Exceptional Excellent Very Good
It may seem like winter will never relax its grip, but like robins as harbingers of spring, the 2018 rosés are landing on our retail shelves. This week’s greatest value is an inexpensive charmer from Portugal, ideal for a grazing weekend lunch as we gaze upon the bright sunshine outside and check the wind chill on our weather apps.
We also have two exceptional whites from Oregon, a pinot gris and a pinot blanc, and two delicious reds from the Cotes du Rhone in France.
Setúbal, Portugal, $11
The new crop of 2018 rosés is beginning to arrive, including this inexpensive charmer from Portugal. Its bright color and cheerful, summery fruit flavors (strawberry, watermelon) will have you thinking of warmer weather in no time. Alcohol by volume: 12.5 percent.
Imported by Tri-Vin, distributed by DMV: Available in the District at Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s, Sherry’s Wine & Spirits, Yes! Organic Market (12th Street). Available in Maryland at C&R Liquors in Hagerstown, Dawson’s Market and Pour Vino N’ Hops in Rockville, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer and Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Dulaney Wines & Spirits in Towson, 5 O’Clock Wines & Spirits and Foundry Row Wine & Spirits in Owings Mills, Frederick Wine House in Frederick, Friendship Wine & Liquor in Abingdon, Georgetown Square Wine and Beer in Bethesda, Hop N Cru in Germantown, Lewes Market Liquor & Wine in Chestertown, Mays Chapel Wine & Spirit Shop in Timonium, Pinky’s West Street Liquors in Annapolis, Rip’s Wine and Spirit Shop in Bowie, Smitty’s Fine Wine & Spirits in Fallston, Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-op in Takoma Park, Total Discount Liquors in Eldersburg, Town & Country Liquor Etc. in Easton, Vineyards Elite in Pikesville, Ye Olde Package Goods in Sykesville.
Willamette Valley, Ore., $18
Oregon pinot gris has always distinguished itself from the racy, refreshing (yet often boring) pinot grigios of Italy and the plush, richer style of pinot gris from Alsace. And Ponzi has consistently been one of my favorite Oregon pinot gris producers. The 2017 is gorgeous, a symbiotic combination of fruit, weight and agility on the palate. Fans of pairing Oregon’s pinot noir with salmon should twist open a bottle of this as well next time. There are certainly worse ways to spend an evening. ABV: 13.1 percent.
Distributed by M. Touton Selection: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits, Eye Street Cellars, Rodman’s, the Wine Outlet. Available in Maryland at Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits, Giolitti Delicatessen and Scott Brothers Wine & Spirits in Annapolis, Bradley Food & Beverage and Lance’s Beer & Wine in Bethesda, Chesapeake Market & Deli in North Beach, Crescent Beer & Wine in Bowie, Frederick Wine House and Old Farm Liquors in Frederick, Goska’s Liquors in Severna Park, Hop N Grape in North Bethesda, Hunt Valley Wine, Liquor & Beer in Cockeysville, Jason’s Wine & Spirits in Ellicott City, Landover Liquor in Cheverly, Montgomery County Wine & Liquor Stores (Darnestown, Potomac), Mt. Airy Liquors in Mt. Airy, Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington, Waugh Chapel Wine & Spirits in Gambrills, Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Department of Beer and Wine in Alexandria, Grand Cru in Arlington, Norm’s Beer & Wine in Vienna, the Wine Outlet (Great Falls), Wegmans (various locations); on the list at Bistro Sancerre in Alexandria.
McMinnville, Ore., $20
While pinot gris is better known among white wines in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Maysara makes a good case for pinot blanc with this exceptional bottling. Fermented totally in stainless steel, its racy fruit flavors seem to be channeled directly from an orchard. Certified biodynamic. ABV: 12 percent.
Distributed by Kysela: Available in Virginia at Screwtop Wine Bar & Cheese Shop in Arlington, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview); on the list at Clarity in Vienna, Mussel Bar & Grille and Northside Social in Arlington, Tuscarora Mill in Leesburg.
Rhone Valley, France, $16
This lovely Rhone Valley red shows the flavors of wild herbs and mountain air that wine lovers have come to call “garrigue.” It gets better a few hours or even a day after opening, suggesting the wine will improve for a year or three in bottle. Enjoy this beauty with braised or grilled meats. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Imported and distributed by Simon N Cellars: Available in Virginia at Leesburg Vintner in Leesburg, Tastings of Charlottesville and Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview); on the list at Renewal in Charlottesville.
Rhone Valley, $18
Guigal is one of the premier producers in the northern Rhone Valley, and the entry-level Cotes du Rhone anchors an exceptional lineup that includes Crozes-Hermitage and Cote Rotie, among other appellations. The winery also makes enough for it to be widely available. ABV: 14 percent.
Imported by Vintus, distributed by M. Touton Selection: Widely available in the District, Maryland and Virginia.
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.