Columnist, Food
Steininger Gruner Veltliner Loisium Reserve 2011


Kamptal, Austria, $22

Karl Steininger is best known for his sparkling wines, or sekt, but this delightful gruner shows his talent with Austria’s flagship white. Racy and firm, it is searingly dry and vibrant with lime, quince and lemon grass flavors. Its hint of talc shows the minerality of the Kamptal appellation, in Austria’s Lower Danube region. 

Potomac Selections in the District and Maryland, Select in Virginia: Available in the District at Connecticut Avenue Wine &Liquor; on the list at the Source by Wolfgang Puck. On the list in Maryland at Pure Wine Cafe in Ellicott City. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria and McLean), Maison du Vin in Great Falls, Tastings of Charlottesville, Wine Cabinet in Reston; on the list at Brabo in Alexandria, Duner’s in Charlottesville, Entyse Bistro in Tysons Corner, Thornton River Grille in Sperryville, Vinifera Wine Bar in Reston. 

Domaine Nicolas Rossignol, Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2011


Burgundy, France, $22

From a noted Volnay producer comes a wine with nice pinot character, with some black cherry and lots of savory earth and mushroom. On the second day, it tasted fruitier: The earthiness had faded.

Elite: Available in the District at Whole Foods Market (P Street); on the list at Farmers Fishers Bakers, Mintwood Place, Rasika West End, Sequoia, Urbana. On the list in Maryland at Bistro Provence in Bethesda. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s and Whole Foods Market in Alexandria, Twisted Vines in Arlington; on the list at Brabo and Del Ray Cafe in Alexandria, Bistro Vivant in McLean.

Patient Cottat, Le Grand Caillou Sauvignon Blanc 2011


Loire Valley, France, $11

This is a delightful mini-Sancerre from a noted Sancerre producer. Grown in vineyards outside the region that can be called Sancerre, it still has the stony character of sauvignon blanc from the more prestigious vineyards, with some of the rough-and-tumble character of younger vines.

Bacchus in the District and Maryland, Country Vintner in Virginia: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, A.M. Wine Shoppe, Burka’s Wine & Liquor, Circle Wine & Liquor, D’Vines, Potomac Wine & Spirits, Pearson’s, Rodman’s, Whole Foods Market (Tenleytown), Wine Specialist. Available in Virginia at Oakton Wine Shop and the Wine House in Fairfax; on the list at Bistro Vivant in McLean, Virtue Feed & Grain in Alexandria.

Raptor Ridge Pinot Gris 2011


Willamette Valley, Oregon, $19

Richer than a pinot grigio though made from the same grape, this Oregon pinot gris is a nice pairing with salmon or other rich seafood dishes.

Nice Legs: Available in the District at Chat’s Liquors, Paul’s of Chevy Chase. Available in Virginia at the Aldie Peddler in Aldie, Market Cellars in Reston, the Wine House in Fairfax; on the list at Maplewood Grill in Vienna, Screwtop Wine Bar in Arlington, Trummer’s on Main in Clifton.

Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel 2011

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Contra Costa County, Calif., $17

This wine shows zinfandel’s character of raspberry and cranberry, with some caramel and maple from oak treatment. It’s a bit plodding on the finish, but some zesty food smooths that out.

Bacchus in the District and Maryland, Country Vintner in Virginia: Available in the District at Bell Wine & Spirits, Calvert Woodley, Costco, Magruder’s, Rodman’s, Safeway (Georgetown, L Street and MacArthur Boulevard), Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, Whole Foods Market (Tenleytown). Widely available in Maryland. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (McLean); Whole Foods Market (Alexandria and Arlington; various locations of Harris Teeter, Total Wine & More, Wegmans.

Backstory Chardonnay 2011

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California, $9

Here’s a delicious, basic chardonnay with great balance and a touch of oak to match the  peach and apricot fruit flavors of the grape. Nothing complex here — just good, basic fun.

J.W. Sieg: Available in the District at Batch 13; on the list at Radius Pizza, Smith Commons, Vinoteca. Available in Virginia at Arrowine in Arlington; Aldie Peddler; Ashburn Wine Shop; D’Vine Wines in Winchester; Red, White & Bleu in Falls Church; Unwined (Alexandria and Belleview); Vienna Vintner. On the list at Screwtop Wine Bar in Arlington.


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Prices are approximate. Check to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

Here are six wines that should grab your attention for their quality and their value. — D.M