Sommelier-recommended Valentine’s Day wines

February 5, 2013
Duval-Leroy Brut

★★1 / 2

Champagne, France, $45

This perennial value was better than ever when I tasted it recently, brilliantly showing the tart red-fruit flavors of pinot noir and pinot meunier and the fleshiness of chardonnay.

Prestige in the District and Maryland; Virginia Imports in Virginia: Available in the District at Cairo Wine & Liquor, Pearson’s. Available in Maryland at Cork 57 Beer and Wine in Bethesda; Dawson’s Market in Rockville; Graul’s Wine & Spirits, North Charles Fine Wine & Spirits and the Wine Source in Baltimore; Wine Cellars of Annapolis. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Curious Grape in Arlington, Ashburn Wine Shop, Balducci’s and Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean, Cork & Fork in Gainesville, Out of Site Wines and Vienna Vintner in Vienna, Planet Wine & Gourmet and Unwined in Alexandria, various locations of Trader Joe’s and Wegmans, Virginia Fine Wines in Springfield, Whole Foods Market (Alexandria and Vienna), Wine Styles in Dumfries; on the list at Euro Bistro in Herndon, Willow in Arlington.

Simonnet-Febvre Brut Rosé Cremant de Bourgogne

★★

Burgundy, France, $20

This producer, based in Chablis in northern Burgundy, is one of my favorites for value-oriented chardonnay and sparkling wines. The Brut Rosé shines with cherry and strawberry flavors. Its razor-sharp balance complements food and makes you ready for more.

M Touton Selection: Available in the District at Best in Liquors, Central Liquors, Congress Market, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, PanMar Wine & Liquor, Rodman’s, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits, U Street Mini Mart, Watergate Wine & Beverage; on the list at Windows Cafe. Available in Maryland at Bethesda Co-Op in Cabin John, the Bottle Shop in Potomac, Bradley Food & Beverage and Georgetown Square Wine and Beer in Bethesda, Franklin Liquors in Ijamsville, Old Farm Liquors in Frederick, Rodman’s in White Flint, Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington; on the list at Bistro Provence in Bethesda.

Gruet Brut Rosé

1 / 2

New Mexico, $19

Gruet’s sparkling wines from New Mexico are an American treasure: top-notch fizz with real champagne character at an affordable price. The rosé is a good for a romantic interlude, and the entire lineup is worth exploring.

Country Vintner: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Pearson’s, Rodman’s, Wagshal’s Market, Whole Foods Market P Street, Yes! Organic Market. Available in Maryland at Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Georgetown Square Wine and Beer in Bethesda, Pine Orchard Wine in Ellicott City. Available in Virginia at Grape + Bean in Alexandria, Grateful Red Wine & Gift Shop in Arlington, Total Wine & More in McLean and Springfield, Whole Foods Market Fair Lakes.

Annalisa Moscato d’Asti

1 / 2

Piedmont, Italy, $12

Bright, fruity, bubbly and sweet. What you don’t finish for dessert could go nicely with blueberry pancakes for brunch.

Country Vintner: Available in the District at Circle Wine & Liquor, Lion’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Whole Foods Market P Street. Available in Maryland at Georgetown Square Wine and Beer in Bethesda, Franklin Liquors in Ijamsville, I.M. Wine in Fulton, the Perfect Pour in Elkridge. Available in Virginia at Slaters Market in Alexandria, Total Wine & More (Alexandria, McLean, Springfield), Wine House in Fairfax.

Loredan Gasparini Casa Bianca Prosecco Rosé
 ★1 / 2

Veneto, Italy, $11

This budget sparkler is a nice scene-setter: Its bubbles help set the mood, and the pink color, from 15 percent pinot noir in the blend, will sparkle in the candlelight.

Dionysus: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, A Litteri, Wagshal’s Market, Whole Foods Market (P Street, Tenleytown). Available in Maryland at Balducci’s and Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Urban Cellars in Baltimore, Sav-On Liquors in Reisterstown, Eastport Liquors in Annapolis. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (McLean and Alexandria), the Italian Store in Arlington, Whole Foods Market (Alexandria, Tysons Corner, Reston), Unwined (Alexandria and Belleview).

Recommendations

★★★Exceptional  ★Excellent ★Very Good

Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

Here are Valentine’s Day wine recommendations. Some are from the sommeliers I interviewed for my accompanying column, and some are from my own tastings.

— Dave McIntyre

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