Exceptional   Excellent   Very Good

An Alsace Riesling to challenge your expectations, a delicious chenin blanc and a cabernet franc from the Loire, a juicy old-vine colombard from South Africa and an impressive bargain red from Portugal: These five wines will keep your palate energized through the dog days of summer.

Josmeyer, Le Dragon Riesling 2013

Alsace, France, $39

Josmeyer does not make conventional wines. They are distinctive, expressive of both the terroir and the winemaker's style, which is minimalist. Think earth more than fruit, as though the vineyard were trying to tell you its story. Alcohol by volume: 12 percent.

Distributed by Simon N Cellars: On the list in the District at Mirabelle and Proof. Available in Virginia at Unwined in Alexandria.


Chateau de Passavant 2015

Anjou, Loire Valley, France, $15

Chenin blancs are delightfully food-friendly wines, with flavors of ripe peaches and moderate acidity. This dry version is delicious. You could enjoy it by itself, but it really wants to dance with poultry or seafood. ABV: 12.5 percent.

Distributed by Dionysus: Available in the District at Mom's Organic Market, New York Liquors, Rodman's. Available in Maryland at Balducci's and Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Mom's Organic Market in Rockville, Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Balducci's (Alexandria, McLean), Mom's Organic Market (various locations), Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview).


Confidencial Reserva 2013

Lisboa, Portugal, $12

This is a stylish, juicy red with Bing cherry and sour plum flavors, a texture like the rough side of velvet, and elegant tannins. It's a red-meat wine. ABV: 13.5 percent.

Distributed by DMV: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Paul's of Chevy Chase, World Market, Yes! Organic Market (various locations). Available in Maryland at Colonial Liquors in La Plata; Dawson's Liquors in Severna Park; Dunkirk Wine & Spirits; Eastport Liquors and the Italian Market in Annapolis; Eddie's Liquors in Baltimore; Fishpaws Marketplace in Arnold; Hunt Valley Wine, Liquor & Beer in Cockeysville, Maple Lawn Wine & Spirits in Fulton; Nick's of Calvert in Prince Frederick; Nick's of Clinton in Waldorf; North Ridge Wine & Spirits and Petite Cellars in Ellicott City; Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits & Bistro in Beltsville; Port of Call Liquors in Solomons; Sunny's Fine Wines & Liquors in Eldersburg; Town Center Market in Riverdale Park; Wine World Beer & Spirits in Abingdon; Woodmore Wine and Spirits in Lanham; Yes! Organic Market in Hyattsville.

Henri Bourgeois Petit Bourgeois Cabernet Franc 2015

Loire Valley, France, $14

Cabernet franc from the Loire Valley often tastes of smoke and leather, a quality I call "Grandpop's library." This young charmer has a bit of that character, but it mostly features good, clean juicy fruit. Think of this for your Labor Day cookouts. ABV: 12.5 percent.

Distributed by M. Touton Selection: Available in the District at Cairo Wine & Liquor, Capital City Wine & Spirits, Eye Street Cellars, Harry's Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits, Open Door Market, Rodman's. Available in Maryland at Beers & Cheers Too and Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg; Dawson's Market in Rockville; Montgomery Gourmet Beer & Wine in Bethesda; Nick's of Clinton in Waldorf; Old Farm Liquors and Viniferous in Frederick; Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits & Bistro in Beltsville; Rosewick Wine & Spirits in La Plata; Wine Harvest (Gaithersburg, Potomac). Available in Virginia at Specials Wine Seller in Kilmarnock, the Wine Outlet in Vienna.

Simonnet-Febvre Chablis 2015

Burgundy, France, $19

Simonnet-Febvre is consistently a good value chablis. The 2015 vintage was warmer than usual, so this wine is ripe and full-bodied rather than lean and mineral. Enjoy it with roast poultry or pork dishes. ABV: 12.5 percent.

Distributed by M. Touton: Available in the District at Burka's Wine & Liquor, Cairo Wine & Liquor, Calvert Woodley, Capital City Wine & Spirits, Magruder's, Rodman's, S&R Liquors, Sherry's Fine Wine & Spirits. Available in Maryland at Bethesda Co-Op in Cabin John, the Bottle Shop in Potomac, Bradley Food & Beverage and Lance's Beer & Wine in Bethesda, California Wine & Spirits in California, Columbia Palace Wine & Spirits in Columbia, Crescent Beer & Wine and Rip's Wine and Spirit Shop in Bowie, Dunkirk Wine & Spirits, Edgewater Liquors and Olde Soloman's Wine & Spirits in Edgewater, Fulton Wine & Spirits, Greenbelt Co-op, Jason's Wine & Spirits and the Wine Bin in Ellicott City, Old Farm Liquors in Frederick, Patuxent Wine & Spirits in Lusby, Plaza Liquors in Pasadena, Potomac Beer & Wine in Rockville, Shawan Liquors in Cockeysville, Vintage Cellars in Clarksville.

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.

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