★ ★ ★Exceptional ★ ★Excellent ★Very Good
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.
The Santa Barbara County, Calif., wines by Virginia-based Paradise Springs Winery have just been released and will soon be available to stores and restaurants through Siema distributors. They also can be ordered from the winery for shipment directly from California. Paradise Spring’s Virginia wines are in limited distribution and are available at the winery in Clifton. This week’s recommendations also include a stunning but exclusive sauvignon blanc from South Africa, a subtle godello from Spain, a delightful Australian shiraz and a fun Beaujolais.
★ ★ ★
Cape Peninsula, South Africa, $65
This stunning wine is expensive but worth seeking out if you love the minerally sauvignon blancs of the Loire Valley. Stones and chalk dominate the impression, but there’s good red-currant and stone fruit here. Most of all, this wine has an intensity evocative of searing sunlight on a hot summer’s day. Alcohol by volume: 14 percent.
Country Vintner: Available in the District at Cairo Wine & Liquor; Hop, Cask & Barrel; P&C Market; Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits; on the list at Proof. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington.
Beaujolais, France, $23
Beaujolais is a consistently underrated wine, and the “crus” such as Régnié provide exceptional value. These are not blockbusters: They seduce with subtle charm. They don’t demand your attention; they win it. This lovely wine offers dried-cherry flavors with some earth and mushrooms, as if the vines had somehow tapped into the Earth’s secret store of umami. ABV: 13 percent.
Wine Traditions: Available in the District at Arrowine and Spirits, Central Liquors, MacArthur Beverages; on the list at Buck’s Fishing & Camping, Tabard Inn. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Altura Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Vienna Vintner, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview).
Happy Canyon, Santa Barbara County, Calif., $37
Happy Canyon is on the eastern — and therefore warmer — end of the Santa Ynez Valley, where the cooling ocean fogs that caress the pinot noir vines in the Santa Rita Hills, closer to the coast, fade against the inland foothills. This sauvignon blanc features lovely, fleshy grapefruit and passion-fruit flavors and a bracing acidity that will give it life and make it food-friendly. This is new in the market but should appear on area retail shelves soon. There is also a nice pinot noir from the Sta. Rita Hills viticulture area. Paradise Springs’ Virginia wines generally are stronger in quality, especially the 2013 cabernet sauvignon, 2013 chardonnay and 2013 Norton. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Siema: This wine is just hitting the market, so it does not have strong placements yet. Paradise Springs wines may be found in the District at Arrowine and Spirits, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits; in Maryland at Pinky & Pepe’s Grape Escape in Gaithersburg; and in Virginia at Clifton Wine Shop, Grateful Red Wine & Gift Shop in Arlington, Little Washington Winery Tasting Room in Washington, Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, the Tasting Room Wine Bar & Shop (Reston).
Victoria, Australia, $16
Country Vintner: Available in the District at Arrowine and Spirits, Calvert Woodley, Cordial Fine Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s, Whole Foods Market (P Street, Tenleytown). Available in Maryland at Downtown Crown Wine and Beer and Finewine.com in Gaithersburg; Rodman’s (Wheaton, White Flint). Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Dominion Wine and Beer in Falls Church, Wine Cabinet in Reston, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview).
Monterrei, Spain, $18
This wine sneaked up on me. At first I thought it was just okay. But with each additional sip, the wine revealed a new nuance. Peach. A hint of roses. Talc. Mystery — as in, why isn’t this more widely available? ABV: 13 percent.
Kysela: Available in the District at Magruder’s; on the list at Beuchert’s Saloon. Available in Maryland at Wells Discount Liquors in Baltimore.