Exceptional Excellent Very Good
This week we have the Stalker, an innovative pinot noir from Oregon; plus two Oregon rosés; a zesty albariño from Spain and a solid, inexpensive chardonnay from France.
★ ★ ★
Willamette Valley, Ore., $50
Winemaker Rollin Soles has crafted an innovative take on whole-cluster fermentation of pinot noir: He removes the grapes from their stems, but instead of throwing the stems, or stalks, on the compost heap, he dries them for seven to 10 days while the chilled grapes go through a “cold soak.” Once fermentation begins, Soles adds the dried stems back into the wine. He says this technique adds some tannin but mostly a voluptuous texture to the wine, without excessive woodsy “stemmy” flavors or aromas. Compared to his delicious Roco Pinot Noir made without the added stems, this wine has a fuller body (more mouthfeel) and a silky texture that complements the fruit. It also shows well several days after opening, suggesting it will age well in your cellar. Alcohol by volume: 14 percent.
Distributed by M. Touton Selection: Available in the District at Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, on the list at the Grill Room. Available in Maryland at Cork 57 Beer and Wine in Bethesda; New Town Wine & Spirits in Owings Mills; Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; Wine Harvest in Potomac.
★ 1 / 2
Willamette Valley, Ore., $22
Vibrant and juicy with strawberry, watermelon and hibiscus flavors, this delightful rosé captures the lovely fruit of pinot noir with an American ebullience and ripeness. ABV: 13.2 percent.
Distributed by M. Touton Selection: Available in the District at the Wine Specialist, Whole Foods Markets (various locations). Available in Maryland at Bay Wine & Spirits in North Beach, Bob’s Sunoco-the Beer Cave in Callaway; Fishpaws Marketplace in Arnold; Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; Rosewick Wine & Spirits in La Plata; Wine Harvest in Potomac.
Rias Baixas, Spain, $16
Think citrus — lime and orange zest — with peach and apricot flavors. This is delicious by itself, but deserves food: sushi, perhaps, or a seafood salad; even grilled calamari or salmon. ABV: 12.5 percent
Distributed by Dionysus: Available in the District at A. Litteri, the Mediterranean Way Gourmet Market, Modern Liquors, Rodman’s; on the list at Cuba Libre, Sei. Available in Maryland at Balducci’s, Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda; on the list at Tavira in Chevy Chase. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria), Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean, Grand Cru in Arlington, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview).
Made primarily from sangiovese, this juicy, full-throated rosé says, “Summer? Bring it on!” ABV: 13 percent.
Distributed by Country Vintner: Available in the District at Kogod Liquor, Magruder’s, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Whole Foods Market (P Street); on the list at Hank’s Oyster Bar (Capitol Hill). Available in Maryland at Balducci’s in Bethesda, Diamond Square Beer & Wine in Gaithersburg. Available in Virginia at Grand Cru in Arlington, Unwined (Alexandria).
★ 1 / 2
Vin de France, $12
This is solid, delicious chardonnay, suitable for casual everyday drinking or for parties. Don’t look for oak flavors, just good clean fruit. ABV: 13 percent.
Distributed by Kysela: Available in the District at Magruder’s. Available in Maryland at Antietam Spirits in Boonsboro; Aria Beer Wine & Deli, Georgetown Square Wine and Beer, Talbert’s Ice & Beverage Service in Bethesda; Bethesda Co-op in Cabin John; Beers & Cheers in Germantown; the Bottle Shop in Potomac; Finewine.com in Gaithersburg; Franklin Liquors in Ijamsville; Grosvenor Market in Rockville; the Liquor Barn in Taneytown; Old Town Market in Kensington; Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring.
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.