Exceptional Excellent Very Good
You might not want to stick these wines in your cellar, because they are so good to drink right now. Here’s a fine example of the 2015 vintage in Bordeaux, another delicious wine from Eastern Europe, and a bargain red from Portugal. For whites, we have a minerally pinot gris from Oregon and a zesty grüner veltliner from Austria.
Bordeaux, France, $16
Here’s an early example of the exceptional 2015 vintage from Bordeaux. This blend of 70 percent merlot and 30 percent cabernet franc is rich and ripe with cherry, plum and blackberry fruit — and a lush texture to carry all that fruit. Classy. Alcohol by volume: 13.5 percent.
Distributed by M. Touton Selection: Available in the District at Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Press Liquors, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits in Annapolis, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg, Grosvenor Market and Rollins Beer-Wine-Deli in Rockville, Hillandale Beer & Wine and Veridian Market & Wine in Silver Spring, Montgomery Gourmet Beer & Wine in Bethesda, Old Farm Liquors and Plus Mart in Frederick, Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington. Available in Virginia at Chain Bridge Cellars and the Vineyard in McLean.
Thracian Valley, Bulgaria, $20
This is another example of a wine from an emerging region that relies on local grapes bolstered with international varieties. The result is a delicious blend at once familiar and intriguing, with a deep ruby color, meaty aromas, and pepper and black-fruit flavors. The wood tannins are noticeable at first, but less so the next day, so give this wine some air to let it loosen up. ABV: 14.8 percent.
Distributed by Siema: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits. Available in Maryland at Cranberry Liquors in Westminster, Iron Bridge Wine Co. in Columbia, Sunny’s Fine Wines & Liquors in Eldersburg, Wine Harvest (Potomac), the Winery in Chester. Available in Virginia at Little Washington Winery Tasting Room in Washington, Tides Inn Market in Colonial Beach.
Willamette Valley, Ore., $25
The vintner specializes in Germanic-style wines; this pinot gris could be Alsatian in style, except it’s dryer. No matter: It’s delicious, with pear and apple fruit and an electric minerality. New World freshness meets Old World sensibility. Who can argue? ABV:11.7 percent.
Distributed by Hop and Wine: Available in the District at Hop, Cask & Barrel; on the list at Pearl Dive Oyster Bar, Rasika (Penn Quarter). Available in Virginia at Altura Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, the Vineyard in McLean.
Tejo, Portugal, $10
This delightful little red is 70 percent Castelão, a Portuguese grape variety, bolstered by a backbone of cabernet sauvignon. Buy a bunch and enjoy it with casual weeknight dinners. And maybe you can impress your wino friends on the weekend: Just show them the label after they have raved about the wine. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Distributed by DMV: Available in the District at Paul’s of Chevy Chase. Available in Maryland at Colonial Liquors in La Plata; Dunkirk Wine & Spirits in Dunkirk; Eastport Liquors and Italian Market in Annapolis; Hair o’ the Dog in Easton; Highland Wine & Spirits in Highland; Old Farm Liquors and Spin the Bottle Wine Co. in Frederick; Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits & Bistro in Beltsville; Town Center Market in Riverdale; the Wine Bin in Ellicott City, the Winery in Chester.
Weinviertel, Austria, $15
The Weinviertel in northeastern Austria is known for the country’s bulk wine, which means there’s plenty of opportunity for talented winemakers to excel. This wine zings with lemon and lime flavors and maybe a hint of ginger to give it an exotic electricity. I wanted to pair it with seafood, but I drank it all before dinner was ready. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Distributed by Hop and Wine: Available in the District at Union Kitchen Grocery; on the list at DGS Delicatessen and Sauf Haus Bier Hall & Garten. Available in Virginia at Altura Wine & Gourmet and Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria; on the list at DGS Delicatessen in Fairfax, Vermillion in Alexandria.
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 wine store to order through a distributor.