Looking for an easy-to-find, affordable California cabernet to pair with your burgers or steaks from the grill? Here’s a crowd-pleaser. If your taste runs more European, try this delicious Italian red from Abruzzo. Seafood on the menu? Here’s a racy New Zealand sauvignon blanc. And start your patio party with either of these two rosés from France’s Mediterranean coast.
Velenosi Prope Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2019
Abruzzo, Italy, $18
I used to consider montepulciano d’Abruzzo a pleasant, cheaper alternative to chianti. Some I’ve tasted recently though have impressed with their depth of flavor, a savory texture and an energy that make me want to explore more. This lovely wine should pair well with all sorts of foods, but wild mushrooms come to mind first and foremost. Velenosi also makes an outstanding trebbiano, also called Prope, for white-wine lovers. Alcohol by volume: 14 percent. BW: 415 grams (Light).
Imported and distributed by Baron Francois: Available in the District at Chat’s Liquors, Rodman’s, U Street Wine & Beer, Wardman Wines. Available in Maryland at Beers & Cheers in Germantown; Sal’s Italian Kitchen in Cabin John. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington.
Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
North Coast, Calif., $17
Hess Select has long been a line of reliably yummy, affordable cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, one I always look for on a restaurant list when asked to select wine for a crowd. This cab shows the black currant, blackberry and cherry flavors of the variety, without tasting like it was made following a recipe. ABV: 13.5 percent. Bottle weight: 580 grams (Average).
Distributed by Breakthru Beverages: Widely available.
Flannery Hill Sauvignon Blanc 2020
Marlborough, New Zealand, $18
Pink grapefruit, orange zest and wildflowers characterize this lively savvie from Marlborough, on the north end of New Zealand’s south island. There’s just a hint of peppery spice on the mid-palate before it yields to a long, fruity finish. ABV: 13 percent. BW: 425 grams (Light).
Imported and distributed in the District and Maryland by Artisans & Vines, distributed in Virginia by LK Wine Tours & Sales: Available in the District at Broad Branch Market, Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Dawson’s Market, MacArthur Beverages, Michigan Liquors, Mimi’s Convenience Mart; Old City Market and Oven, Rodman’s, Streets Market (Adams Morgan), Timber Pizza, Vitis. Available in Maryland at Airpark Beer & Wine, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg; Arrowhead Market in Deep Creek Lake; Bella’s, Full On Craft Eats & Drinks, the Italian Market in Annapolis; Beer, Wine & Co., Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda; Blue Wind Gourmet in Lexington Park; Crescent Wine & Spirits in Bowie; Dawson’s Liquors in Severna Park; Dawson’s Market, Gilly’s Craft Beer & Fine Wine, Grosvenor Market, Rollins Beer-Wine-Deli in Rockville; District East Beer & Wine, Lakefront Fine Wine & Spirits, Old Farm Liquors, Riverside Liquors, Viniferous in Frederick; Dulaney Wines & Spirits in Towson; Fairgrounds Discount Beverages in Timonium; Franklins Restaurant, Brewery & General Store in Hyattsville; Fulton Wine & Spirits in Fulton; Greenbelt Co-Op in Greenbelt; Hair o’ the Dog in Easton; JJ Liquors, Village Green Spirit Shop in Ellicott City; Locavino, Parkway Deli & Restaurant, Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring; Nick’s of Calvert in Prince Frederick; Old Town Market in Kensington; the Perfect Pour in Elkridge; Potomac Grocer in Potomac; Sal’s Italian Kitchen in Cabin John; State Line Liquors in Elkton; Wise Liquors in Dundalk. Available in Virginia at Aldie Peddler in Aldie; Kimberly’s in Winchester; Oxford Cellars in Richmond; Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria.
L’Escarelle June 21st Rosé 2021
IGP Méditerranée, France, $18
Watermelon, red berries, wild herbs and a whiff of fresh sea air come to mind with each sip of this delightful rosé. ABV: 13 percent. BW: 585 grams (Average).
Imported and Distributed in the District and Virginia by Banville Wine Merchants, distributed in Maryland by Artisans & Vines: Available in the District at the Bottle Shop, Cairo Wine & Liquor, Magruder’s, Metro Wine & Spirits, Mac Market, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Rodman’s, Toscana Market, Wagshal’s Deli. Available in Maryland at Beer, Wine & Co. in Bethesda; Downtown Crown Wine and Beer, FineWine.com in Gaithersburg; Knowles Station Wine & Co. in Kensington; Locavino in Silver Spring. Available in Virginia at Aldie Peddler in Aldie; Bonnie Blue Southern Market & Bakery, Kimberly’s, Murphy Beverage, Willie Sutton’s Saloon in Winchester; Classic Wines in Great Falls; Department of Beer and Wine, Unwined (Belle View, King Street) in Alexandria; Dominion Wine and Beer in Falls Church; Norm’s Beer & Wine in Vienna; PaveMint Smokin’ Taphouse in Front Royal; Swirl & Sip in Fairfax.
Château les Valentines Rosé 2021
Côtes de Provence, France, $26
This 50-50 blend of grenache and cinsault, two common red grapes in southern France, yields an expressively aromatic rosé, with wildflowers and herbs, followed on the palate by a cornucopia of citrus, melons and berries. Certified organic. ABV: 13.5 percent. BW: 700 grams (Heavy).
Imported and distributed by Baron Francois: Available in the District at the Pursuit Wine Bar & Kitchen, Rodman’s, U Street Wine & Beer, Wide World of Wines. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington; Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean; Evening Star Cafe, Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria.
Availability information is based on distributor records. Wines might not be in stock at every listed store and might be sold at additional stores. Prices are approximate. Check wine-searcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.