Exceptional Excellent Very Good
The surge in popularity for rosé over the past few years means there are many more in the market. These include local wines, as everyone wants on the bandwagon, and wines with cute labels, wanting to stand out from the pack. This week’s recommendations include one of each — a delicious pink from one of Virginia’s most improved wineries and a kitschy label from southern France. Hey, it rhymes, and it tastes great! We also have a delicious pinot noir from Patagonia, in southern Argentina, an obscure white from the French Alps, and a Spanish Albarino destined for seafood.
Early Mountain is a Virginia winery riding a rocket. Since Jean and Steve Case, of AOL fame, bought the property in 2011, they have invested in the facility and the vineyards, renovating the former and expanding the latter. They have also brought in an exceptional team headed by chief winemaker Ben Jordan. Current releases include delicious chardonnay and cabernet franc from Quaker Run Vineyard, a leased property in the Blue Ridge foothills. New labels feature topographical maps that suggest wines rooted in terroir, and an I Ching-style representation of the initials EM to suggest a Tao-like philosophy. Whatever. The proof is inside the bottle, not on the label. This rosé is Early Mountain’s most widely available wine in distribution; it’s a bit pricey at $25, but it is delicious. Alcohol by volume: 12.5 percent.
Distributed by the winery: Availability information at earlymountain.com/find-our-wine.
Cotes-du-Rhone, France, $15
This wine may at first blush seem as though it’s driven by marketing, but taste it, and you’ll discover it’s a crisp, tasty rosé, ideal for starting a meal or for accompanying spicy foods. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Distributed by DMV: Available in the District at Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s, Watergate Vintners & Spirits. Available in Maryland at Cranberry Liquors in Westminster; Dawson’s Liquors in Severna Park; Glenwood Wine & Spirits in Glenwood; Good to Go in Friendsville; Hair O’ the Dog in Easton; Hunt Valley Wine, Liquor & Beer in Cockeysville; Mt. Airy Liquors in Mount Airy; Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; Old Orchard Liquors and Wooden Keg Liquors in Hagerstown; Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring; the Wine Bar in Cambridge. Available in Virginia at Wegmans (various locations).
Savoie, France, $15
I always enjoy tasting a wine I’ve never heard of before; there’s no pressure, only fun. The Savoie region of southeastern France, in the Alps, is best known for wines from Apremont — crisp and acidic, a jolt to revive you after a long afternoon on the ski slopes. Roussette is more like a warm embrace, comforting after a day of hiking — or more realistically, gardening. ABV: 13 percent.
Distributed by Dionysos: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Rodman’s; on the list at DBGB, Maxwell Park. Available in Maryland at Balducci’s and Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Bethesda Co-Op in Cabin John, Bo Brooks Lighthouse Liquors and Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean).
Patagonia, Argentina, $21
The Neuquen area of Patagonia, sometimes marketed as NQN, is one of Argentina’s most exciting wine regions. This is a racy, full-throttled pinot noir that combines the characteristics of high altitude and cool climate into a stylish, lovely wine. I tasted the 2014; the distributor is now selling the 2017 vintage of this wine. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Distributed by Global Wines: Available in the District at Rodman’s, Watergate Vintners & Spirits. Available in Maryland at Beer, Wine & Co. and Georgetown Square Wine and Beer in Bethesda; Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg; Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-Op in Takoma Park; the Wine Harvest (Gaithersburg, Potomac). Available in Virginia at Euro Market & Cafe and Streets Market in Arlington.
Rias Baixas, Spain, $17
Albarino sings with seafood — fish on the grill, ceviche, smoked trout or salmon, seafood salad. You name it, albarino will match it. This wine is no exception. ABV: 13 percent.
Distributed by DMV: Available in the District at Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Angels Food Market in Pasadena; Angel’s Share Wine & Spirits in Gambrills; Cheers & Spirits and Fishpaws Marketplace in Arnold; Eastport Liquors and Giolitti Delicatessen in Annapolis; Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville; Glenwood Wine & Spirits in Glenwood; Hop N Grape in North Bethesda; Hunt Valley Wine, Liquor & Beer in Cockeysville; Landover Liquor in Landover; Lyndwood Square Wine and Spirits in Elkridge; McHenry Beverage Shoppe in McHenry; Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; Town and Country Liquors in Easton; Whitey’s Liquors in Linthicum Heights; Wooden Keg Liquors in Hagerstown; Ye Olde Package Goods in Sykesville. Available in Virginia at Wegmans (various locations).
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.CORECTION: An earlier version of this list misspelled the name of the wine distributor Dionysos.