Here are my June recommendations of high-value, good-quality wines that retail for $12 or less. Because spring is quickly oozing into summer, I’m including four rose suggestions this month.
Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.
* * 1/2
Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina, $12
This red might sneak up on you. Open it an hour or so ahead of dinner, perhaps when you light the coals and sip a rose, and it should reward you with subtle power and surprising fruit for such an inexpensive wine. Argentina’s cabernet is underrated, and this wine shows it well, married with the more familiar malbec.
Constantine: Available in the District at Capitol Fine Wines & Spirits, Cork ’N Bottle, Dupont Market, Modern Liquors, Pearson’s, Tunnel Wines & Spirits; on the list at Ardeo+Bardeo. Available in Maryland at Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits in Annapolis; Bel Air Liquors; Bin 604 Wine Sellers, Canton Market, Eddie’s of Roland Park, North Charles Fine Wine & Spirits, Pinehurst Wine Shoppe and the Wine Market in Baltimore; Franklin Liquors in Frederick; I.M. Wine in Fulton.
Navarra, Spain, $9
This bright, strawberry-colored rose fairly leaps from the glass with its enthusiasm and bright fruit flavors. I kept trying to keep some in my glass, but every time I looked the darn thing was empty. Stock up: This wine disappears so fast, you might want a second bottle.
Siema: Available in the District at Broad Branch Market, Whole Foods Market P Street. Available in Maryland at Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits in Annapolis; Grand Cru, Roland Park Wine & Liquors, Spirits of Mt. Vernon and Wine Underground in Baltimore; Hops & Vines in Odenton; the Wine Shoppe in Waldorf; Wine World Beer & Spirits in Abingdon. Available in Virginia at Market Street Wineshop Uptown and Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville; Norm’s Beer & Wine in Vienna; Private Stock Cigar & Wine Co. and Wine & Beer Westpark in Glen Allen; Rick’s Wine & Gourmet and the Winery in Alexandria; Unwined in Alexandria and Belleview; Vintage Wines in Harrisonburg; Whole Foods Market locations in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Reston and Tysons Corner; the Wine Cabinet in Reston.
Vaucluse, France, $9
This refreshing rose zigzags through strawberry, grapefruit and cantaloupe flavors. A fruit salad in a glass.
M Touton Selection: Available in the District at 1 W Dupont Circle Wine & Liquors, Cairo Wine & Liquor, Circle Wine & Liquor, Magruder’s, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits, S&S Liquors. Available in Maryland at the Bottle Shop in Potomac; Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda; Frederick Wine House, Old Farm Liquors and Viniferous in Frederick; Hair o’ the Dog in Easton; Snider’s Super Foods and Veridian Market & Wine in Silver Spring; Port of Call Liquors in Solomons; State Line Liquors in Elkton. Available in Virginia at Market Street Wineshop and Whole Foods Market in Charlottesville; Rick’s Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria; the Wine Cellar in Middleburg.
Herault, Languedoc, France, $10
A rather pale rose, with refreshing flavors of melons and strawberry, as well as an appealing herbal aspect.
Dionysus: Available in the District at A. Litteri and Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Balducci’s, Bradley Food & Beverage and Cork & Fork in Bethesda. Available in Virginia at Arrowine in Arlington, Balducci’s locations in Alexandria and McLean, the Vineyard Table in Herndon; Yellow Umbrella Fresh Seafood in Richmond; on the list at the Caboose in Richmond.
Cotes de Provence, France, $11
This Provencal rose was my favorite last year. The newer version isn’t quite as exciting, reflecting perhaps a riper vintage that reduced the wine’s acidity and complexity. But it’s still delicious, well balanced and a fun patio sipper worth stocking up on for the summer.
M Touton Selection: Widely available in the District and Maryland. Available in Virginia at Chain Bridge Cellars (formerly Cecile’s Wine Cellar) in McLean, Marvelous Market in Arlington, various Wegmans and Whole Foods Market locations.
Gascony, France, $11
This is another of those fruity white charmers from Gascony, using Ugni Blanc and colombard grapes, with some gros manseng for good measure. The result is fresh and slightly herbaceous. Great summertime sipping.
Elite: Available in the District at Bacchus Wine Cellar, Cork & Fork, various Whole Foods Market locations; on the list at Corduroy, 701, Ulah Bistro. Available in Maryland at Adega Wine Cellars in Silver Spring, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, and the Wine Bin in Ellicott City. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Tivoli Gourmet in Arlington; Fern Street Gourmet, Rick’s Wine & Gourmet and Unwined in Alexandria; Leesburg Vintner; Vienna Vintner; various Whole Foods Market locations. On the list at Food Matters in Alexandria.
* * * Exceptional
* * Excellent
* Very Good