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5 wines just right for early autumn

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.

Dave McIntyre writes about wine weekly. He also blogs at View Archive

Here are five wines to help you cling to the vestiges of summer — or embrace the autumn.

Giacomo Fenocchio Roero Arneis 2012


Piemonte, Italy, $27

Exotic and compelling, a botanical garden in a glass, this outstanding wine made me want to turn down the lights, crank up an opera and have a good cry. All this from a white wine. Serve slightly chilled. Alcohol by volume: 13.5 percent.

Kysela: Available in the District at Fresh & Green’s, Magruder’s, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s. Available in Virginia at Kroger in North Chesterfield.

Browne Family Vineyards Red Blend 2010

★★1 / 2

Columbia Valley, Wash., $35

A stylish blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and syrah, it’s a lovely example of what Washington state can accomplish. I appreciate the light touch with the oak that allows the fruit to shine through. This wine can often be found at a lower price, making it an even better value. ABV: 13.6 percent.

Siema: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Cowgirl Creamery, DCanter; on the list at Charlie Palmer Steak. Available in Maryland at the Bottle Shop in Potomac, Fenwick Beer & Wine in Silver Spring, Pinky & Pepe’s Grape Escape in Gaithersburg; on the list at Ricciuti’s in Olney. Available in Virginia at Ashburn Wine Shop, Market Cellars in Richmond, Unwined (Belle View); on the list at Magnolia’s at the Mill in Purcellville.

San Pantaleo Prendas Vermentino 2012


Sardegna, Italy, $15

This rough-and-tumble white seemed a little ungainly at first, as though its fruit flavors were fighting with the herbs and salinity of Mediterranean breezes. But after about an hour — and over the next two evenings, actually — the parts began singing in harmony, and what a lovely tune it was. Nice by itself, this wine has stuffing enough to stand up to simple grilled fish or seafood pasta dishes. ABV: 13.5 percent.

Kysela: Available in the District at Fresh & Green’s, Magruder’s, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s. Available in Virginia at Tastings of Charlottesville.

Thomas Goss Shiraz 2011


McLaren Vale, Australia, $19

Textbook Aussie shiraz, inky in color and effusively ripe with blueberry and bramble and a touch of eucalyptus. ABV: 14.5 percent.

Constantine: Available in the District at Central Liquors, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, De Vinos, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. Available in Maryland at Allview Liquors, Jason’s Wine & Spirits, Pine Orchard Wine and Wine Bin in Ellicott City; Hops & Vines in Odenton; King’s Contrivance Liquor Shop in Columbia; Mays Chapel Wine & Spirit Shop in Timonium; Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits & Bistro in Beltsville; Perfect Pour in Elkridge; Wells Discount Liquors in Baltimore, the Winery in Chester.

Domaine de la Colline Chinon 2011


Loire Valley, France, $15

The Loire Valley is the spiritual home of cabernet franc. This wine shows the white pepper and black cherry flavors typical of the grape, in a light style that goes down easily without grandstanding for your attention. It’s a “bistro” wine, an ideal partner for simple foods. ABV: 13.5 percent.

M Touton Selection: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Logan Circle Liquor, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. Available in Maryland at Adega Wine Cellars in Silver Spring; Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits in Annapolis; Franklin’s Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville; Frederick Wine House and Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; Rodman’s in White Flint. On the list at Peacock Restaurant in Easton. Available in Virginia at the Vineyard in McLean, various Wegmans locations.

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