietroso Rosso di Montalcino 2011
2 (Great Value)
Tuscany, Italy, $23
Think of Rosso di Montalcino as “baby Brunello,” a bargain version of a more adult wine that typically costs $40 or more. This is excellent sangiovese, with flavors of dried cherry and cocoa powder and soft tannins. Pair it with grilled meats or poultry.
Dionysus: Available in the District at A. Litteri, MacArthur Beverages, Rodman’s, Wagshal’s Market. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage and Cork & Fork in Bethesda, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), Whole Foods Market (Alexandria, Arlington, Vienna).
Conde Villar Vinho Verde Rosé 2012
2 (Great Value)
Here’s an unusual rosé, effervescent enough to show a bead of bubbles, which makes it refreshing and balances the wine’s slight sweetness. Think of this for spicy dishes.
Country Vintner: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor; on the list at Komi. Available in Maryland at Georgetown Square Wine & Beer in Bethesda, Franklin Liquors in Ijamsville. Available in Virginia at Grateful Red in Arlington; on the list at Daniel O’Connell’s in Alexandria.
Follies Vinho Verde 2011
This 50-50 white blend of alvarinho (the Portuguese name for albarino) and loureiro is zesty and ripe, with apricot and peach flavors plus bracing acidity that keeps the wine refreshing. Pair this with seafood and salty appetizers.
Constantine: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Cairo Wine & Liquor, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits, Hayden’s Liquor, MacArthur Beverages, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, U Street Wine & Beer. Available in Maryland at Shawan Liquors in Hunt Valley, Wine Source in Baltimore.
Undone Dry Riesling 2011
Rheinhessen, Germany, $13
Despite the “dry” on the label, this wine is more on the fruity, off-dry side. It is tasty and fun, ideal for all sorts of casual food. Keep it well chilled and set up the patio.
Constantine: Available in the District at Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits, MacArthur Beverages, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, U Street Wine & Beer. Available in Maryland at Bo Brooks Lighthouse Liquors, Chesapeake Wine Co. and Wine Source in Baltimore; Enchanted Forest Wine & Spirits and Lyndwood Square Wine & Spirits in Ellicott City; Wine Cellars of Annapolis and Harbor Spirits in Severna Park; Port Tack Wine & Spirits in Arnold; and Shawan Liquors in Hunt Valley.