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When the temperature soars, I often prefer red wines that have not been aged in oak or treated with wood in any way. Here are three examples of unoaked reds. Give them just a slight chill and enjoy them during your cookouts. For good measure, we also have a crisp sauvignon blanc and a floral rosé.
Maule Valley, Chile, $15
You won’t find many wines like this: It’s a blend of carmenere, an old Bordeaux variety now grown extensively in Chile and very few other places; carignan, a rustic Mediterranean red grape variety, and pais, or mission, the grape planted by Spanish missionaries throughout Spain’s territories in the Americas. And it’s lovely, a liquid fruit basket chock full of berries. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find. Alcohol by volume: 13.1 percent.
Distributed by Bacchus: On the list in the District at MXDC, Old Ebbitt Grill. Available in Maryland at Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits in Annapolis, Dawson’s Market in Rockville, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg, Town & Country Wine Liquor Etc. in Easton.
Casablanca Valley, Chile, $17
This is textbook cool-climate sauvignon blanc, offering refreshing acidity and tropical fruit flavors — more guava than passion fruit. It’s great by itself or with lighter seafood and salad dishes. The winery also makes a nice pinot noir. Labeled as fair trade. ABV: 13 percent.
Distributed by DMV: Available in the District at Paul’s of Chevy Chase. Available in Maryland at Bethesda Co-Op in Cabin John, Colonial Liquors in La Plata, Eastport Liquors in Annapolis, Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store and Town Center Wine & Spirits in Hyattsville, Highland Wine & Spirits in Highland, Hunt Valley Wine, Liquor & Beer in Cockeysville, Kettering Liquors in Upper Marlboro, Mt. Vernon Supermarket in Baltimore, Old Farm Liquors in Frederick, Pinky & Pepe’s Grape Escape in Gaithersburg, Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring, Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-Op in Takoma Park, Village Pump Liquors in College Park.
Ribera del Duero, Spain, $14
Tinta del Pais is another name for tempranillo (and not to be confused with pais, or mission, which appears in the J. Bouchon Canto Sur). This wine has dark fruit flavors and a whiff of smoke, suggesting barbecue or grilled burgers and veggies. ABV: 14 percent.
Distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Arrowine and Spirits, Gallagher & Graham Fine Spirits, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Tunnel Wines & Spirits, Wardman Wines, Yes! Organic Market (14th Street); on the list at Arroz, Eno Wine Bar, the Heights, Kellari, Logan Tavern, Prego Again. Available in Maryland at Bethesda Market and Montgomery Gourmet Beer & Wine in Bethesda, the Bottle Shop in Potomac, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer and Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Friendship Wine & Liquor in Abingdon, Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring, Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-Op in Takoma Park; on the list at Botanero in Rockville, Guardado’s and Mussel Bar and Grille in Bethesda, Parts & Labor in Baltimore,Vineyards Elite in Pikesville and Wild Tomato in Cabin John.
Ribera del Duero, Spain, $14
To show tempranillo’s diversity, here’s a rosado: fairly dark pink in color and, as the name suggests, floral. Give this beauty a good chill and enjoy it in your garden. ABV: 13 percent.
Distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Chat’s Liquors, Eye Street Cellars, Quincy Liquor, Rodman’s, Sara’s Market, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, S&R Liquors, Virginia Market; widely available on the list. Available in Maryland at Antietam Spirits in Boonsboro, Cafe Liquor in Hagerstown, Cork & Fork in Bethesda, Foundry Row Wine & Spirits in Owings Mills, Friendship Wine & Liquor in Abingdon, Lakefront Fine Wine & Spirits in Frederick, Pigtown Wine, Beer & Liquors in Baltimore, Shawan Liquors in Cockeysville, Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-Op in Takoma Park. Available in Virginia at Cheesetique (Alexandria, Ballston, Shirlington), Junction Bakery & Bistro in Alexandria, Market Street Wineshop (Downtown and Uptown) in Charlottesville, Shields Market and Union Market in Richmond, Streets Market and Cafe in Arlington, Vino Market in Midlothian.
Languedoc, France, $10
This zippy red blend of syrah and grenache noir features the ripe black fruit flavors and earthy notes common to wines of the Rhone Valley and southern France. It’s from the same producer as Le Petit Balthazar, an inexpensive and delicious rosé. The “bio” in the name indicates it was made with organic grapes. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Distributed by Dionysus: Available in the District at Mom’s Organic Market, Rodman’s, Whole Foods Market (P Street). Available in Maryland at Balducci’s, Bradley Food & Beverage and Cork 57 Beer and Wine in Bethesda, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg, Mom’s Organic Market (Rockville), Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean), Grapevine in Warrenton, Mom’s Organic Market (various locations), Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview).
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.