Columnist, Food

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Availability information is based on distributor records. Wines might not be in stock at every listed store and might be available at additional stores. Check to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

Here are five wines to stimulate your palate during Labor Day cookouts and beyond.

— D.M.

Jean Reverdy et Fils La Reine Blanche 2012


Sancerre, France, $24

Here’s a textbook sauvignon blanc in the mineral, earthy style of the Loire Valley. It’s fresh and crisp, with flavors of passion fruit and lime zest, but the overall impression is of stones. Jean Reverdy also makes a delightful rosé of pinot noir called Les Villots that is still available on area retail shelves at the same price. Alcohol content: 13 percent.

Kysela: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Bell Wine & Spirits, Calvert Woodley, Circle Wine & Liquor, DCanter, Fresh & Green’s, Georgetown Wine & Spirits, MacArthur Beverages, Magruder’s, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s; on the list at BlackSalt. Available in Maryland at Balducci’s (Bethesda), the Bottle Shop in Potomac, Columbia Fine Wine & Spirits, Eastport Liquors and Mills Fine Wine and Spirits in Annapolis, in Gaithersburg, Goska’s Liquors in Severna Park, Lyndwood Square Wine and Spirits and the Perfect Pour in Elkridge, Pine Orchard Liquor in Ellicott City. Widely available in Virginia, including at Aldie Peddler, Arrowine and Cheese and Curious Grape in Arlington, Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean), D’Vine Wines and Throx Country Store in Winchester, Dominion Wine and Beer in Falls Church, Norm’s Beer & Wine in Vienna, Wine Cabinet in Reston, Wine Cellar in Middleburg, Wegmans (Fredericksburg, Woodbridge), Unwined in Alexandria.

Haut Marin Cuvée Marine 2012 


Gascony, France, $10

I’ve recommended this wine in previous vintages. It is an excellent example of the fun, juicy-fruit whites that have emerged from Gascony, a region where most of the wine traditionally was distilled into Armagnac or brandy. This charmer shoves a squishy ripe peach into your maw and says “Summer!” 11.5 percent.

Elite: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Bacchus Wine Cellar, Bell Wine & Spirits, Cork & Fork, Rodman’s; on the list at Pound the Hill. Available in Maryland at Adega Wine Cellars in Silver Spring, Dawson’s Market in Rockville, in Gaithersburg, Goska’s Liquors in Severna Park, Wine Bin in Ellicott City, Wine Cellar in Annapolis, World Gourmet in Potomac; on the list at 8407 Kitchen Bar in Silver Spring, Donna’s Cafe and Maggie’s Farm in Baltimore, Persimmon in Bethesda, Shab Row Bistro in Frederick. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean), Fern Street Gourmet in Alexandria, all area Whole Foods Market locations; on the list at Can Can in Richmond, Willow in Arlington.


Domaine de Viranel Trilogie 2011

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Herault, France, $10

This bargain wine is an unusual blend of syrah, Alicante bouschet and cabernet sauvignon, yet it has the traditional southern French aromas and flavors of lavender, violets and blackberries. It’s light-bodied, which makes it suitable for sipping by itself, but I wouldn’t hesitate to pair it with pizza or a burger from the grill. The plain white label with the simple script shows that the winery is putting its effort into the wine rather than the marketing. Kudos for that! 13.5 percent.

Dionysus: Available in the District at Rodman’s, Wagshal’s Deli, Whole Foods Market (Tenleytown). Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Iron Bridge Wine in Columbia, Wine Cellar in Annapolis. Available in Virginia at Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), Whole Foods Market (Alexandria, Vienna); on the list at Elmwood at Sparks in Orange.

Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

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California, $20

This popular label delivers on classic cabernet flavors of blackberries with a dollop of oaky vanilla. It’s a bit sweet on the finish, so pair it with grilled meats and a hint of spicy heat for balance. 13.8 percent.

Bacchus: Available in the District at A-1 Wines & Liquors, Calvert Woodley, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Potomac Wine & Spirits, Safeway (Palisades, Southeast), Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits, S&S Liquors. Widely available in Maryland, including at Beltway Fine Wine & Spirits in Towson; Cranbrook Liquors and Hunt Valley Wine, Liquor & Beer in Cockeysville; Total Wine & More (Laurel, formerly Corridor Wine & Spirits). 


Garnacha de Fuego Old Vines 2012

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Aragon, Spain, $9

It’s spicy and rich, with some grip, as if the wine were still clinging to the steep hillsides at 3,000 feet elevation in Spain’s Aragon region. A delicious red for casual cookouts. 14.5 percent.

Country Vintner: Available in the District at Cairo Wine & Liquor, Calvert Woodley, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Pine Orchard Wine in Ellicott City, Rodman’s (Wheaton, White Flint), Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Wine Cabinet in Reston, various Wegmans and Whole Foods Market locations.

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