Five wines to try

Recommendations

★ ★ ★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.

Local importer First Vine specializes in wines from southern France, including the lovely Domaine Sainte Cécile du Parc Notes Franches 2010 that I recommended last week. Here I’ve included a few more, including the Château d’Assas red blend and a delightful cabernet franc that shows the quality of experimentation in the Languedoc. First Vine wines are available primarily online, but DCanter and Each Peach Market in the District have begun carrying some of the portfolio.

VIENNA, VA, JANUARY 9, 2013: Winter salad of shaved cucumber, radish and endive with lemon vinaigrette. Dishware courtesy of Crate & Barrel. (Photo by ASTRID RIECKEN For The Washington Post)

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Domaine de Mairan Cabernet Franc 

★ ★ 1 / 2

Languedoc, France, $16

Impeccably balanced, this cab franc shows delightful bing cherry flavors spiced with white pepper and nutmeg. Ideal for casual red-meat dinners. Alcohol by volume: 13.5 percent.

First Vine: Available in the District at Each Peach Market. Available online at Firstvine.com. 

Château d’Assas Classique 2011

★ ★

Gres de Montpellier, Languedoc, France, $15

A blend of syrah and grenache, with an earthy component that adds extra interest, this is an excellent, hearty wine for wintry dishes and grilled fare. ABV: 13.5 percent.

First Vine: Available online at Firstvine.com

Château d’Assas Réserve 2010

★ ★

Gres de Montpellier, Languedoc, France $18

This wine, which includes mourvedre in the blend, is darker and earthier than the Classique from the same producer, Les Vignerons du Pic. It is in the Provence style, a bit more robust and earthy than the Classique. ABV: 14 percent.

First Vine: Available at Firstvine.com

Karl Erbes Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett 2011

★ ★

Mosel, Germany, $16

Bright fruit of peaches and apricots, with the ideal Mosel tension between acidity and sweetness. Nicely balanced. ABV: 8 percent.

Country Vintner: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, DCanter, Rodman’s. Available in Virginia at Unwined in Alexandria, Wegmans (various locations), Wine Cabinet in Reston, Winestyles in Montclair.

Momo Sauvignon Blanc 2012

1 / 2

Marlborough, New Zealand, $17

This “savvie” is from the second label of Seresin Estate, a well-regarded Marlborough producer. It is crisp and aggressively grassy in a style that will be familiar to fans of New Zealand wines. ABV: 13.5 percent.

Country Vintner: Available in the District at Arrowine and Spirits, Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Pine Orchard Wine in Ellicott City. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Daily Planet in Alexandria, Dominion Wine & Beer in Falls Church, Out of Site Wines in Vienna.

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