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A lovely splurge-worthy white wine from France’s Rhone Valley leads this week’s wine list, followed by two affordable and delicious whites and an inexpensive sparkling wine from Portugal. And since the mercury keeps climbing, here’s another perfect-for-late-spring rosé from Provence.
Rhone Valley, France, $33
Saint-Joseph is known mostly for its red wines, based on syrah. This rich, full-bodied white is made from the roussanne grape. It is from a ripe vintage, and the golden color of the wine and the honeyed flavors suggest some of the grapes may have had botrytis, the “noble rot” that makes the famous sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac in Bordeaux or the sweet Rieslings in Germany. There is also peach flavor, like the kind of peach that drips juice down your chin when you bite it, and a citrusy note of orange flower. Alcohol by volume: 13.5 percent.
Distributed by Dionysos Imports: Available in the District at MacArthur Beverages, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Balducci’s and Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Wine Source in Baltimore; on the list at Charleston and Petit Louis in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean).
Niederosterreich, Austria, $17
In Austria, the fad is to drink the freshest wine from the most recent vintage. But good gruner veltliner needs some bottle age to show its talents. When I first tasted the Lustig, I shrugged and thought, “Yeah, it’s gruner.” After about 30 minutes, I did a double take. The aromas of white flowers and the talc-like minerality I love in Austrian gruner had unfurled, and the wine was simply delicious. It kept improving over the next hour or so, adding a refreshing lime zest quality on the finish. ABV: 12 percent.
Distributed in the District by Hop & Wine, in Montgomery County, Md., by Artisans & Vines, and in the rest of Maryland by Global Wines: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Rodman’s, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. Available in Maryland at Balducci’s and Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg, Fenwick Beer & Wine, Nazret Market, and Parkway Deli & Restaurant in Silver Spring, Greenbelt Co-op in Greenbelt, Old Town Market in Kensington, Rodman’s (White Flint), Takoma-Silver Spring Co-op in Takoma Park; on the list at All Set and Lina’s Diner in Silver Spring.
Tejo, Portugal, $12
This is a delightful sparkling wine blended from three grape varieties: Portugal’s own vital and arinto, along with sauvignon blanc. It is richer than prosecco, but still light and bright enough to turn any day into a holiday. ABV: 10.5 percent.
Distributed by Global Wines: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Magruder’s, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Dawson’s Market and Grosvenor Market in Rockville , Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Rodman’s (Wheaton), Wine Districts in Frederick.
Coteaux Varois en Provence, France, $17
This is textbook, delicious rosé, bright with flavors of berries and melon, plus a hint of wild herbs on the finish. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Distributed by DMV: Available in the District at Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Christos Discount Liquors in Ferndale, Eastport Liquors in Annapolis, FireFly Farms in Accident, Georgetown Square Wine & Beer in Bethesda, McHenry Beverage Shoppe in McHenry, Old Farm Liquors in Frederick, Sunny’s Fine Wines & Spirits in Eldersburg. Available in Virginia at Giant grocery stores (various locations); on the list at Madigan’s Waterfront in Occoquan.
Rueda, Spain, $13
Bornos produces a reliably delicious verdejo, with ripe peach and apricot flavors. This is great as an aperitif with light appetizers, but also with sandwiches or seafood. Most of this wine was sold to Total Wine & More. ABV: 13 percent.
Distributed by Kysela: Available in the District at Magruder’s. Available in Maryland at Bo Brooks Lighthouse Liquors, Wells Discount Liquors and Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at the Cheese Shop in Williamsburg, Locke Store in Millwood, Total Wine & More (various locations).
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.