Exceptional Excellent Very Good
This week’s wines include a fine example of Loire Valley sauvignon blanc, a worthy Oregon pinot noir, a fruity, flowery California white blend and two chardonnays: an excellent introductory-level wine from Burgundy and a cheap guzzler from South Africa.
Loire Valley, France, $26
Sometimes I forget how wonderfully racy and minerally sauvignon blanc can be, and then along comes a wine like this beauty to remind me. The Loire Valley is arguably the spiritual homeland of sauvignon blanc (think Sancerre), and often the smaller nearby appellations offer tremendous quality and value. Alcohol by volume: 12.5 percent.
Distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Arrowine and Spirits, Wine Specialist; on the list at Cork Wine Bar, Kingbird, Petits Plats, Restaurant Nora. Available in Maryland at Wells Discount Liquors in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Oakton Wine Shop; on the list at Bistro 360 in Arlington, TenPenh in Tysons Corner.
Willamette Valley, Ore., $28
Rich and savory, with dark-cherry and mushroom flavors plus a hint of the forest floor, this is a delightful example of why Oregon is making the best American pinot noir. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine and Spirits, Lion’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Modern Liquors; on the list at All Souls, Ardeo, DC Harvest, Rasika (West End). Available in Maryland at Capital Beer & Wine in Bethesda, on the list at Black Market Bistro in Kensington. On the list in Virginia at the French Hound in Middleburg, Greenhouse Bistro in Vienna, Society Fair in Alexandria, Stone Manor Bed & Breakfast Inn in Lovettsville, Sugar Shack Donuts and Coffee (Alexandria), Trummer’s on Main in Clifton, West End Wine Bar & Pub in Purcellville, Wine Kitchen in Leesburg.
Lost Inhibitions has a white blend and a red, each marketed with a variety of labels that can be cheeky or profane. My bottle of the white asked, “Too Soon?” I tend to be leery of wines that rely too much on cute labeling, but this one charmed me. It’s a blend of chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, with a sploosh of muscat to give it a flowery aroma and a touch of sweetness. Drink this by itself or with spicy Asian dishes. ABV: 13.8 percent.
Distributed by Hop & Wine in the District and Virginia; DOPS in Maryland, except for Montgomery County, where it is distributed by Artisans & Vines: Available in the District at 1 West Dupont Circle Wines & Liquors, Broad Branch Market, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, DJ Liquors and Old Farm Liquors in Frederick, Downtown Crown Wine & Beer and Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Fenwick Beer & Wine and Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring, Montgomery County Liquor Stores (various locations), Old Town Market in Kensington, the Perfect Pour in Elkridge, Wine Works in Baltimore.
Burgundy, France, $19
This delicious chardonnay gives a taste of Burgundy, with rich apple, apricot and pear flavors and some toasty oak, rooted to an earthy minerality. The balance makes it exceptionally food-friendly as well. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Distributed by M. Touton: Available in the District at Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at the Breadery in Catonsville, Old Farm Liquors in Frederick, Rosewick Wine & Spirits in La Plata, Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington. Available in Virginia at Crystal City Wine Shop, Wine Outlet in Vienna.
Western Cape, South Africa, $8
Simple, straightforward and cheap. What else can we ask for in a wine for everyday drinking? ABV: 13.5 percent.
Distributed by M. Touton: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Mayfair Liquors, Rodman’s, U Mini Mart, Virginia Market. Available in Maryland at Columbia Fine Wine & Spirits; Dawson’s Market in Rockville; Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg; Hillandale Beer & Wine and Quench! Beer-Wine-Deli in Silver Spring; the Liquor Shoppe in Hampstead; Nick’s of Calvert in Prince Frederick; Nick’s of Clinton in Waldorf; Old Farm Liquors, Riverside Liquors, Village Mart Beer & Wine and Westridge Liquors in Frederick; Yes! Organic Market in Hyattsville. Available in Virginia at Reid Super-Save Market in Charlottesville, the Vineyard in McLean, Wine Outlet in Vienna .
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 Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a wine store to order through a distributor.