Exceptional Excellent Very Good
If you’re the type of wine drinker who stops enjoying rosé after Labor Day, well, you’re missing out on something. But if this is your last hurrah for the pink stuff this season, why not make it an interesting wine, such as a scintillating Greek rosé from an endangered grape variety being rescued by a history-loving vintner? Or a classically styled rosé from France’s Mediterranean shores? Then, after you’ve slaked your thirst, enjoy your cookout with some hearty Rhone reds, or a delightful bargain gruner veltliner from Austria.
Voudomato is an indigenous Greek red grape variety vintner George Gavalas is trying to rescue from obscurity. It appeals to my sense of adventure and exploration, as well as my love of puns. It is deliciously fruity, with an herbal bitterness that makes it refreshing, an ideal pairing with that voodoo with tomato that you do so well. Alcohol by volume: 12.5 percent.
Imported and distributed by Dionysos Imports: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Rodman’s; on the list at Iron Gate, Kapnos, Zorba’s Cafe. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Wells Discount Liquors in Baltimore; on the list at Vasili’s Kitchen in Gaithersburg, Ouzo Bay in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), the Wine Attic in Clifton, WineStyles (Montclair); on the list at Giorgio’s Family Restaurant in Dumfries.
Costieres de Nimes, France, $15
This is a deep, savory Rhone-style red blend. Look for scents of wild herbs and sea air, known by wine lovers as “garrigue.” These give way to deep flavors of dark fruits and the bright warmth of Mediterranean sunshine. ABV: 14 percent.
Imported and distributed by Simon ‘N’ Cellars: Available in Maryland at Wine Cellars of Annapolis. Available in Virginia at Leesburg Vintner in Leesburg, Tastings of Charlottesville and Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview).
Fans of “natural wines” will want to seek out this Rhone-style blend of Grenache and cinsault, simply labeled as Vin de France. While the grapes are sourced from southern France, the wine is made by the folks behind Domaine de L’Ecu, a leading producer of Muscadet in the Loire. The wine is vibrant and fruity, with a noticeable lift from volatile acidity, a hallmark of the natural wine category. ABV: 14.5 percent.
Imported and distributed by Georgian House of Greater Washington: Available in the District at Batch 13, Potomac Wine & Spirits; on the list at Maydan. Available in Maryland at Wine Source in Baltimore; on the list at Clavel in Baltimore.
Pays d'Oc, France, $14
This wine, from vineyards near Carcassonne along France’s Mediterranean coast, is classic rosé — flavors of citrus and melon, with wild herbs and a hint of sea air. Soak this up with the late-summer sunshine and some garlicky, spicy snacks. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Imported by Artisans & Vines; distributed by Hop and Wine in the District, by Artisans & Vines in Maryland: Available in the District at Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer and Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Fenwick Beer & Wine, Parkway Deli & Restaurant and Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring, Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-op in Takoma Park, Village Beer & Fine Wine in Rockville.
Austria, $12 (1 liter)
Gruner Veltliner is one of my favorite white wines; top bottlings offer impressive complexity and nuance, while basic offerings like this Ruttenstock provide pure, simple pleasure. Put this in the “patio pounder” category, as it goes down easily. So it’s a good thing it comes in a liter-size bottle, because you’ll be looking for the extra wine! ABV: 12 percent.
Klaus Wittauer Selection, imported by Select Wines and Siema, distributed by Siema in the District, Maryland and most of Virginia, by Select Wines in Northern Virginia: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Wagshal’s (Massachusetts Avenue, New Mexico Avenue), Wardman Wines; on the list at Cafe Berlin. Available in Maryland at Cranberry Liquors in Westminster, Dunkirk Wine & Spirits in Dunkirk, Hop N Grape in Bethesda, Orion Wine & Spirits in Frederick, Town & Country Wine Liquor Etc. and Wishing Well Liquors in Easton, Wine Bin in Ellicott City. Available in Virginia at Bon Vivant Wine & Brew in Smithfield, Capital Wine in Fredericksburg, Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean, Foods of All Nations and Tastings of Charlottesville in Charlottesville, Great Bottles in Suffolk, Little Washington Winery in Washington, Oakton Wine Shop in Oakton, Screwtop Wine Bar & Cheese Shop in Arlington, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), Vienna Vintner in Vienna, Vino Market in Midlothian; on the list at Metzger Bar & Butchery in Richmond, Rincome in Arlington, Tavola in Charlottesville, Trummer’s Coffee & Wine Bar in Gainesville, Trummer’s on Main in Clifton.
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.