Exceptional Excellent Very Good
Every now and then, I taste a wine I don’t want to share. I’d rather keep it all to myself, to enjoy over several years in my selfish solitude. This is such a week: I’d be happy hoarding this Left Foot Charley Pinot Blanc, or perhaps, when more budget-minded, I’d stick with the Curator from one of my favorite South African producers. But it’s more fun to tell everyone about these gorgeous wines.
Swartland, South Africa, $11
I have not made a secret of my love for the wines of Adi Badenhorst, especially his Secateurs chenin blanc, which I have reviewed here for several vintages and regard as a perennial “great value” at about $15. When I tasted the Curator, a blend of chenin blanc, chardonnay and Viognier, I thought it was a more expensive wine in Badenhorst’s line, but no, it is priced even lower. It floored me with its quality for the price, racy acidity, medium body, pure fruit unencumbered by oak. This is a “patio pounder,” a “table pounder,” whatever cliche you want to use for an exciting, inexpensive wine. Some stores may still have the 2016, which is also delicious, though the freshness of the 2017 adds extra excitement. The Curator red blend is also delicious and a great value, though the white has an edge IMHO. Run. Don’t Walk. Stock up. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Imported by Broadbent Selections, distributed by Country Vintner: Available in the District at 1 West Dupont Circle Wine & Liquors, Grape Intentions, Manhattan Market, Pearson’s, Rodman’s; on the list at Millie’s Spring Valley. Available in Maryland at Beers & Cheers Too and Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg, the Bottle Shop in Potomac, Georgetown Square Wine and Beer in Bethesda, Ludlow Market, Bar & Bottle Shop and Wells Discount Liquors in Baltimore, Old Town Market in Kensington, Rodman’s in White Flint; on the list at Gertrude’s in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Cheesetique in Shirlington, on the list at Northside Social (Arlington, Falls Church), WK Hearth in Purcellville.
Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan, $22
Left Foot Charley is a winery with a Midas touch. This 2017 pinot blanc is thrilling with its racy acidity and bright fruit flavors. Enjoy it by itself or with appetizers and lighter seafood dishes. And revel in a great American wine from an up-and-coming wine region you don’t often have a chance to experience. Alcohol by volume: 12 percent.
Distributed by Siema: Available in the District at Glen’s Garden Market, Wagshal’s (Massachusetts Avenue, New Mexico Avenue); on the list at Charlie Palmer Steak, City Winery, Gravitas, Hazel, Momofuku CCDC, Requin, Vinoteca. Available in Maryland at Cranberry Liquors in Westminster, Old Farm Liquors in Frederick, Wishing Well Liquors in Easton; on the list at Chez Hugo in Baltimore, Dan’s Restaurant and Tap House in Boonsboro, One Eleven Main in Bel Air. Available in Virginia at Department of Beer and Wine in Alexandria, DeVine in Wintergreen, Foods of All Nations in Charlottesville, Great Bottles in Suffolk, In Vino Veritas in Keswick, Little Washington Winery in Washington, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), the Wine Outlet (Great Falls, McLean, Vienna); on the list at Columbia Firehouse in Alexandria, Girasole in The Plains.
Cotes du Rhone, $18
From one of the first Rhone producers to adopt biodynamic viticulture, this lovely, lively red is an ideal partner for grilled or stewed meats. It offers scents of wild herbs and black fruits — and a sense of adventure. ABV: 13.8 percent.
Imported and distributed by Simon N Cellars: Available in the District at MacArthur Beverages. Available in Maryland at Wine Cellars of Annapolis. Available in Virginia at Leesburg Vintner in Leesburg, Tastings of Charlottesville and Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview).
This is a delightful, savory red wine that shows hints of earth and dust, suggesting the warmth from the sun on a late summer’s day, with some fresh local fruit on hand. ABV: 13 percent.
Imported and distributed by Georgian Wine House: Available in the District at Batch 13, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Magruder’s, Potomac Wine & Spirits, Whole Foods Market (P Street), Yes! Organic Market (12th Street); on the list at Supra. Available in Maryland at Annebeth’s in Annapolis, Remington Wine Company in Baltimore.
A few months ago, I raved about the Lustig Gruner Veltliner. This companion rosé is also delicious, with flavors of strawberry and melon, with a hint of herbs. Enjoy this with your late-summer cookouts on the patio. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Imported by Artisans & Vines; distributed in the District by Hop and Wine, in Maryland by Cape Starz, in Montgomery County by Artisans & Vines: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Rodman’s, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer and Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Fenwick Beer & Wine in Silver Spring, Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville, Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-op in Takoma Park; on the list at Seoul Food D.C. in Takoma Park.
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.