Columnist, Food
Recommendations

★ ★ ★Exceptional  ★ ★Excellent ★Very Good

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.


(Deb Lindsey /For The Washington Post)

Choosing the right wine shouldn’t create stress, especially on Valentine’s Day. Here are five wines to help make any meal special, including a sweethearts’ dinner. They include a champagne for when the stakes are high and two fizzy rosés to help set a more relaxed but still romantic vibe. For good measure, there’s a serious red from Australia for the main course and an exotic and seductive Riesling to end the evening on a sweet note.

Champagne Moutard Cuvée des 6 Cépages Brut 2007

★ ★ ★

Champagne, France, $50

Most champagne is made with three grape varieties: chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. But regulations allow seven varieties in the blend. This one uses six, the extras being arbane, petit meslier and pinot blanc. They give the wine complexity, and the age in the bottle adds roundness and body. This wine tastes more expensive than it is. Alcohol by volume: 12 percent.

Distributed by M. Touton: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Wide World of Wines. Available in Maryland at Old Farm Liquors and Viniferous in Frederick, Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington. Available in Virginia at Chain Bridge Cellars and the Vineyard in McLean.

Schloss Saarstein Serrig Schloss Saarsteiner Riesling Spätlese 2013

★ ★ ★

Mosel, Germany, $18

Spätlese means “late harvest,” which in Germany describes the ripeness of the grapes when picked. This wine is sweet but not unctuously so, nicely balanced by acidity. Riesling fans will revel in its creamy texture and rich coconut flavors. Serve this with spicy dishes, semi-soft cheese or a simple dessert. The distributor recently switched to the 2014 vintage, but the 2013 I tasted recently is still available in stores. ABV: 8.5 percent.

Distributed by Elite: Available in the District at Arrowine and Spirits, Bloomingdale Liquor, Rodman’s, Virginia Market, Wagshal’s Deli; on the list at 701, Ankara, Prego Again, Slate Wine Bar & Bistro. Available in Maryland at Beer, Wine & Co., Georgetown Square Wine and Beer, and Geste Beer & Wine in Bethesda; Happy Grape in Baltimore; Silesia Liquors (2014 vintage) in Fort Washington; Mayo Liquors in Edgewater; Midway Discount Liquors in Joppa; Wine Bin in Ellicott City. On the list at Crush Wine House in Annapolis, Water for Chocolate in Baltimore, Mussel Bar and Grille in Bethesda, Vini Culture Wine Bar & Cafe in Frederick. Available in Virginia at Altura Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Locke Modern Country Store in Millwood; on the list at Vaso’s Kitchen and Vaso’s Mediterranean Bistro in Alexandria.

Shaw + Smith Shiraz 2013

★ ★1/2

Adelaide Hills, Australia, $35

This is a savory shiraz, not the overtly fruity, jammy style that came to characterize Australian wine a decade ago. Serve it with rich, hearty stews or roasts. ABV: 14 percent.

Distributed by Country Vintner: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Cork & Fork, D’Vines, S&R Liquors. Available in Maryland at Wine Cellars of Annapolis, Wine Harvest (Gaithersburg, Potomac). Available in Virginia at Cork & Fork in Gainesville, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview).

Royal Provence Rivarose Brut

★ ★

Provence, France, $15

The elegant bottle, the pale pink color and, well, just the thought of Provence suggest romance. ABV: 12 percent.

Distributed by M. Touton: Available in the District at Bacchus Wine Cellar, Bell Wine & Spirits, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Cork & Fork, Eye Street Cellars, Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits, Tenley Wine & Liquor; on the list at B Too. Available in Maryland at Old Farm Liquors in Frederick, Total Discount Liquors in Eldersburg. Available in Virginia at Crystal City Wine Shop, the Vineyard in McLean, Wegmans (various locations).

Shindig Fizzi Pink 2014

★ ★

Finger Lakes, N.Y., $20

This fun, bubbly rosé is made from cabernet franc, then carbonated rather than undergoing a second fermentation in the champagne style. I was skeptical at first, because it seemed gimmicky, but it won me over with its charm. Think of this as a date wine without the added pressure of an expensive champagne. ABV: 12.5 percent.

Distributed by Siema: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits; on the list at Eno Wine Bar. Available in Maryland at Fenwick Beer & Wine in Silver Spring, Pinky & Pepe’s Grape Escape in Gaithersburg. Available in Virginia at Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria.