Exceptional Excellent Very Good
This week’s greatest value hails from Gascony in southwestern France, a source mostly for distilled spirits, but also for delicious inexpensive white wines. We also have an Alsace riesling to match hearty fall dishes, a Bordeaux to illustrate the importance of vintage, and a bubbly rosé to get the party started.
La Salette 2018
Cotes de Gascogne, France, $9
Gascony grows most of its grapes for distillation into brandy, but the table wines can be delicious and cheap. This juicy white blend is 80 percent colombard, familiar to wine drinkers of a certain age as the mainstay grape of American chablis. The rest is gros manseng and ugni blanc. You won’t want to waste time contemplating this crowd pleaser, because you’ll want to snag another pour before it’s gone. Alcohol by volume: 12 percent.
Imported and distributed by Kysela: Available in the District at Cairo Wine & Liquor, Magruder’s, Sheffield Wine & Liquor Shoppe. Available in Maryland at Bethesda Co-Op in Cabin John, Bo Brooks Lighthouse Liquors, the Old Vine and Wine Source in Baltimore, the Bottle Shop in Potomac, Choice Wine & Beer in Wheaton, Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring, College Square Liquors in Westminster, Dunkirk Wine & Spirits in Dunkirk, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Georgetown Square Wine and Beer and Lance’s Beer and Wine in Bethesda, Hair o’ the Dog in Easton, Maple Lawn Wine & Spirits in Fulton, Mills Fine Wine and Spirits in Annapolis, Montgomery County Wine & Liquor Stores (various), Old Town Market in Kensington, Seneca Convenience in Germantown, Spin the Bottle Wine Co. in Frederick, Westside Wine Cellar and Beer in Rockville, Wine Loft in Pikesville. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Basic Necessities in Nellysford, the Caboose Market & Cafe in Ashland, the Cheese Shop in Williamsburg, Farm Fresh and Union Market in Richmond, Kroger (North Chesterfield, Richmond, Tabb), Leesburg Vintner in Leesburg, Locke Store in Millwood, Market Street Wineshop in Charlottesville, Puck’s Market in Henrico.
Mader Riesling 2017
Alsace, France, $22
Mader produces consistently good riesling, and the 2017 is a delight, with ripe apricot and peach flavors and some stony mineral structure. This wine is dry, so riesling-phobes who shy away thinking it’s always sweet should feel confident enough to give it a try. ABV: 13 percent.
Imported and distributed by Elite: Available in the District at the Bottle Shop, Eye Street Cellars, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Kenilworth Wine & Spirits in Towson, Quarry Wine & Spirits and Wine Source in Baltimore, State Line Liquors in Elkton. Available in Virginia at Classic Wines in Great Falls, Once Upon a Vine (South) and Richmond Wine Station in Richmond, Sonoma Cellar in Alexandria, Whole Foods Market (Ashburn, Fairlakes, Vienna), Wine Styles in Montclair.
Château Peynaud-Bagnac 2017
Bordeaux, France, $13
Here’s a fun exercise in vintage variation. Many Bordeaux are arriving on the market from the fabulous 2016 vintage, and here’s an early entry (the first I’ve seen), from the troublesome rainy 2017s. I encourage anyone just learning about wine, or curious about why we should pay attention to vintage, to try this against a similarly priced 2016. The 2017 Peynaud-Bagnac, a blend of 65 percent merlot, 30 percent cabernet sauvignon and 5 percent cabernet franc, is textbook Bordeaux, with black fruit flavors and a mineral note commonly called graphite or pencil shavings. It’s medium-bodied and somewhat angular, while a 2016 is likely to be riper and more mouthfilling. The 2017s will be a vintage to enjoy while waiting for the 2016s to develop in the cellar, even at this price level. ABV: 13 percent.
Imported by Tri-Vin, distributed by DMV: Available in the District at Modern Liquors, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Riggs Liquor, Rodman’s, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Yes! Organic Market (Brookland, Georgia Avenue). Available in Maryland at Apple Greene Wine & Spirits and Dunkirk Wine & Spirits in Dunkirk, Eastport Liquors and the Italian Market in Annapolis, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Frederick Wine House, Old Farm Liquors and Riverside Liquors in Frederick, Georgetown Square Wine and Beer in Bethesda, Hop N Cru in Germantown, Marketplace Wine & Spirits in California, On the Vine Craft Beer and Wine in Rockville, Pine Orchard Liquors in Ellicott City, Town Center Market in Riverdale Park, Town & Country Wine Liquor Etc. in Easton, Westside Wine Cellar & Beer in Derwood.
Baron Maxime Brut Rosé Reserve Blend No. 5
Here’s a simple and straightforward rosé bubbly to put you in a celebratory mood. The flavors are bright strawberry and raspberry, ideal as a pick-me-up or to splash in a cocktail. ABV: 12 percent.
Imported by G&B, distributed by Global: Available in the District at Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, On The Vine Craft Beer and Wine and the Rockville Pike Craft Beer, Wine & More in Rockville.
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.