Exceptional Excellent Very Good
How to wash down the end-of-summer grilling season? With gamay, of course. The red grape of Beaujolais makes terrific wines with great fruit flavors, a medium body ideal for summer (with a slight chill) and a hint of smoke that echoes that aroma from the grill. Here are two delicious wines from gamay, a Beaujolais cru from Moulin-a-Vent and an unusual one from a bit farther north in Burgundy, where pinot noir reigns supreme. We also have a lovely Sicilian white wine, a delightful fizzy prosecco and a terrific bargain chardonnay. Good times.
Burgundy, France, $15
Although this captivating red wine hails from Burgundy, this is 100 percent gamay, the grape of Beaujolais to the south. Think of it as a Beaujolais with Burgundy sensibilities, a gamay impostor in the world of pinot noir. It’s earthy and minerally, as though black cherries were fossilized in limestone. Well, you’ll have to taste it to understand. It’s new to the market, so there should better availability in weeks to come. Alcohol by volume: 13 percent.
Distributed by Simon N Cellars: Available in Virginia at Leesburg Vintner, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview).
Sicily, Italy, $29
Italy produces some of the best, most underrated white wines in the world. This fine example tastes of red currant, wild herbs and sea air. Pair it with seafood pasta or risotto, and stamp your vinous passport for the Mediterranean. Made with organic grapes. ABV: 13 percent.
Distributed by Rapp Wine Co.: Available in the District at Batch 13, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, S&R Liquors, MacArthur Beverages; on the list at Centrolina, La Perla, Lupo Verde, Tartufo.
Beaujolais, France, $19
An excellent Beaujolais (gamay) from an outstanding vintage, this lovely wine offers aromas and flavors of smoky cherries, wild herbs and a cool summer evening. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Distributed by M. Touton: Available in the District at Burka’s Wine & Liquor, Capital City Wine & Spirits, Eye Street Cellars, Rodman’s.
Treviso, Italy, $13
Bright red fruit — think raspberries and red currants — with soft, bubbly acidity and just a hint of sweetness make this charming sparkling wine ideal for a late summer evening celebration. I generally prefer Spanish cava to prosecco, but this one is top-notch. ABV: 11 percent.
Distributed by DMV: Available in the District at Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Yes Organic Market (various locations). Available in Maryland at 5 O’clock Wines & Spirits in Owings Mills, the Italian Market in Annapolis, Last Call Liquors in Salisbury, Maple Lawn Wine & Spirits in Fulton, Mt. Vernon Supermarket in Baltimore, Old Farm Liquors in Frederick, the Winery in Chester, Yes Organic Market in Hyattsville.
Loire Valley, France, $10
Sometimes we don’t need greatness, just good quality and a good price. This unassuming chardonnay from the Loire Valley delivers — great flavors of tree fruits and a dry finish, at a bargain price. The distributor has just started selling the 2016; I tasted the 2015, which should still be on area shelves. ABV: 12 percent.
Distributed by Bacchus: Widely available in the District and Maryland, including in the District at Ace Beverage, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s, Wagshal’s Deli.
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.