Exceptional Excellent Very Good
This week I’m in an Italian mood, enjoying these two vermentinos with appetizers and light seafood dishes, and a rare grignolino with pasta in red sauce or pizza. Two French wines round out the lineup: a delightful pinot noir rosé and a rich Côtes-du-Rhône.
This lovely white wine offers a laser beam of red-fruit flavors — currant, raspberry — and fine focus that glides to a satisfying finish. Alcohol by volume: 12.5 percent.
Distributed by Lanterna: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, MacArthur Beverages, Rodman’s; on the list at Dino’s Grotto, Floriana, Graffiato, Lupo Verde, Marvin’s, RPM Italian. Available in Maryland at Dawson’s Market in Rockville, Iron Bridge Wine Co. in Columbia, Wine Cellars of Annapolis; on the list at Cinghiale in Baltimore.
Sardinia, Italy, $20
It lies on the fleshier side of vermentino, with flavors leaning more toward ripe tree fruits such as peach and apricot. The long finish might convince you that vermentino is a world-class wine worth paying attention to. Delicious. ABV: 13 percent.
Distributed by Lanterna: Available in the District at Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Wine Cellars of Annapolis; on the list at Cosima in Baltimore.
Côtes-du-Rhône, France, $18
A rich, cherry-accented red, this perennial value is delicious with burgers or steaks off the grill. ABV: 14.5 percent.
Distributed by Dionysus: Available in the District at MacArthur Beverages, Rodman’s, Whole Foods Market (Foggy Bottom, P Street, Tenleytown). Available in Maryland at Balducci’s and Bradley Food and Beverage in Bethesda, Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean), Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), Whole Foods Market (Alexandria, Arlington, Fair Lakes, Vienna).
Burgundy, France, $14
Pale pink and delightful, this rosé offers bright strawberry and red currant flavors. As the holidays approach, think of this beauty with Thanksgiving dinner. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Distributed by Country Vintner: On the list in the District at Cafe Bonaparte, the Dabney, Doi Moi. Available in Maryland at Cranbrook Liquors in Cockeysville, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at the Orlean Store in Marshall; on the list at City Kitchen, Gregorio’s Trattoria, Hank’s Oyster Bar, Ramparts, Shooter McGee’s, T.J. Stone’s in Alexandria, Magnolia’s at the Mill in Purcellville.
Ever traveled to Italy and wondered why the local wine tasted so much better than what you’ve had back home? That may have been a grignolino, a red grape that makes a light, eminently food-friendly wine. The common wisdom is that such wines don’t travel well, but this one does. It offers flavors of dark cherry and forest leaves. It’s a nice match for simple weeknight dinners. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Distributed by M. Touton: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits. Available in Maryland at Old Farm Liquors and Viniferous in Frederick, Wishing Well Liquors in Easton. Available in Virginia at the Italian Store in Arlington (both locations), the Vineyard in McLean.
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.