Napa Valley, Calif., $45
Robert Mondavi’s Fume Blanc has always been a leading value in sauvignon blanc from California. This single-vineyard reserve from the famous To Kalon Vineyard, located just behind the winery on the western hillsides of Napa Valley, continues to excel, with bright citrus flavors, impeccable balance and impressive depth.
Republic National: Available in the District at Circle Wine & Liquor, District Liquors, Magruder’s, Rodman’s, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits.
★★1 / 2
Napa Valley, Calif., $35
The Dickerson has always been my favorite of Ravenswood’s single-vineyard zinfandels. Today’s version doesn’t have the spicy eucalyptus character that Napa zin once was known for, but it does have deep, brooding black-fruit character and a hint that somewhere, deep below the vineyard’s surface, the soil has a story to tell.
Republic National: Available in the District at Rodman’s; on the list at City Club, Range.
★★1 / 2
Dolomiti, Italy, $17
Lageder is the most prominent producer of crisp, minerally white wines in the Dolomite mountains of northeastern Italy. The entire line is exceptional; this 2011 pinot grigio is a bit softer and riper than most pinot grigios, giving it depth and interest as the flavors of peach and apricot unfold across your palate. Excellent by itself or with simple cheeses, seafood salads or pasta dishes.
Country Vintner: Available in the District at Cairo Wine & Liquor, Calvert Woodley, Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits, Lions Fine Wine & Spirits, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Georgetown Square Wine and Beer in Bethesda. Available in Virginia at the Italian Store in Arlington, Grape + Bean (Old Town and Rosemont), Unwined in Alexandria.
★★1 / 2
Cotes-du-Rhone, France, $17
This is a terrific Rhone wine from a top-notch producer, with earthy black-fruit flavors and grippy tannins. The local distributor has just changed vintages from 2009 to 2010, and both are excellent.
Bacchus: On the list in the District at BlackSalt, Corduroy, Farmers Fishers Bakers, Johnny’s Half Shell, Rasika Penn Quarter. Available in Maryland at Wishing Well Liquors in Easton.
★1 / 2
Pizza, anyone? Or just a fun conversation over a glass of fruity red wine? This selection from Texas will do quite well for either occasion. It’s one of those regional wines that grow on you after a few minutes in the glass, showing nice fruit and a charming personality. Think of this as James Patterson, not J.R.R. Tolkien.
Siema: Available in the District at Chat’s Liquors, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Wagshal’s Market. Available in Maryland at the Bottle Shop in Potomac, Fenwick Beer & Wine in Silver Spring. Available in Virginia at Little Washington Winery, the Tasting Room in Reston, the Whole Ox in The Plains.
★★★Exceptional ★★Excellent ★Very Good
Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.
Here are some wines from small and big companies that should do your dinner table proud.