Exceptional Excellent Very Good
Here are wines to slake summer’s heat: a racy Mediterranean white from Corsica, a minerally Muscadet from the Loire Valley, a juicy rosé from Washington state, and a light Italian red that simply says fun. Plus a delicious Sonoma chardonnay for a more substantial meal.
★ ★ ½
Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, Calif., $25
This is a top-notch chardonnay from one of California’s oldest producers. It shows a deft balance between ripe tree fruit flavors and oak to give it spice and structure. And it’s another reminder that we should not be so seduced by the new that we forget the tried and true. Unfortunately, area retailers don’t seem to agree. ABV: 14.2 percent.
Distributed by Bacchus in the District and Maryland, Select in Northern Virginia: On the list in the District at BOE Restaurant. Available in Maryland at Bristol Liquors in Baltimore, Columbia Palace Wine & Spirits in Columbia, Hair o’ the Dog in Easton, Midway Discount Liquors in Joppa, Trout Liquors in Frederick; on the list at Carroll’s Creek Cafe in Annapolis, Ruth’s Chris Steak House (Annapolis, Baltimore). Available in Virginia at Harris Teeter (various locations).
★ ★ ½
Côtes de Grandlieu, Loire Valley, France, $17
Muscadet can be simple, or it can be intensely mineral and earthy. This one is the latter. The flavors are subtle at first, but they grow on you, like when you’re on a hike and suddenly notice the stunning scenery around you. ABV: 12 percent.
Distributed by Lanterna: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Wine Cellars of Annapolis.
Île de Beauté, Corsica, France, $11
Racy, beautiful and an ideal wine for the hot weather we are enduring. Chill it really cold, pour yourself a glass, take a few sips on the patio, then run back into the air conditioning to finish the rest of the bottle. ABV: 12 percent.
Distributed by Siema: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Paul’s of Chevy Chase. Available in Maryland at Beer, Wine & Co. and Lance’s Beer & Wine in Bethesda; Bin 201 Wine Sellers in Annapolis; Bin 604 Wine Sellers in Baltimore; Cranberry Liquors in Westminster; Dunkirk Wine & Spirits; Fenwick Beer & Wine in Silver Spring; Lakefront Fine Wine & Spirits and Spin the Bottle Wine Co. in Frederick; Wooden Keg Liquors in Hagerstown. On the list at Pazo in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Chain Bridge Cellars and the Vineyard in McLean, Clifton Wine Shop, D’Vine Wines and Murphy Beverage Co. in Winchester, Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market in Richmond, Foods of All Nations and Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview).
Columbia Valley, Wash., $14
This is a consistent winner, year after year. Washington state’s Columbia Valley isn’t especially known for sangiovese, but there are a few good ones, and this rosé tops the list. This is a great wine to coast you through late summer. ABV: 12.9 percent.
Distributed by Country Vintner: Available in the District at Dean & DeLuca; on the list at Campono, Clyde’s (various locations), Old Ebbitt Grill, Ris, Union Kitchen. Available in Maryland at the Bottle Shop in Rockville, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Old Town Market in Kensington; on the list at Clyde’s (various locations), Sugo Osteria in Potomac, Summer House Santa Monica in North Bethesda. In Virginia, on the list at Society Fair in Alexandria.
Veneto, Italy, $13
This is one of those delightful wines that is simply fun. Don’t look for complexity, don’t look for greatness. Just sit back and enjoy. It’s like a good friend who won’t interrupt your conversation. ABV: 13 percent.
Distributed by Vinifera: Available in the District at A. Litteri, Dean & DeLuca, Eye Street Cellars, Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits, MacArthur Beverages; on the list at Masseria. Available in Maryland at Bin 201 Wine Sellers in Annapolis; Bin 604 Wine Sellers, Bo Brooks Lighthouse Liquors, Ceriello Fine Foods and Wine Source in Baltimore; Dunkirk Wine & Spirits. On the list at Cinghiale in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Barrel Thief Wine Shop & Cafe in Richmond, Mom’s Organic Market (Occoquan); on the list at Trattoria Villagio in Clifton.
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.