Exceptional   Excellent   Very Good

by Dave McIntyre


From left: Collusion Red Wine 2016, Finca La Mata 2016, Domaine de Moulines Les Cigales 2018, Coppo Costebianche Chardonnay 2017, Alain Jaume Réserve Grand Veneur Rosé 2018 (Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post)

There is collusion in Washington! I have the proof: Collusion Red Wine from Washington state’s Columbia Valley. Unfortunately, local retailers haven’t cottoned on to it, but the wine, like the truth, is out there.

Our greatest value of the week is a charming rosé from southern France, the Domaine de Moulines Les Cigales 2018. But don’t pass up the chance to try the outstanding Réserve Grand Veneur from Alain Jaume, worth splurging on a few bottles.

— Dave McIntyre

GREAT VALUE
Domaine de Moulines Les Cigales 2018

Pays d'Herault, France, $10

Here’s a delightful, inexpensive rosé, featuring flavors of melon and berries, with a hint of wild herbs. Crisp, refreshing, ideal for warm weather and patio sipping. Alcohol by volume: 12.5 percent.

Imported and distributed by Dionysos: Available in the District at the Corner Market, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Balducci’s and Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Bethesda Co-Op in Cabin John. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean, Reston), Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview).

Alain Jaume Réserve Grand Veneur Rosé 2018

Cotes du Rhone, France, $20

Unusually low in acidity, this rosé gave off a first impression of softness rather than the racy refreshment we tend to expect from this type of wine. But the second impression quickly took over, then the third and so on, as a fruit basket of flavors revealed itself. My palate seemed to be strolling through a Provençal hill town on market day, drinking in the sights, smells and savors of fresh strawberries, raspberries and wildflowers. ABV: 13 percent.

Imported and distributed by Kysela: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Magruder’s, Rodman’s, Sheffield Wine & Liquor Shoppe, Wardman Wines. Available in Maryland at Dulaney Wines & Spirits in Towson, McHenry Beverage Shoppe in McHenry, Orion Wine & Spirits and Plus Mart in Frederick, Wine Source in Baltimore, the Winery in Chester. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese and Crystal City Wine Shop in Arlington, Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean, Reston), Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean, Kroger in Midlothian, Locke Store in Millwood.

Finca La Mata 2016

Ribera del Duero, Spain, $20

Here’s a stylish red made from tinta del pais vines (another name for tempranillo), planted more than 60 years ago. It shows cigar box aromas and flavors, with meaty, mushroomy notes, as well. Enjoy this wine with your steaks or burgers off the grill, when the hardwood smoke infuses your clothes, your sinuses and your memories for the next day or two. ABV: 14 percent.

Imported by Grapes of Spain, distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Batch 13, Calvert Woodley, Cork & Fork, Potomac Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s, S&R Liquors, Whole Foods Market (Tenleytown). Available in Maryland at Balducci’s, Capital Beer & Wine and Georgetown Square Wine and Beer in Bethesda; Beers & Cheers Too, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer and Finewine.com in Gaithersburg; the Bottle Shop in Potomac; Old Town Market in Kensington; Rockville Pike Beer & Wine and Village Beer & Fine Wine in Rockville; Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring; Wells Discount Liquors in Baltimore; Ye Old Spirit Shop in Frederick. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Balducci’s in Alexandria, Classic Wines in Great Falls, Norm’s Beer & Wine in Vienna, Whole Foods Market (Arlington, Fair Lakes), Wine Cabinet in Reston, Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville.

Coppo Costebianche Chardonnay 2017

Piemonte, Italy, $18

Piemonte, in northwestern Italy, is associated with nebbiolo and barbera, not chardonnay. But the world’s most popular white wine grape thrives in this mountain climate, as the Coppo Costebianche attests. It is crisp, clean and straightforward, with delicious stone-fruit flavors. It will pair perfectly with patio meals throughout the summer. ABV: 12.6 percent

Imported by Folio, distributed by M. Touton Selection: Available in the District at Eye Street Cellars, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Frederick Wine House and Old Farm Liquors in Frederick.

Collusion Red Wine 2016/2017

Columbia Valley, Wash., $25

After the initial chuckle over the political implications of the name, you’ll find a plush red with mouth-filling texture and flavors of blackberries and plums, which lead to a sweet, ripe finish. I tasted the 2016; the local distributor is now on the 2017, which is labeled as a cabernet sauvignon. Unfortunately, in the D.C. area it is only available in a few restaurants. ABV: 14.1 percent.

Distributed by Bacchus: On the list in the District at Charlie Palmer Steak, Occidental Grill, Unconventional Diner. Available in Maryland at North Charles Fine Wine & Spirits and Pinehurst Wine Shoppe in Baltimore, Town & Country Wine Liquor Etc. in Easton.

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.

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