As we wait out the dog days of August, here are three outstanding rosés to slake our summer thirst. But these aren’t your typical rosés — one comes from a California winery specializing in pink wines, a second from a little-known Italian region and the third a paler-shade-of-rose from the Mediterranean coast of France. And we have two reds from Georgia, the birthplace of wine, to pair with grilled foods. They are made with the saperavi grape, an ancient variety that is beginning to gain a foothold in the United States, especially New York.
Malene Rosé 2019
Central Coast, Calif., $22
Malene is a California winery devoted to rosé; the grapes come from Santa Barbara County and Paso Robles. This gorgeous wine is a blend of grenache, cinsault and rolle, or vermentino. It is dry but full-bodied for a rosé, with plenty of melon and herbal flavors. You might be tempted to drink this all yourself, but the wine tastes even better when you share it with friends. Alcohol by volume: 12.8 percent.
Distributed by Winebow: Available in the District at Cordial Craft Wine, Beer & Spirits, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Beer, Wine & Co. and Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda. Available in Virginia at Cheesetique (Arlington), Safeway (Alexandria, Burke, Fairfax).
Zeni Chiaretto Bardolino Classico 2019
Racy and bright, this lovely rosato from near Lake Garda in northern Italy can take the edge off a summer heat wave. Chiaretto is a special appellation, or denominazione in Italian, for pink wines from a blend of grapes based on corvina and rondinella. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Imported and distributed by M. Touton: Available in the District at AB Liquors, Central Liquors, Metro Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg; Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; Queens Chapel Liquors in Hyattsville; Simpatico in St. Michaels; Town Center Market in Riverdale Park; Trinacria Macaroni Works and Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Ashburn Wine Shop and Pazzo Pomodoro (retail) in Ashburn; Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean; the Italian Store (Lyon Village, Westover) in Arlington; Leesburg Vintner in Leesburg; Libbie Market in Richmond; the Wine Outlet in McLean.
Pink Flamingo Gris de Gris 2019
Sable de Camargue, France, $20
A gris de gris is perhaps the palest style of rosé. This “tête de cuvée” from the Pink Flamingo label (the regular rosé is also delicious) is subtle with a saline character over light flavors of berry fruit and wild herbs. ABV: 13 percent.
Imported by Vranken Pommery, distributed by M. Touton: Available in the District at AB Liquors, D’Vines, Irving Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s, Sunset Wine & Spirits. Available in Maryland at Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg; Glenwood Wine & Spirits in Glenwood; Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; Renno’s Market in Shady Side; Two if By Sea in Tilghman Island; Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Crystal City Wine Shop in Arlington; Pazzo Pomodoro (retail) in Ashburn; Vino Market in Midlothian.
Guardians Saperavi 2018
Kakheti, Georgia, $13
Dark cherries, plums, a hint of earthy mushrooms and a faint whiff of distant smoke on a cool night — this medium-bodied red wine is an ideal partner for grilled meats, hearty salads or vegetarian dishes. It also holds up well for several days after opening, a sign of quality and ageability. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Imported and distributed by Georgian Wine House: Available in the District at Batch 13, Calvert Woodley, Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Compass Rose (retail), Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Hops, Cask & Barrel, Magruder’s, Mediterranean Way Gourmet Market, Old City Market and Oven, Potomac Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Wardman Wines. Available in Maryland at Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits, Bin 201 Wine Sellers and Mills Fine Wines and Spirits in Annapolis; Bin 604 Wine Sellers and Wine Source in Baltimore.
Dila-O Saperavi 2018
This saperavi was aged in clay casks called qvevri, the way wine has been made in Georgia for 8,000 years. It is fruitier than the Guardians and a bit more toward sour cherry in flavor, with a hint of varnish. The wild herbs — sage, mint and even rosemary — give it appealing complexity. ABV: 13 percent.
Imported and distributed by Georgian Wine House: Available in the District at Batch 13, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Georgetown Wine & Spirits, Magruder’s, Potomac Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s, Supra (retail), Tabla (retail), Tyber Creek Wine Bar & Kitchen (retail), Wardman Wines, Whole Foods Market (Foggy Bottom, P Street, Tenleytown). Available in Maryland at Off the Rox Wine & Beer and 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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