Tuscany, Italy, $19
This is very Old World in style: earthy, with sour cherry and cocoa notes typical of a sangiovese that picks up balsamic notes from aging in large casks. It reminds me of a Brunello, at a fraction of the price, and shows how well a “simple” Tuscan sangiovese can age. We don’t have to worry about cellaring it; that’s already been done for us. Alcohol content: 13 percent.
M Touton Selection: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Washington Wine & Liquor. Available in Maryland at Cork ’n Bottle Liquor in Laurel, Old Farm Liquors in Frederick, Pine Orchard Wine in Ellicott City, the Old Vine in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean, Crystal City Wine Shop and the Italian Store in Arlington, the Town Duck in Warrenton, Vienna Vintner; on the list at Bean Good in Arlington.
Graham Beck Brut Rosé
South Africa, $17
Graham Beck is a reliable value for sparkling wine that approaches champagne quality. The rosé is no exception. It offers delightful strawberry and watermelon flavors and a bracing acidity that could make the heat of a summer’s day disappear in an instant. Alcohol content: 12 percent.
Country Vintner: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Rodman’s, Whole Foods Market (Foggy Bottom, P Street), Yes! Organic Market. Available in Maryland at Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Georgetown Square Wine and Beer in Bethesda. Available in Virginia at Cheesetique (Alexandria, Arlington), Dominion Wine and Beer in Falls Church, various Wegmans locations, Whole Foods Market (Arlington).
F. Tinel-Blondelet Genetin Pouilly-Fumé 2012
Loire Valley, France, $26
A restrained sauvignon blanc, it shows the typical flavors of kiwi and passion fruit but without the aggressiveness we’ve come to expect from this grape. Its haunting refrain won’t let go. Alcohol content: 12.5 percent.
Kysela: Available in the District at Magruder’s, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Cindy’s Spirits in Elkridge, Plus Mart in Frederick, Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Beer Run in Charlottesville, Corks & Kegs in Richmond, Locke Modern Country Store in Millwood, Paeonian Grocery and Gourmet in Paeonian Springs, Shenandoah Fine Chocolates in Winchester, the Wine Cellar in Middleburg; on the list at Eiffel Tower Cafe in Leesburg, French Hound in Middleburg.
Domaine des Corbillières Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Loire Valley, France, $15
Think of the Genetin Pouilly-Fumé as a string quartet and this wine as a rock band playing the same tune. It’s brash and in your face, yet it strikes all the right chords, if a bit loudly. Alcohol content: 13 percent.
Kacher/Washington Wholesale/Reliable Churchill: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, DCanter, MacArthur Beverages, Magruder’s; on the list at Acadiana, Blue 44, DeCarlo’s, Lavandou, Ripple. Available in Maryland at Greenbrier Wine & Spirits in Bel Air, Hair o’ the Dog in Easton, Mr. Charles Market in Owings Mills, the Perfect Pour in Elkridge, Wells Discount Liquors in Baltimore.
Patton Valley Vineyard
De-Classified Pinot Noir 2011
Willamette Valley, Ore., $15
Wineries “declassify” a wine when it isn’t quite good enough for their main blend. This simple, tasty pinot from Oregon gains extra points for its relevance to current Washington scandals. Alcohol content: 12.8 percent.
Kysela: Available in the District at Circle Wine & Liquor, Fresh & Green’s, Magruder’s, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Cafe Liquors in Hagerstown, College Square Liquors in Westminster, Countryside Liquors in New Market, Mt. Airy Liquors, McHenry Beverage Shoppe, Plus Mart and Ye Olde Spirit Shop in Frederick, Thurmont Liquors. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria), Curious Grape in Arlington, Grapevine in Warrenton, Murphy Beverage in Winchester.