★★★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.
Here are three reds and two rosés for your warm-weather sipping.
Overberg, South Africa, $20
Here’s a lovely New World-style syrah, with loads of blueberry and plum fruit and sweet spices (clove, allspice). The flavors and plush texture resemble those of Australian shiraz, but with a little restraint. This winery also produces a nice pinot noir. Alcohol by volume: 14 percent.
Cavanaugh Family Imports: Available in the District at Paul’s of Chevy Chase; on the list at Tel’Veh Wine Bar. Available in Maryland at Fairgrounds Discount Beverages in Timonium, Quarry Wine & Spirits and Wine Underground in Baltimore; on the list at 13.5% Wine Bar and Peter’s Inn in Baltimore.
Costières de Nîmes, France, $13
This blend of grenache, syrah and mourvedre, three traditional red grapes of southern France, is juicy and vibrant. So lively, in fact, that it seemed to vanish faster than I could pour it into my glass. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Kacher: Available in the District at Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits, Hayden’s Liquor, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Rodman’s; on the list at Clyde’s (various locations), Tanad Thai. Available in Maryland at Arundel Liquors in Pasadena; Cranberry Liquors in Westminster; Love Point Deli, Wine & Spirits in Stevensville; Mills Fine Wine and Spirits in Annapolis; North Ridge Wine & Spirits and Petite Cellars in Ellicott City; Olde Solomon’s Wine & Spirits in Edgewater. On the list at Clyde’s (various locations). Available in Virginia at Cork & Fork in Gainesville; on the list at Clyde’s (various locations).
Sancerre, France, $22
This rosé of pinot noir is quite refined, its cherry and watermelon flavors guided with laser-beam precision. Keep it in mind for grilled salmon. Yes, I said it: pink wine with pink food. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Dionysus: Available in the District at Cork & Fork, Rodman’s, Wagshal’s Deli, Whole Foods Market (Foggy Bottom, P Street, Tenleytown). Available in Maryland at Balducci’s, Bradley Food & Beverage and Cork & Fork in Bethesda; Finewine.com in Gaithersburg. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean), Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), Whole Foods Market (Alexandria, Arlington, Fair Lakes, Vienna).
Languedoc, France, $13
It’s the first malbec I’ve seen from Languedoc, and it is done more in the Argentine style than in the style of the earthier wines of Cahors, in southwestern France,where malbec is the main grape. Its pure fruit and velvety texture make it ideal for burgers and other simple foods from the grill. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Oslo Enterprise: Available in the District at Chat’s Liquors, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Cordial Fine Wine & Spirits, Eye Street Cellars, Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits, MacArthur Beverages, Rodman’s, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Tunnel Wines & Spirits, Wagshal’s Deli. Available in Maryland at Decanter Fine Wines in Columbia; Greenbelt Co-op; Franklin’s Restaurant, Brewery & General Store in Hyattsville; Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits and Bistro in Beltsville; Rip’s Wine and Spirit Shop in Bowie; Spirits of Mt. Vernon in Baltimore; Wine Bin in Ellicott City. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Crystal City Wine Shop.
★★1 / 2
Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, $23
Fans of Chateau Musar, a Lebanese winery with a cult following, will enjoy this stylish red blend of cinsault, syrah and cabernet sauvignon. (There is also a white made in an orange-wine style, though it’s less compelling.) ABV: 13.5 percent.
Country Vintner: Available in the District at Cairo Wine & Liquor, Potomac Wine & Spirits; on the list at Lebanese Taverna, Zaytinya. Available in Maryland at Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits and Bistro in Beltsville; Roots Market in Olney; Wine Source in Baltimore. On the list at Lebanese Taverna in Bethesda. Available in Virginia at Swirl & Sip in Fairfax; on the list at Lebanese Taverna (various locations), Me Jana in Arlington.