★ ★ ★Exceptional ★ ★Excellent ★Very Good
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 favorite wine store to order through a distributor.
For your mid-August sipping, here are an intriguing, crisp Spanish white wine, a juicy Italian red to pair with grilled meats, and two Loire Valley sauvignon blancs to compare: one from the prestigious appellation of Sancerre and a less expensive version from elsewhere.
★ ★ 1 / 2
Empordà, Spain, $14
Crisp and dry, with hints of lemon grass and sea air, this is an excellent white for salty nibbles such as olives or nuts, as well as for dried fruits and garlicky dips. It’s a blend of white grenache, macabeu and rosé grenache. Alcohol by volume: 13.5 percent.
The Spanish Wine Importers: Available in Virginia at Curious Grape and Twisted Vines Bottleshop in Arlington, Market Street Wineshop in Charlottesville, Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Swirl & Sip in Fairfax, the Vineyard in McLean, Vino Market in Midlothian, Wine Outlet in Vienna; on the list at Tuscarora Mill in Leesburg.
★ ★ 1 / 2
Puglia, Italy, $14
This hearty red from southern Italy is 50 percent primitivo, the same grape as zinfandel, with 30 percent negroamaro and 20 percent cabernet sauvignon to give it worldly flair. Made by the Tommasi wine family of northern Italy. Think of this for your late-summer cookouts. ABV: 13 percent.
M Touton in the District and Maryland; Dionysus in Virginia: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor. Available in Maryland at Fishpaws Marketplace in Arnold; Goska's Liquors in Severna Park; Highland Wine & Spirits, Mastellone Deli & Wine Shop and Wine Source in Baltimore; Mt. Airy Liquors, Old Farm Liquors and Orion Wine & Spirits in Frederick; Perfect Pour in Elkridge; Rip’s Wine and Spirit Shop in Bowie; Wine Cellars of Annapolis; Wishing Well Liquors in Easton. On the list at O’Leary’s in Annapolis.
★ ★ 1 / 2
Loire Valley, France, $22
A polished white, it has bright sauvignon blanc flavors of gooseberry and red currant with a hint of citrus. ABV: 13 percent.
Dionysus: Available in the District at Arrowine and Spirits, Wagshal's Deli, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Balducci's, Bradley Food and Beverage, and Cork & Fork in Bethesda; Wine Cellars of Annapolis. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Balducci's (Alexandria, McLean), Town Duck in Warrenton, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), Vienna Vintner; on the list at the French Hound in Middleburg.
Loire Valley, France, $13
This is a “baby Sancerre”: sauvignon blanc grown outside the boundaries of that prestigious, more expensive appellation. It offers stony, earthy flavors of flint and minerals, as well as kumquats and perhaps overripe peaches. It has rough edges, yet is tasty and thought-provoking. ABV: 12 percent.
M Touton: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Tenley Wine & Liquor. Available in Maryland at Old Farm Liquors in Frederick, Rosewick Wine & Spirits in La Plata, Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington, Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean.