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For the third year, Washington-area restaurants are featuring GaMay, a month of promoting the food-friendly wines made from the gamay grape.
The campaign was conceived by Max Kuller to benefit the Lustgarten Foundation and its research on pancreatic cancer, which claimed Kuller’s father, Mark, in 2014. Kuller’s restaurants — Proof, Estadio, Doi Moi and 2 Birds, 1 Stone — are featuring wines and cocktails made with gamay. More than $35,000 was raised in the first two years. Other restaurants participating this year include Momofuku CCDC, 1789, the Riggsby, Garrison and Tail Up Goat.
This week’s selections include two noteworthy Beaujolais, made from gamay, plus two delightful white wines from Portugal and a perennial, widely available rosé.
Beaujolais, France, $23
Once again, repeat after me: 2015 was a great vintage in France, especially for regions that sometimes struggle to get their wines tasting fully ripe. Beaujolais had a banner year in ’15, and this Brouilly, which is always good, simply shines. Think dark cherry, tobacco and, well, steak or a burger. Alcohol by volume: 12.5 percent.
Distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Metro Wine & Spirits, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s, Whole Foods Market (Foggy Bottom, P Street); on the list at Kapnos, Le Diplomate, Montmartre. Available in Maryland at Bin 201 Wine Sellers in Annapolis; Bin 604 Wine Sellers in Baltimore; Decanter Fine Wines in Columbia; Finewine.com in Gaithersburg; Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits & Bistro in Beltsville; on the list at Charleston in Baltimore, Market Tavern in Sykesville, Petit Louis Bistro (Baltimore, Columbia). Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean), Cheesetique in Alexandria, Whole Foods Market (Charlottesville, Reston); on the list at La Cote d’Or in Arlington.
Lisboa, Portugal, $26
When the Manz family purchased property in the village of Cheleiros, near Lisbon, in 2004, they set out to catalogue the grape varieties in their vineyard. One they found in abundance was called jampal, nearly extinct in Portugal because of its reputation for producing poor-quality wine. The family decided to stick with it, against the advice of neighbors, and now it is the only producer in Portugal — maybe the world — with a certified vineyard with this variety. The wine is lovely; it has rich body and buttery texture like a southern Rhone white, with flavors of talc, white flowers and tropical fruit. This is not just a novelty wine. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Distributed by G&B: Available in the District at the Bottle Shop, Calvert Woodley, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, MacArthur Beverages; on the list at Slate Wine Bar & Bistro. Available in Maryland at Cheers & Spirits in Arnold; on the list at Volt in Frederick. Available in Virginia at Wine House in Fairfax.
Beaujolais, France, $11
Beaujolais is a great “bistro wine,” the type you would find by the glass or pitcher in a restaurant near your hotel in Paris. It’s a great house wine here at home, too, because of its ability to match a wide variety of foods. And 2015 was a great vintage. This wine offers dark cherry flavors and hints of smoke and earth. ABV: 13 percent.
Distributed by M. Touton: Available in the District at Capital City Wine & Spirits, Each Peach Market, Eye Street Cellars, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Old City Market and Oven, Rodman’s, Wine Specialist. Available in Maryland at Bethesda Co-Op in Cabin John, the Bottle Shop in Potomac, Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, California Wine & Spirits in California, Chevy Chase Supermarket, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg, Eddie’s Liquors in Baltimore, Frederick Wine House, Old Farm Liquors and Westview Liquors in Frederick, Grosvenor Market in Rockville, Rodman’s in White Flint, Rosewick Wine & Spirits in La Plata, the Wine Shoppe in Waldorf, Wine Harvest (Gaithersburg, Potomac).
This nonvintage white is ideal for hot weather: It has a noticeable spritz that perks up the palate with the first sip and lots of refreshing lemon-lime flavors. Low alcohol is a bonus. ABV: 10.5 percent.
Distributed by DMV: Available in the District at Paul’s of Chevy Chase. Available in Maryland at ABD Liquor in Prince Frederick; Bristol Liquors in Baltimore; Dunkirk Wine & Spirits; Franklin’s Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville; Italian Market in Annapolis; Jason’s Wine & Spirits in Ellicott City; Kings Contrivance Liquor Shop in Columbia; Landover Liquor in Cheverly, Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits & Bistro in Beltsville; Pine Liquors in Fort Washington, Town Center Market in Riverdale Park, Waugh Chapel Wine & Spirits in Gambrills.
It’s always a treat to find an old favorite wine made by the boatload and available almost everywhere wine is sold. Also available in magnums and a three-liter box. ABV: 13 percent.
Distributed by Bacchus in the District and Maryland, Country Vintner in Virginia: Widely available.
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.