★ ★ ★Exceptional ★ ★Excellent ★Very Good
Availability information is based on distributor records. Wines might not be in stock at every listed store and might be available at additional stores. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.
These are wines for your springtime enjoyment, as you fire up the grill and enjoy the patio. They include some of the exceptional 2013 vintage of rosés from southern France and Italy.
★ ★ ★
Aix en Provence, France, $13
This pale rosé is deceptively seductive, pleasant at first but increasingly charming with vibrant raspberry and cantaloupe flavors as the wine develops. That is, unless you drink it so fast it doesn’t have a chance to develop. Alcohol by volume: 13 percent.
Oslo Enterprise: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Calvert Woodley, Chat’s Liquors, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Cordial Fine Wine & Spirits, Cork & Fork, Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits, MacArthur Beverages, Modern Liquors, Rodman’s, Smucker Farms. Available in Maryland at 13.5 Percent Wine Bar, Eddie’s of Roland Park, Spirits of Mount Vernon, Wells Discount Liquors, Wine Market, Wine Source and Wine Works in Baltimore; Hair o’ the Dog and Wishing Well Liquors in Easton; Mays Chapel Wine & Spirit Shop in Timonium; Wine Bin in Ellicott City.
★ ★ ★
Isola dei Nuraghi, Italy, $15
This zesty, deep-colored rosé hails from Sardinia and is made from cannonau, the southern Italian name for grenache. Irresistible by itself, it is an ideal lunchtime wine on the patio. ABV: 13.5 percent.
★ ★ ★
Provence, France, $17
With strawberries, watermelon, perhaps a hint of raspberry and mint, this wine works the synapses to conjure a Mediterranean sojourn. When I raved about this wine two vintages ago, the distributor said he had trouble selling it because “it is too dry.” Times are changing. ABV: 12.5 percent.
M Touton Selection: Available in the District at Cork & Fork, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Old Farm Liquors in Frederick, Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington, Town & Country Wine Liquor Etc. in Easton. Available in Virginia at the Vineyard in McLean.
Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, $23
Chateau Musar has a cult following for its well-aged, old-style wines, so I was intrigued to see this new label of moderately priced, younger wines in red and white blends. The red, a blend of cinsault, syrah and cabernet sauvignon, is by far the superior wine: elegant and rich, ripe in a modern way yet showing some Old World restraint. This should pair with any red meat dish and age well for the next several years. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Country Vintner: Available in the District at Cairo Wine & Liquor, Potomac Wine & Spirits; on the list at Lebanese Taverna, Zaytinya. Available in Maryland at Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits & Bistro in Beltsville; Roots Market in Olney; Wine Source in Baltimore; on the list at Lebanese Taverna in Baltimore and Bethesda. Available in Virginia at Swirl & Sip in Fairfax; on the list at Lebanese Taverna (Pentagon City, Tysons Corner), Me Jana in Arlington.
Campo de Borja, Spain, $9
Campo de Borja has produced an impressive number of good-quality, high-value wines based on garnacha, the Spanish name for grenache. This one blends in 15 percent syrah to tame the juiciness and give the wine minerality and heft. Stock up on this and put some burgers and sausages on the grill. ABV:14 percent.
Winebow: Available in the District at Bacchus Wine Cellar, Batch 13, Best D.C. Supermarket, Capitol Supermarket, Harris Teeter (various locations), P&C Market, Safeway (various locations), Sunset Liquors; on the list at BlackSalt.