Exceptional Excellent Very Good
Our greatest value this week is seasonal — a rosé — and a reminder that we should not take old friends for granted in our search for something new and unique. It has the added advantages of being cheap and widely available. We also have two French whites great for warmer weather, one each from Mediterranean and Atlantic shores. To round out the selection, we have a picnic-worthy red and a seafood-friendly white from Italy.
La Vieille Ferme Rosé 2019
France, $9 for 750 milliliters; $15 for 1.5 liters; $25 for a three-liter box
The Perrin family has a long wine résumé: the famous Chateau Beaucastel in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, their own family line of Rhone wines, and a partnership with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with Miraval Rosé. They are also partners with the Haas family of Vineyard Brands importers at Tablas Creek winery in California. So it might be easy to overlook La Vieille Ferme, a bargain brand the Perrin’s introduced in 1967. That would be a mistake, as the wines continue to be quite good and cheap. The 2019 rosé is delightful, with textbook flavors of strawberries and wild herbs. Buy the box — the equivalent of four bottles at $6.25 — and you’ll have a party waiting for you every time you open your refrigerator. ABV: 13 percent.
Imported by Vineyard Brands, distributed in the District and Maryland by Bacchus, in Virginia by Winebow. Widely available in all three jurisdictions.
Da Capo Majoli Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG 2018
Piedmont, Italy, $20
Ruchè is a minor red grape from Piedmont, in northwestern Italy, a region best known for nebbiolo and dolcetto. This is a zesty, light-bodied red with flavors of maraschino cherries and wild sage. It has great acidity to make it food-friendly; try it with lighter- to medium-bodied dishes such as salads, vegetarian dishes or sandwiches. Slightly chilled, it’s a great picnic wine. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Imported and distributed by Simon N Cellars: Available in the District at A. Litteri, MacArthur Beverages. Available in Virginia at Basic Necessities in Nellysford, the Italian Store (Lyons Village, Westover) in Arlington, Tastings of Charlottesville and Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville, Tinto Wine and Cheese (Chesapeake, Virginia Beach).
Jadix Picpoul de Pinet 2018/2019
Languedoc, France, $13
Wines made from the picpoul grape tend to be refreshers — crisp, easy to quaff and simple. The Jadix adds a bit of body from aging on its lees to add to the notes of white flowers and pears. The vintage was also very ripe in 2019, adding to the alcohol level. Don’t drink it too cold; you’ll want that richness to express itself. The 2018, which is still available in parts of Virginia, is what winemakers like to call a “more classic vintage.” Vegan. ABV: 14.5 percent.
Imported by Aquitaine Wine USA, distributed in the District and Maryland by M. Touton Selection, in Virginia by RNDC: Available in the District at Bottle Shop, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Bay Wine & Spirits in North Beach, Hillandale Beer & Wine in Silver Spring, Mayo Liquors in Edgewater, Maryland Discount Beverage Center in Cumberland, Old Farm Liquors in Frederick, Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at City Vino in Fredericksburg, Classic Wines in Great Falls, Leesburg Gourmet in Leesburg, Montebello Market and Wine Gallery 108 in Alexandria, Specials Wine Seller in Kilmarnock, the Spot on Mill Street in Occoquan, Vienna Vintner in Vienna.
Biscaye Baie Sauvignon Blanc Côtes de Gascogne 2018/2019
Gascony, France, $13
Gascony, in southwestern France, is known more for foie gras and armagnac, a type of brandy, than for wine. Crisp whites made from ugni blanc — the main grape distilled into armagnac — have been great value for summer quenchers for many years. This sauvignon blanc benefits from coastal influences from the Bay of Biscay and the shelter of the Pyrenees Mountains to the south. It offers a saline character, coupled with flavors of peach and passion fruit. The label notes the vineyards surround the medieval town of Condom, which Washington-area foodies may recognize as the hometown of the late chef Jean-Louis Palladin. I tasted the 2018, which is available in the District and Maryland. The Virginia distributor is now carrying the 2019. ABV: 12 percent.
Imported by Aquitaine Wine USA, distributed in the District and Maryland by M. Touton Selection, in Virginia by RNDC: Available in the District at Bottle Shop, Rodman’s, Sherry’s Wine & Spirits. Available in Maryland at Corwell & Son Beer, Wine & Liquors in Severna Park; Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; Roland’s in Chesapeake Beach; Wine Cellars of Annapolis in Annapolis; Wine Source in Baltimore; the Winery in Kent Island. Available in Virginia at Ashburn Wine Shop in Ashburn, Fern Street Gourmet, Montebello Market and Wine Gallery 108 in Alexandria, Leesburg Gourmet in Leesburg, Mermaid Winery (Norfolk, Virginia Beach).
Uggiano Prestige Vermentino Toscano IGT 2018
Tuscany, Italy, $17
This delicious medium-bodied white wine entices with scents of white flowers and a salinity that gets my mouth ready for seafood. Enjoy this with shrimp, scallops or calamari or mild cheeses. ABV: 13 percent.
Imported by Marquee Selections, distributed by DMV: Available in the District at Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda; Eastport Liquors and the Italian Market in Annapolis; Frederick Wine House in Frederick; Magothy Wine & Spirits in Severna Park; Pigtown Wine, Beer & Liquor in Baltimore; Town Center Market in Riverdale Park.
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.