Recommended summer wines from California, Spain, Texas and Italy

Columnist August 22, 2014

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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.

Dave McIntyre is the wine columnist for The Washington Post. He also blogs at dmwineline.com. View Archive

Here are four out-of-the-ordinary wines to feature at your late-summer cookouts. Start off with some Spanish bubbly, then surprise your friends with something from Texas, a heritage wine from Napa or an ancient white wine from Sicily. 

— D.M.

Calder Wine Charbono 2012

Napa Valley, Calif., $30

From 40-year-old vines near Calistoga in upper Napa Valley, this wine is both a throwback to California’s past and an example of what San Francisco Chronicle wine editor Jon Bonné calls “the new California”: a young winemaker finding patches of old vines to make traditional-style wines. This charbono has an Italian sensibility, featuring flavors of dried sour cherries that echo through a long finish, braced by wood. Winemaker Rory Williams also makes an exceptional carignan from Mendocino County and a rare old-vine Riesling from Napa Valley. Alcohol by volume: 12.1 percent.

Boutique Vineyards: Available in the District at Arrowine and Spirits; on the list at Blue Duck Tavern, Central Michel Richard, Charlie Palmer Steak, Hank’s Oyster Bar (Dupont Circle), Rasika West End, Woodward Table. Available in Maryland at Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits in Annapolis, Chesapeake Wine Co. and Grand Cru in Baltimore, State Line Liquors in Elkton. Available in Virginia at Grateful Red Wine & Gift Shop in Arlington, Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Vienna Vintner.

Bohigas Brut Reserva

Penedes, Spain, $16

An excellent Spanish cava that offers nice red fruit flavors with crisp, refreshing acidity. ABV: 12 percent.

M Touton: Available in Maryland at Bethesda Co-Op in Cabin John; Chesapeake Wine Co. in Baltimore; Choice Wine & Beer in Wheaton; Cork ’n Bottle Liquor in Laurel; Cork 57 Beer and Wine, Georgetown Square Wine and Beer, in Bethesda; Franklin’s Restaurant, General Store & Brewery in Hyattsville; Friendship Wine & Liquor in Abingdon; Grosvenor Market in Rockville; Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington; the Winery in Chester; Town & Country Wine Liquor Etc. in Easton. Available in Virginia at Camden’s Dogtown Market, J. Emerson Fine Wines & Cheese in Richmond; the Vineyard in McLean; Vino Market in Midlothian; Wines Made Simple in Charlottesville; on the list at Northside Social in Arlington.

McPherson Cellars Tre Colore 2013

Texas, $18

A delicious Rhone-style blend of mourvedre and carignan, with the white grape viognier thrown in to brighten the wine’s aromas. McPherson is Texas’s most consistent winery, and all its wines are worth trying. ABV: 13.9 percent.

Siema: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, DCanter, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits; on the list at Cedar, District Commons, Oyamel, Radius Pizza, Tabard Inn. Available in Maryland at Capital Beer & Wine in Bethesda, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer and Pinky & Pepe’s Grape Escape in Gaithersburg, Fenwick Beer & Wine in Silver Spring, Hair o’ the Dog in Easton, Kent Towne Liquors in Chester, Wine World Beer & Spirits in Abingdon. Available in Little Washington Winery Tasting Room, Unwined in Alexandria, Whole Foods Market in Fairfax.

Donnafugata Lighea Zibibbo 2013

Sicily, Italy, $20

Zibibbo is a Sicilian name for the grape better known as Moscato di Alessandria, or Muscat of Alexandria. According to Native Wine Grapes of Italy, by Ian D’Agata, the name zibibbo predates the apparent reference to Alexandria in Egypt, suggesting that the grape originated in southern Italy or was brought there by the Greeks. This wine may be served with history but it should not be served too cold; it is dry but flowery, with notes of jasmine and starfruit, qualities that go green and sharp right out of the fridge. Store it in the fridge, but let it warm up for 20 minutes before serving. The local distributor has just changed to the 2013, so some of the 2012 may still be available. Don’t be shy. ABV: 13 percent.

Bacchus: Available in the District at Cordial Fine Wine & Spirits, MacArthur Beverages; on the list at Acqua al 2, Doi Moi, Etto, Ripple, Urbana.

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