★ ★ ★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.
Finger Lakes wines have become more available in the Washington area in recent years — not just Rieslings, but also sparkling wines and reds. I suggest trying any you can find on area shelves.
This week’s recommendations also include an inexpensive sparkling rosé from Italy to turn any weeknight dinner into a celebration.
★ ★ ★
Finger Lakes, N.Y., $20
Country Vintner: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Batch 13, Bell Wine & Spirits, Cairo Wine & Liquor, Continental Wine & Liquor, Glen’s Garden Market; on the list at Doi Moi, Proof, Rasika West End.
★ ★ ★
Finger Lakes, N.Y., $20
Country Vintner: Available in the District at Rodman’s; on the list at Marcel’s. Available in Maryland at Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits & Bistro in Beltsville. Available in Virginia at Crystal City Wine Shop, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview).
Finger Lakes, N.Y., $23
Although known for Riesling, the Finger Lakes region is staking a claim to sleek, light reds with moderate tannins and alcohol, a distinct contrast with California’s weightier wines. Cabernet franc is one of those varieties, though lemberger (a.k.a. blaufränkisch, a prominent red wine of Austria) rivals it for regional prominence. Hermann J. Wiemer is another producer you can rely on for quality and value with any wine. The Rieslings are outstanding, including a reserve bottling from the Magdalena Vineyard. The cabernet franc is spicy and rich, great to enjoy with charcuterie or grilled meats. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Bacchus: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Arrowine and Spirits, Glen’s Garden Market; on the list at Bistro Bis, Corduroy, Doi Moi, Komi, Iron Gate, Red Hen, Sona Creamery & Wine Bar. Available in Maryland at Midway Discount Liquors in Joppa, Wine Source and Wine Works in Baltimore; on the list at Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore.
Finger Lakes, N.Y., $27
Dr. Konstantin Frank was a pioneer of traditional vinifera grapes on the East Coast in the 1960s, and his namesake winery, now under the helm of fourth-generation Meaghan Frank, remains the Finger Lakes’ most prominent winery. The Dr. Frank 2014 Semi-Dry Riesling, which is not yet available in the Washington area, won Best of Show in the 2015 Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition. I’m also a fan of the winery’s rkatsiteli, a crisp white made from a grape native to Georgia. Chateau Frank is a sister label, under which the winery produces consistently delicious sparkling wines in the champagne tradition. ABV: 12.3 percent.
Nice Legs: Available in the District at Bell Wine & Spirits, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Glen’s Garden Market, Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits. Available in Virginia at Altura Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, the Vineyard in McLean, the Wine Outlet in Vienna.
This charming, inexpensive bubbly is made from pinot gris, a white grape with dark skins. The light pink color comes from keeping the juice on the skin for a few extra hours. ABV: 11.5 percent.
Dionysus: Available in the District at A. Litteri, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, MacArthur Beverages, MOM’s Organic Market, Rodman’s, U Street Wine & Beer, Wagshal’s Deli. Available in Maryland at Balducci’s and Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Bethesda Co-Op in Cabin John, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Bo Brooks Lighthouse Liquors in Baltimore, MOM’s Organic Market (Rockville), Rodman’s (Wheaton, White Flint), Snider’s Super Food in Silver Spring, Sugarloaf Wine Cellar in Germantown. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean), Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market in Richmond, MOM’s Organic Market (various locations), Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), Vienna Vintner; on the list at Azzurro in Richmond, Rustico (Alexandria).