Exceptional Excellent Very Good
Essay Chenin Blanc-Viognier-Roussanne 2018
Coastal Region, South Africa, $12
Essay is a play on S.A., for South Africa. The wine is a delicious blend based on chenin blanc, which excels in South Africa. The result is a cornucopia of white flowers and tropical fruit flavors, with waxy mouthfeel. Hard to beat at this price. Alcohol by volume: 13 percent.
Imported by International Wine Imports, distributed by Elite: Available in the District at 1 West Dupont Circle Wine & Spirits, the Bottle Shop, Daily 14, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Crescent Beer & Wine in Bowie, Diamond Square Beer & Wine in Gaithersburg, Friendship Wine & Liquor in Abingdon, Goska’s Liquors in Severna Park, Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring, Wine Cellars of Annapolis. Available in Virginia at Classic Wines in Great Falls, Ellwood Thompson’s Natural Market in Richmond, Whole Foods Market in Vienna.
Lini 910 Labrusca Rosé NV
Lambrusco dell'Emilia, Italy, $16
Lambrusco, a light-bodied, sparkling red, is Italy’s surprise partner to pizza, barbecue and charcuterie. This is the first rosé Lambrusco I’ve tried, and it’s a delight. Flavors of watermelon, strawberry and wild herbs make for a refreshing patio pounder, and if you’re not careful, you may finish it before the food is ready. And there are bubbles! This wine is new to the market, but it should get wider availability, especially if customers aren’t skeptical about trying a pink lambrusco. ABV: 11 percent.
Imported and distributed by Winebow: Available in the District at Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, the Perfect Pour in Elkridge.
Domaine Naturaliste Rebus Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Wilyabrup, Margaret River, Australia, $30
Winemaker Bruce Dukes has crafted an elegant, plush New World-style cabernet that explodes with ripe flavors of blackberries, currants and blueberries. Even with its fruit-forward flavors, it maintains an Old World sensibility — the oak is beautifully integrated to give structure and tannin to the wine, the alcohol is in check, and there’s a mineral undertone that suggests a fine bordeaux. Pair this with the next large hunk of beef you grill for a summer party. ABV: 14 percent.
Imported by Artisans & Vines. Distributed in the District by Hop & Wine, in Maryland by Artisans & Vines, and in Virginia by Hop & Wine and LK Wine Tours & Sales. Available in the District at MacArthur Beverages, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Bethesda Co-Op in Cabin John, Bradley Food & Beverage and Georgetown Square Wine and Beer in Bethesda, Finewine.com and the Wine Harvest in Gaithersburg, Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-Op in Takoma Park. Available in Virginia at Aldie Peddler in Aldie, Locke Store in Millwood, Murphy Beverage in Winchester, Vienna Vintner in Vienna.
Gone Rogue Mish Mash White 2018
Great Southern, Australia, $23
This delicious riot of a wine — designed to appeal to iconoclasts of all ages — is a blend of riesling and pinot grigio, with a dash of viognier tossed in for good measure (and, well, aromas and body). That recipe corresponds to none of the paradigms of the wine world, but it succeeds with a frenzy of flavor, balance and fun. Both the name and label encourage us to “go rogue” and defy limitations. ABV: 13 percent.
Imported by Artisans & Vines. Distributed in the District by Hop & Wine, in Maryland by Artisans & Vines, and in Virginia by Hop & Wine and LK Wine Tours & Sales. Available in the District at Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Balducci’s and Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Crescent Beer & Wine in Bowie, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg, the Market at River Falls in Potomac, the Wine Harvest (Gaithersburg, Potomac). Available in Virginia at Aldie Peddler in Aldie, Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean, Reston), Bonnie Blue Southern Market & Bakery and Murphy Beverage in Winchester, Vintage Wines in Harrisonburg, Rio Hill Wine & Beer in Charlottesville.
Smith & Perry Pinot Noir 2015
Here’s an all-around tasty Oregon pinot noir, with Bing cherry and sarsaparilla flavors. It may be easy to finish this without realizing it, but you’ll want to savor this wine and save some for dinner.
Distributed by Republic National: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Circle Wine & Liquor, Rodman’s, Yes! Organic Market (various locations). Available in Maryland at Pine Orchard Liquors in Ellicott City, Wine Source in Baltimore.
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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