Exceptional Excellent Very Good
With the summer heat bearing down on us, let’s double down on rosé. This week’s greatest value is a bright charmer from Languedoc in the south of France, a bargain at $11. For a contrasting style, we go to northern Spain for a racy rosé from Basque country. While we’re enjoying dinner on the patio, why not compare two wines from the albariño grape, one from Rias Baixas in Spain, the other from Portugal. And for when the steaks come off the grill, we have a lovely petite sirah from Central California.
Cotes de Thau, France, $11
This pale pink rosé from the Languedoc coast near the fishing village of Sete is 100 percent carignan, featuring bright flavors of watermelon, wild herbs and sunshine. Alcohol by volume: 12 percent.
Imported by Aquitaine Wine USA, distributed by M. Touton Selection in the District and Maryland, Republic National in Virginia: Available in the District at Burka’s Wine & Liquor, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Eye Street Cellars, Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at 108 Deli & Liquor in Clarksville, Bradley Food & Beverage and Cork 57 Beer and Wine in Bethesda, Choice Wine & Beer in Silver Spring, Cork & Bottle Liquors in Laurel, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg, Frederick Wine House and Old Farm Liquors in Frederick, Grosvenor Market in Rockville, Hop N Grape in North Bethesda, Knowles Station in Kensington, Rodman’s in White Flint, Village Pump Liquors in College Park. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese, One More Page Books and Pentagon City Wine Merchant in Arlington, Belmont Butchery in Richmond, Fern Street Gourmet in Alexandria, Unwined in Belleview, Vienna Vintner in Vienna, Vinosity in Culpeper, Vintage Wines in Harrisonburg.
Getariako Txakolina, Spain, $20
Some rosés cool you like a soft ocean breeze on a hot day. This one is a Gatorade bath after a walk-off home run. ABV: 12 percent.
Imported and distributed by M. Touton Selection: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Eye Street Cellars, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Old Farm Liquors in Frederick. Available in Virginia at the Caboose Market & Cafe in Ashland, the Wine Outlet in Great Falls.
Rias Baixas, Spain, $33
Albariño is the signature grape of Spain’s Rias Baixas region, just north of Portugal. Leirana comes from vineyards close to the sea, giving it a crisp acidic line and a saline quality that suggests shellfish and other seafood. Given the acidity, I recommend drinking this with food rather than by itself. ABV: 13 percent.
Imported by Olé, distributed in the District and Maryland by Bacchus, in Virginia by Salveto: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Modern Liquors. Available in Maryland at the Wine Harvest in Potomac. Available in Virginia at Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), the Wine Outlet (Great Falls, McLean, Vienna).
Minho, Portugal, $15
Alvarinho — the Portuguese name for albariño — is often made into vinho verde, the spritzy refreshing wine that makes a nice patio pounder. Nortico is more serious, with a minerally texture that suggests the granite soils of the vineyard and a citrus peel flavor that calls for grilled fish or seafood salad. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Imported by Olé, distributed in the District and Maryland by Bacchus, in Virginia by Salveto: Available in the District at Modern Liquors, Pearson’s, Wardman Wines. Available in Maryland at Eastport Liquors in Annapolis, Fishpaws Marketplace in Arnold, Eddie’s of Roland Park and North Charles Fine Wine & Spirits in Baltimore, State Line Liquors in Elkton, the Wine Harvest in Potomac. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), Vienna Vintner in Vienna, the Wine Outlet (Great Falls, McLean, Vienna).
Monterey, Calif., $34
Here’s a wine with a story on the back label about a con man posing as a doctor in Spanish California in the 1830s and killing most of his patients, even as he became famous. While the story seems to be fiction, the wine is for real — California petite sirah at its jammy, blackberry best, with accents of wild herbs over a long, savory finish. ABV: 14.5 percent.
Distributed by Republic National: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits; Cordial Craft Wine, Beer & Spirits (Union Market); Rodman’s. Available in Virginia at Leesburg Vintner in Leesburg, Richmond Wine Station in Richmond, Wine Gallery 108 in Alexandria, Wine Mill in Winchester, WineStyles in Montclair.
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.