Exceptional Excellent Very Good
Just when I thought I had tasted and recommended enough rosé for the season, two more of them come along. After all, when the heat and humidity settle in, what’s better than drinking pink to help us chill out? Because there might be some red meat on the grill, here are two delicious reds. And to celebrate the July Fourth, a California sparkler with a French pedigree.
Rhone Valley, France, $33
An earthy, savory blend of grenache, syrah and mourvedre, this is classic Rhone Valley red, with flavors of dark fruits and wild herbs. It wants to keep company with food, especially braised, grilled or smoked meats. Alcohol by volume: 14.5 percent.
Distributed by Dionysus: Available in the District at Eye Street Cellars, Rodman’s, Whole Foods Market (Foggy Bottom, P Street, Tenleytown). Available in Maryland at Balducci’s and Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Wine Source in Baltimore.
Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, France, $19
It is probably the palest rosé I’ve tasted this year — it has virtually no color — and it might also be the best. Bursting with red currant and melon flavors, the wine seems to carry a hint of sea air across a long, satisfying finish. Simply fantastic. ABV: 13 percent.
Distributed by Prestige in the District and Maryland, Virginia Imports in Virginia: Available in the District at Bell Wine & Spirits, Calvert Woodley, Dupont Market, Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits, MacArthur Beverages, Wardman Wines, Whole Foods Market (P Street); on the list at Flight, Thip Khao. Widely available in Maryland. Available in Virginia at Dominion Wine and Beer in Falls Church, Norm’s Beer & Wine in Vienna, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), Wine House in Fairfax; on the list at Bazin’s on Church and Clarity in Vienna, Brine in Falls Church, Landini Brothers in Alexandria, Oakton Wine Bistro, Villa Mozart in Fairfax.
Spain’s Basque region gives us this scintillating rosé with a vibrant color — more Barbie Pink than Millennial Pink. It’s fruitiness (raspberry and cranberry, with some citrus) and acidity make it an ideal partner for zesty, spicy foods. ABV: 12 percent.
Distributed by M. Touton: Available in the District at Capital City Wine & Spirits, Eye Street Cellars, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Dawson’s Liquors in Severna Park; Old Farm Liquors and Viniferous in Frederick; Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits & Bistro in Beltsville. Available in Virginia at Specials Wine Cellar in Kilmarnock, the Vineyard in McLean.
Here’s a new California bubbly made by Pommery, a French champagne house. It’s soft and ripe, with flavors of apples and pears, and a hint of pastry crust. The price is nice, too. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Distributed by M. Touton: Available in the District at Cairo Wine & Liquor, Capital City Wine & Spirits, Eye Street Cellars, Magruder’s, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at the Bottle Shop in Potomac, Cork ’n Bottle Liquor in Laurel, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg, Georgetown Square Wine and Beer in Bethesda, Old Farm Liquors and Riverside Liquors in Frederick, Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington, Wine Harvest (Gaithersburg, Potomac).
Bierzo, Spain, $17
The mencia grape of northwestern Spain produces wine that resembles cabernet franc, with smoky white pepper and Bing cherries. Give this beauty a slight chill and pair it with burgers off the grill. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Quincy Liquor; on the list at Arroz, the Salt Line, Siren and Taberna del Alabardero. Available in Maryland at Captains Market in Cabin John, Downtown Crown Wine and Beer and Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Georgetown Square Wine and Beer in Bethesda, Lyndwood Square Wine and Spirits in Elkridge, Snider’s Super Foods in Silver Spring, Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-op in Takoma Park, the Wine Bin in Ellicott City; on the list at Botanero in Rockville, Guardado’s and TapaBar in Bethesda. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Balducci’s in Alexandria; on the list at Requin in Fairfax.
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.