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Here are wines for your summer sipping, including a reminder to explore local wineries and try something new.
Willamette Valley, Ore., $22
This gorgeous rosé was a showstopper when I tried it recently with a group of friends over a spicy Chinese meal. Conversation came to a halt — nearly unthinkable at a Chinese table — as everyone stared at their wine glasses and marveled at this rosé’s soft, mouth-coating texture, its vibrant fruit flavors and how well it played with the food. This one is hard to find, but it points to Oregon pinot as a good alternative to a Sancerre rosé. Alcohol by volume: 12.5 percent.
Distributed by Country Vintner: On the list in the District at Bistro Bis. Available in Maryland at Grand Cru in Baltimore; Red: Wine, Beer & Spirits in Clarksville; Total Discount Liquors in Eldersburg; on the list at Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Oakton Wine Shop; on the list at Cedar Knoll and Sonoma Cellar in Alexandria.
Pfalz, Germany, $13
Lively acidity and vibrant red fruit flavors give this pinot gris considerably more interest than most supermarket pinot grigios from Italy and with less heft than pinot gris from Alsace. Produced by Ernst Loosen, one of Germany’s most famous vintners. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Distributed by Country Vintner: Available in the District at Rodman’s; on the list at All Souls, Cafe Berlin, Daikaya, Flight, the Graham Georgetown, Sonoma. Available in Maryland at Cranbrook Liquors in Cockeysville, Midway Discount Liquors in Joppa, Old Town Market in Kensington, Orion Wine & Spirits in Frederick, Veridian Market & Wine in Silver Spring, Wine Bin in Ellicott City; on the list at Prost in Port Deposit, the Tasting Room in Frederick. Available in Virginia at the Bottle Stop in Occoquan, Galloping Grape in Warrenton, Swirl & Sip in Fairfax, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), Wegmans (Alexandria, Fairfax, Lake Manassas).
Here’s your “drink local” reminder. Six years after the winery was purchased by Steve and Jean Case of AOL fame, and two years after Ben Jordan came aboard as winemaker, Early Mountain seems to be hitting its stride. This sprightly rosé is made with merlot and syrah, and features a pale, pink color and lively refreshing acidity to match its melon and strawberry flavors. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Distributed by the winery: Available at the winery and at Glen’s Garden Market (Dupont Circle, Shaw) in the District, and Barrel Thief Wine Shop & Cafe in Richmond.
Willamette Valley, Ore., $16
This is one of those quirky white blends at which Oregon excels. Wineries plant a number of grape varieties to see what might work in their vineyards and climate, then experiment with creative blends that follow no Old World paradigm, just the winemaker’s palate. The Anne Amie Amrita combines Riesling, Muller-Thurgau, pinot blanc, Viognier, gewurztraminer and chardonnay into a bright fruit-basket of a wine. A slight effervescence makes it more refreshing. This is delicious by itself and should pair well with a variety of seafood or spicy dishes. Alcohol by volume: 12.6 percent.
Distributed by Country Vintner: Available in the District at Cork Market; on the list at Slate Wine Bar + Bistro. Available in Maryland at Fenwick Beer & Wine in Silver Spring; General’s Wine & Spirits in Crownsville, Red: Wine, Beer & Spirits in Clarksville. Available in Virginia at Cheesetique (Ballston), Unwined (Alexandria).
Sancerre, France, $21
This rosé of pinot noir is soft and supple, with juicy strawberry and minty herb flavors. Enjoy this with salmon. Alcohol by volume: 14 percent.
Distributed by Dionysus: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Rodman’s, Whole Foods Market (Foggy Bottom, P Street, Tenleytown); on the list at Proof. Available in Maryland at Balducci’s and Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Rodman’s in White Flint. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean), Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), Whole Foods Market (Alexandria, Arlington, Pentagon City).
Petite sirah can be a bruiser, but this one is supple and elegant, moderated perhaps by some Malbec and teroldego added to the blend. Flavors of blackberry, sage and mint are elevated by fresh acidity. Try this with steaks, burgers or meat-loaded pizza. Labeled as Lodi Certified Green Sustainable. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Distributed by DMV: Available in the District at Paul’s of Chevy Chase. Available in Maryland at Beers & Cheers in Germantown; Crescent Beer & Wine in Bowie; Diamond Square Beer & Wine and Pinky & Pepe’s Grape Escape in Gaithersburg; Eastport Liquors and the Italian Market in Annapolis; Franklin’s Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville; Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; State Line Liquors in Elkton; Wine Bin in Ellicott City; Woodmoor Supermarket in Silver Spring.
Marche, Italy, $23
Daniele Cernilli, in “The Ultimate Guide to Italian Wine 2017,” named Bucci’s Riserva 2013 Verdicchio as his white wine of the year. It can still be found in some places in the District and Maryland at about $60 retail. The classico is nearly as delicious and a much better value. I love verdicchio for its faint saline quality, with a hint of seashore herbs and a hint of nuttiness. It’s one of my favorite wines with simple seafood dishes. Branzino, anyone? ABV: 13 percent.
