★ ★ ★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.
Here are five wines to help you enjoy the rest of summer, including a textbook single-vineyard zinfandel and an organic pinot noir from Oregon that is newly available in the Washington market.
★ ★ 1 / 2
Cienega Valley, Calif., $25
Spicy and rich, as good California zin should be, it has flavors of raspberry and cranberry and a warm but not-too-hot finish. Alcohol by volume: 14.8 percent.
The Spanish Wine Importer: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Eye Street Cellars. Available in Virginia at Cheesetique in Shirlington, Clifton Wine Shop, Swirl & Sip in Fairfax, Tastings of Charlottesville, the Vineyard in McLean, Vino Market in Midlothian, WineStyles in Dumfries; on the list at Green Pig Bistro and Northside Social in Arlington.
★ ★ 1 / 2
Willamette Valley, Oregon, $39
Youngberg Hill is an organic producer from the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, only recently available in the Washington area. The Cuvée is blended from fruit grown throughout the valley; there are also two delicious single-vineyard pinot noirs that offer an edgy sense of vineyard terroir rather than regional character. ABV: 14.5 percent.
Dionysus: Available in the District at Rodman’s, Wagshal’s Deli; on the list at Nora. Available in Maryland at Balducci’s in Bethesda. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean), Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview).
★ ★ 1 / 2
Menetou-Salon, Loire Valley, France, $19
This is not your typical rosé. It is earthy rather than fruity, with intriguing flavors of leaves and mushrooms, and is an excellent reminder that we should not dismiss rosé two years beyond its vintage. ABV:12.5 percent.
Elite: Available in the District at Ace Beverage; on the list at Fiola Mare. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese and Screwtop Wine Bar & Cheese Shop in Arlington, Solare Wine Room in Purcellville, the Whole Ox in The Plains, Once Upon a Vine — North in Richmond.
Mosel, Germany, $13
This is the “introductory” wine from famed vintner Ernst Loosen. The good doctor has produced a textbook Riesling in what German winemakers call the “fruity” style. Although the wine is not fermented totally dry, it does not taste sweet. The acid and sugar balance each other and yield a refreshing wine with moderate alcohol that pairs well with a variety of foods, including spicier cuisines. ABV: 8.5 percent.
Country Vintner: Widely available, including in the District at Ace Beverage, Calvert Woodley, D’Vines, MacArthur Beverages, Rodman’s, Whole Foods Market (various locations). Available in Maryland at Pine Orchard Liquors in Ellicott City, Rodman’s (Wheaton, White Flint), Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington. Available in Virginia at Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean, Whole Foods Market (various locations), Wine Cabinet in Reston.
★ 1 / 2
Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, $12
Here’s a fun, fruity and delicious blend of chenin blanc, viognier and sauvignon blanc — a wine that feels comfortable for what it is. Drink it on the patio while the coals light or in the kitchen as you kibbitz with your guests. It will also be fine with light appetizers or even a seafood salad. ABV: 13.5 percent.
The Spanish Wine Importer: Available in Virginia at Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean, Cheesetique (Alexandria, Shirlington), Crystal City Wine Shop, Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market in Richmond, Foods of All Nations and Wine Made Simple in Charlottesville, Grateful Red Wine & Gift Shop and Twisted Vines Bottleshop in Arlington, Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Vino Market in Midlothian, WineStyles in Chantilly; on the list at all area Clyde’s restaurants.