Columnist, Food

★ ★ ★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 to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

Here are some delicious wines to fuel your experiments with different wineglasses.

Domaine Sainte Cécile du Parc Notes Franches 2010

★ ★ ★

Languedoc, France, $16

The Languedoc region has become France’s wine laboratory, and this beautiful wine shows what can be achieved with modern vineyard techniques (such as dense spacing) and organic farming on ancient soils (the land has been growing grapes for more than a century). The blend is cabernet franc with some merlot, a Bordeaux mix unusual for this part of France. The wine is dense and heady, with savory herbs and dark berries and grippy tannins that seem to come from deep within the earth. Alcohol by volume: 14.5 percent. Available in the District at DCanter; available online from 

Calmel & Joseph Vieux Carignan 2011

★ ★ 1 / 2

Languedoc, France, $19

Old vines lend spice and heft to this carignan, a traditional grape of southern France. It bursts with flavors of cranberry, white pepper and earth. And it hails from a new appellation, Vin de Pays Côtes du Brian, for anyone of that name looking for a house wine. ABV: 14.5 percent.

Margaux: Available in the District at Cork & Fork, Wide World of Wines. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington; Clifton Wine Shop; Grape + Bean and Unwined in Alexandria; In Vino Veritas in Keswick; Market Street Wineshop, Wine Warehouse and Wine Made Simple in Charlottesville; Libbie Market and Once Upon a Vine in Richmond; Vintage Wines in Harrisonburg; Wine Cabinet in Reston.

Botani Moscatel Seco 2011

★ ★

Sierras de Málaga, Spain, $19

Fans of moscato should enjoy this delicious dry wine made with the same grape; it shows the appealing floral fruitiness without the sugar. Moscato haters should enjoy it, too, for the same reason. ABV: 13.5 percent.

Country Vintner: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Cordial Fine Wine & Spirits,  Rodman’s; on the list at Estadio, Jaleo. Available in Maryland at Balducci’s (Bethesda), Pine Orchard Wine in Ellicott City. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean), Total Wine & More (McLean); on the list at Tuscarora Mill in Leesburg. 

J. Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay 2012

1 / 2

Arroyo Seco, Monterey, Calif., $15

The full retail price is $15, but this widely available wine is often on sale for under $10. That makes it a terrific value, especially if you like a full-bodied, oaky style of chardonnay. (And it’s even better if you have a Riedel Montrachet glass to enjoy it in.) ABV: 13.5 percent.

RNDC: Widely available.

Castaño Monastrell 2011

1 / 2

Yecla, Spain, $11

A hearty, spicy red, it’s ideal for casual meals of burgers, pizza or sausages.

ABV: 14 percent.

Country Vintner: Available in the District at D'Vines, De Vinos, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Choice Wine & Beer in Wheaton, Roundabout Fine Wine & Spirits and Total Wine & More in Laurel, Village Beer & Fine Wine in Rockville. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean), Total Wine & More (all locations), Wegmans (Fairfax, Woodbridge).