Recommendations

★ ★ ★Exceptional  ★ ★Excellent ★Very Good

Availability information is based on distributor records. Wines might not be in stock at every listed store and might be found at additional stores. Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

These wines offer a sample of the quality that South Africa is producing today. Other labels to look for include Mulderbosch, for reds and a fine rosé, and Badenhorst and Ken Forrester, for chenin blanc.

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Nico van der Merwe Cape Elements 2010

★ ★ ★

Stellenbosch, South Africa, $18

Nico van der Merwe learned his craft in Languedoc, in southern France, and he translates that experience into this delightful blend of shiraz (syrah), cinsault and grenache, traditional varieties of wine regions along France’s Mediterranean coast. The wine is supple and ripe, with an elegant, lengthy finish. Alcohol by volume: 13.5 percent.

Boutique Wines: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Magruder’s. Available in Maryland at Bin 201 Wine Sellers in Annapolis, Bin 604 Wine Sellers in Baltimore; on the list at Boathouse in Baltimore, Tsunami in Annapolis. Available in Virginia at Ashburn Wine Shop, Wine Cabinet in Reston.

De Wetshof Bon Vallon Chardonnay 2013

★ ★ ★

Robertson Valley, South Africa, $20

De Wetshof has been a pioneer with chardonnay in South Africa since the 1970s. The De Wetshof Limestone Hill Chardonnay ($16) is excellent. The Bon Vallon comes from a small parcel of the estate vineyard and offers extra intensity with a stony, mineral character; think Chablis with a New World sensibility. There is also a Lesca Chardonnay ($22) that shows some oak influence with a nod toward citrus and chalk. ABV: 13.5 percent.

Country Vintner: Available in the District at Magruder’s, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Franklin’s Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville; Wine Source in Baltimore.

Cape Point Vineyards Stonehaven Sauvignon Blanc 2013

★ ★

Western Cape, South Africa, $14

Duncan Savage produces three delicious sauvignon blancs at Cape Point Vineyards. The Stonehaven is racy and crisp, while the Cape Point Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc ($25) packs more intensity. Cape Point Vineyards Isliedh ($70) is a sauvignon-semillon blend fermented and aged in concrete vats and amphorae. In 2012 he launched his own label, Savage, with a white blend of sauvignon and semillon and a red blend based on syrah; both are exceptional at $50. ABV: 13 percent.

Country Vintner: Available in the District at Cairo Wine & Liquor, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, P&C Market, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Iron Bridge Wine Co. in Columbia. Available in Virginia at Swirl & Sip in Fairfax.

Remhoogte Chenin Blanc 2013

★ ★

Simonsberg, South Africa, $14

The estate was founded in 1994 but uses vineyards much older to produce this crisp chenin with apple and pear flavors. Unlike chenins from the Loire Valley in France, which can be either off-dry or dry, South Africa’s chenins typically are crisp and dry. ABV: 14 percent.

The Spanish Wine Importer: Available in the District at Ace Beverage. Available in Virginia at Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Swirl & Sip in Fairfax, Vienna Vintner, Vino Market in Midlothian; on the list at Clyde’s in Reston, Columbia Firehouse in Alexandria, the Shebeen in Charlottesville.

Rupert & Rothschild Classique 2011

★ ★

Western Cape, South Africa, $17

Rupert was a South African entrepreneur, while the Rothschild half of this joint venture is related to the family that owns Bordeaux first-growth Chateau Lafite. The Classique is a blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, pinotage and petit verdot. Pair it with hearty red-meat dishes. ABV: 13 percent.

M Touton: Available in the District at AB Liquors, Cairo Wine & Liquor, Calvert Woodley, Capitol Hill Wine and Spirits, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Irving Wine & Spirits, MacArthur Beverages, Riverside Liquors, Rodman’s, U Street Mini Mart. Available in Maryland at Bethesda Co-Op in Cabin John, the Bottle Shop in Potomac, Castle’s Liquors in Mount Airy, Franklin’s Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville, Old Farm Liquors and Spin the Bottle Wine Co. in Frederick, Veridian Market & Wine in Silver Spring. Available in the Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean), the Vineyard in McLean.