Distributed by Bacchus in the District and Maryland, Robins Cellars in Virginia: Available in the District at Cairo Wine & Liquor, Calvert Woodley (the 2014), Paul’s of Chevy Chase; on the list at Alta Strada, Fiola Mare, Lupo Verde, Sfoglina Pasta House. On the list in Maryland at Cinghiale Osteria in Baltimore.
Piemonte, Italy, $19
Tart red fruit flavors and lively acidity make this wine refreshing and food friendly — ideal for burgers or steaks from the grill. ABV: 14 percent.
Distributed by M. Touton Selection: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, MacArthur Beverages, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg, Old Farm Liquors in Frederick. Available in Virginia at Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean and several Kroger locations.
Languedoc, France, $10
This wine has been a summer staple in the Washington-area market for years. While the price has crept up over time (it can still be found on sale), I’m glad to say the quality remains high, with hints of white flowers, talc and sea air. Find this at a competitive discount and buy a case. It will keep rewarding you, so long as you remember to put another bottle in the refrigerator. The same wine is available in a three-liter bag-in-the-box format as “La Petite Frog.” ABV: 12.5 percent.
Distributed by Kysela: Widely available in the District, Maryland and Virginia.
Penedes, Spain, $14
Cava is an excellent inexpensive bubbly for brightening up an evening or turning an average day into a celebration. This one is a bit more champagne-like because of the addition of chardonnay to the blend of traditional Spanish grapes. That yields more body and brighter fruit flavors. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Bell Wine & Spirits, the Bottle Shop, Rodman’s, S&R Liquors; on the list at many restaurants. Available in Maryland at the Bottle Shop in Potomac, Capital Beer & Wine in Bethesda, DJ Liquors in Frederick, Mays Chapel Wine & Spirit Shop in Timonium, Potomac Gourmet Market in National Harbor, Snider’s Super Foods and Veridian Market & Wine in Silver Spring, Wine Bin in Ellicott City; on the list at Botanero in Rockville, Clyde’s (Chevy Chase, Columbia, Tower Oaks), Mussel Bar and Grille (Baltimore, Bethesda). Available in Virginia at Fern Street Gourmet and Gourmet Center & Delicatessen in Alexandria, Gallery Market & Cafe and Streets Market & Cafe in Arlington; on the list at Clyde’s (Alexandria, Willow Creek Farm), La Tasca (Arlington), Mussel Bar and Grille in Arlington.
Pays d’Oc, France, $9
This delightful, inexpensive rosé is a tremendous value vintage after vintage. It features flavors of tart melons, orange peel and bitter herbs. With just a little imagination, you might even taste sunshine. Enjoy this by itself or with spicy, garlicky foods. ABV: 11 percent.
Distributed by Dionysus: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, MacArthur Beverages, Rodman’s, Whole Foods Market (Foggy Bottom, H Street NE, P Street NW, Tenleytown). Available in Maryland at Balducci’s, Bradley Food & Beverage, Capital Beer & Wine, Cork 57 Beer and Wine and Georgetown Square Wine and Beer in Bethesda; Finewine.com in Gaithersburg; Rodman’s (Wheaton, White Flint); Wine Cellars of Annapolis; Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean), Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean, Ellwood Thompson’s Natural Market in Richmond, Grapevine in Warrenton, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), Westover Market in Arlington, Whole Foods Market (Alexandria, Arlington, Ashburn, Fair Lakes).
Rioja, Spain, $10
This organic rosé, made from 100 percent garnacha (grenache) grapes, is juicy with strawberry and raspberry flavors and an appealing bitterness that makes the finish refreshing. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Distributed by Dionysus: Available in the District at A. Litteri, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Mom’s Organic Market, Rodman’s; on the list at Estadio. Available in Maryland at Balducci’s and Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Mom’s Organic Market in Rockville, Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean), Mom’s Organic Market (Alexandria, Arlington, Herndon, Merrifield, Woodbridge), Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview).
Sicily, Italy, $11
This is a wine you’ll want to buy by the case and use as your summer house white. Certified organic, with an innovative twist-off cork stopper, the wine is racy, citrusy and scintillatingly refreshing. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Distributed by M. Touton: Available in the District at Capital City Wine & Spirits, Magruder’s, Mimi’s Convenience Mart, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Oasis Gourmet Deli, Open Door Market, Rodman’s, Sheffield Wine & Liquor Shoppe, Sunset Wine & Spirits, Virginia Market; on the list at Lillie’s Restaurant and Bar, Windows Cafe & Market. Available in Maryland at 108 Deli & Liquor, Village Liquors and Red: Wine Beer & Spirits in Clarksville; Bethesda Co-Op in Cabin John; Bottle Shop in Potomac; Cork ’n Bottle Liquor in Laurel; Frederick Wine House, Old Farm Liquors, Plus Mart, Riverside Liquors and ’Ye Olde Spirit Shop in Frederick; Grosvenor Market in Rockville; Quench! Beer-Wine-Deli in Silver Spring; the Wine Shoppe in Waldorf; Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s in Alexandria, Crystal City Wine Shop, D’Vine Wines in Winchester; Ellwood Thompson’s Natural Market and Union Market in Richmond; Market Street Wineshop in Charlottesville; the Vineyard in McLean; on the list at the Caboose in Ashland, Giardino in Springfield, Paradiso in Alexandria.
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.