★ ★ ★Exceptional ★ ★Excellent ★Very Good
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 may vary. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.
Yes, we’ve passed Labor Day, and the children are back in school. That doesn’t mean we can’t drink rosé. Here are two to help the transition into fall, along with top-notch reds for sunset grilling.
★ ★ ★
Sonoma Coast, Calif., $45
“Sonoma Coast” is a joke of an appellation among wine lovers; it covers too much of the county to be meaningful in terms of the climate or terroir and style of its wines. True pinot fiends know to look for wines from the “west Sonoma Coast,” directly bordering the Pacific Ocean, where the terrain is often rugged and the sea keeps the air cool and foggy, as though it were weighting the vines to enforce restraint in the wines. The clue on the label with Wild Ridge is the word “Annapolis” — not the capital of Maryland but a small town in far northwest Sonoma County, far from the tasting room crowds. The wines from this area unfortunately are expensive, but they are worth seeking out. Alcohol by volume: 14.2 percent.
Prestige in the District and Maryland, RNDC in Virginia: On the list in the District at Blue Duck Tavern, DC Coast, Eno Wine Bar, Matisse. Available in Maryland at Decanter Fine Wines in Columbia, Highland Wine & Spirits; on the list at Inn at Perry Cabin, Severn Inn. Available in Virginia at Classic Wines in Great Falls, Wegmans (Woodbridge).
★ ★ ★
Bandol, France, $24
Pricey for a rosé, but that goes with the territory for Bandol, a small appellation in Provence known for its pale pink rosés that are delicious by themselves and versatile with a variety of light foods. This one is top-notch. ABV: 13.5 percent.
M Touton: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Cairo Wine & Liquor, Central Liquors, Chinatown Liquor, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, MacArthur Beverages, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Whole Foods Market (various locations). Available in Maryland at Jason’s Wine & Spirits and Pine Orchard Liquors in Ellicott City, Old Farm Liquors in Frederick, Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington. Available in Virginia at Market Street Wineshop and Tastings in Charlottesville, Specials Wine Seller in Kilmarnock, the Vineyard in McLean; on the list at Bastille in Alexandria.
★ ★ 1 / 2
Ribera del Duero, Spain, $14
A deep-colored wine, it’s fermented in oak, giving it an unusual roundness and depth for a rosé. The acidity is fine, however, giving it a bracing quality that balances the rich, sappy fruit flavors. ABV: 14 percent.
M Touton: Available in the District at Central Liquors, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Rodman’s, Whole Foods Market (various locations). Available in Maryland at A.K.A. Frisco’s, Old Farm Liquors and Viniferous in Frederick; Cork 57 Beer and Wine in Bethesda; Dawson’s Liquors and Victoria’s Fancy Food in Severna Park; Glenwood Wine & Spirits, Jason’s Wine & Spirits and Pine Orchard Liquors in Ellicott City; Londontowne Wine & Spirits in Edgewater; SoCo Fine Wine & Spirits in Deale; Orion Wine & Spirits in Frederick; the Breadery in Catonsville. On the list at Food & Co. in Bethesda. Available in Virginia at Rio Hill Wine & Gourmet in Charlottesville, the Vineyard in McLean.
★ ★ 1 / 2
Blaye, Côtes de Bordeaux, France, $18
This is 100 percent merlot, grown biodynamically. It offers bright fruit flavors with near perfect pitch; think of a clear musical tone sounded by a tuning fork rather than a complex chord. The acidity balancing the fruit makes it a food-friendly wine. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Elite: On the list in the District at Bistro Cacao, Le Chat Noir, Logan Tavern, Marcel’s, Malmaison, Montmartre, the Pig, Prego Again, Terasol. Available in Maryland at Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg, Dawson’s Market in Rockville, Fishpaws Marketplace in Arnold, Frederick Wine House, Rodman’s (Kensington), Wine Cellars of Annapolis; on the list at Black Market Bistro in Garrett Park, La Ferme in Chevy Chase. Available in Virginia at Foods of All Nations in Charlottesville, Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Wine House in Fairfax; on the list at 2941 and Idylwood Grill and Wine Bar in Falls Church, Can Can in Richmond, La Cote d’Or Cafe in Arlington, Palio Ristorante Italiano in Leesburg, Yves’ Bistro in Alexandria.
★ ★ 1 / 2
Margaret River, Australia, $18
Good cabernet — by which I mean one that tastes of black fruit and herbs rather than brown sugar and chocolate extract — is difficult to find for under $20. This one delivers, with some extra minty Aussie flair. ABV: 14 percent.
Republic National: Available in the District at Circle Wine & Liquor, Rodman’s, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits; on the list at the Pursuit Wine Bar.