This extraordinary $16 French rosé proves that 2020 was a good year for pink
By Dave McIntyre,
The Washington Post
Spring is here, and the weather is warming, if inconsistently. Let’s welcome rosé season. And here’s some great news: From my initial tastings of 2020 French rosés, the vintage was outstanding. Here are two examples that could almost convince me that I don’t need any others for the summer, they are so good. A caveat though: Shipping woes from the pandemic — even before the Suez Canal incident — have slowed the arrival of wines from Europe and elsewhere. Luckily, there are plenty of this week’s recommendations in stock, including an amazing Muscadet from France’s Loire Valley and two juicy, spicy reds from Chile and South Africa.
Domaine des Herbauges Eléon’Or Rosé 2020
Loire Valley, France, $16
One of my favorite activities of spring is tasting through the new crop of rosés in anticipation of dinners on the patio or cool refreshment after a trail hike. This beauty suggests the 2020 rosés from France will make our summer of 2021 especially delicious. The blend is grolleau noir (an obscure Loire grape), gamay and merlot. The color is a bright pale pink that somehow seems to refract light into flavors of strawberries, cherries and candied raspberries. Stock up on this, even as you explore others. Alcohol by volume: 12 percent.
Imported and distributed by Lanterna: Available in the District at Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits, Cork & Fork, New H Wine & Spirits, Rooster & Owl. Available in Maryland at Bo Brooks Lighthouse Liquors in Baltimore; Locavino, Seminary Beer Wine & Deli in Silver Spring; Village Green Spirit Shop and Wine Bin in Ellicott City; Wine Cellars of Annapolis. Available in Virginia at Oakton Wine Shop in Oakton; Puck’s Market, Union Market and Yellow Umbrella Fresh Provisions in Richmond; the Town Duck in Warrenton; the Whole Ox in Marshall; the Wine Outlet (Great Falls, McLean, Vienna).
Peyrassol La Croix Rosé 2020
Méditerranée, France, $17
Peyrassol is a historic winery in Provence, dating from the 1200s when the property was owned by the Knights Templar as a way station on the journey to the Crusades. Peyrassol’s estate wines, especially their rosés, are among the region’s best. The La Croix is made with grapes purchased from growers around the region and priced to be an accessible, affordable entry wine. It offers bright watermelon flavors with a note of wild herbs and salty sea air. Olives at a cafe in St. Tropez, a salade Nicoise overlooking the beach at Nice . . . who needs to travel? The Virginia distributor has not yet brought this wine to market, but should be receiving it soon. ABV: 13 percent.
Imported by Wilson Daniels, distributed in the District and Maryland by Bacchus, in Virginia by RNDC: Available in the District at A. Litteri, Ace Beverage, Belga Cafe, D’Vines, Metro Wine & Spirits, Michigan Liquors, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits, State Liquors, Wagshal’s (New Mexico Avenue). Widely available in Maryland, including at Canton Crossing Wine + Spirits, North Charles Fine Wine & Spirits, Wells Discount Liquors, Wine Source in Baltimore; Jailbreak Brewing Co. in Laurel; College Square Liquors in Westminster; Downtown Crown Wine and Beer in Gaithersburg; Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville; Rodman’s (White Flint); Summer House in Rockville.
Domaine de L’Ecu Orthogneiss Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2018
Loire Valley, France, $24
This gorgeous wine comes from one of the leading producers of Muscadet, also a major proponent of biodynamic winemaking. The Orthogneiss cuvée offers aromas of white flowers, toasted almonds and various spices, combined with a full mouthfeel and a lovely, refreshing hint of citrus on the finish. Pair this with shellfish, curries or southeast Asian dishes. Certified organic and biodynamic. ABV: 12 percent.
Imported and distributed by Georgian House of Greater Washington: Available in the District at Batch 13, Georgetown Wine & Spirits, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Maxwell Park (Shaw), Potomac Wine & Spirits, Reverie. Available in Maryland at Wine Source in Baltimore.
Ridgeback Wines Lion Hound 2018
Paarl, South Africa, $17
This is a Bordeaux-style blend with a decidedly New World, fruit-forward accent. Spicy and juicy, with flavors of raspberry, tart cherry and boysenberry compote, all tart and sweet at the same time, with a hint of smoky leather in the background. Pair it with grilled steak, then savor the rest around the fire pit as the night grows cool. ABV: 14 percent.
Imported and distributed by Artisans & Vines, distributed in Virginia by LK Wine Tours and Sales: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Absolutely Wine or Spirits, Iron Bridge Wine Co. in Columbia; Balducci’s, Beer Wine & Co., Bradley Food & Beverage, Georgetown Square Wine and Beer in Bethesda; Bethesda Co-Op in Cabin John; Crescent Wine & Spirits in Bowie; Downtown Crown Wine and Beer and Finewine.com in Gaithersburg; Elkridge Furnace Inn in Elkridge; Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville; Greenbelt Co-Op in Greenbelt; Knowles Station Wine & Co., Old Town Market in Kensington; Potomac Grocer in Potomac; Red: Wine, Beer & Spirits in Clarksville; Rodman’s (White Flint); Spin the Bottle Wine Co. in Frederick; Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-Op in Takoma Park; Wells Discount Liquors, Wine Source in Baltimore; Town Center Market in Riverdale Park; Village Green Spirit Shop, Wine Bin in Ellicott City. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean).
Escudo Rojo Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2018
Maipo Valley, Chile, $19
This juicy, exuberant cabernet hails from the Baron Philippe de Rothschild family of wineries, best known for the Bordeaux first growth chateau Mouton-Rothschild. This Chilean cousin features spicy flavors of blackberries and black currants. It’s a bit “crunchy” in texture, a term wine lovers use to describe a wine that has snap and perhaps needs a little time in bottle to smooth out. ABV: 14 percent.
Imported and distributed by M. Touton Selection: Available in the District at Capital Supreme Market, Central Liquors, Cork & Fork, Grand Liquor, Harvard Liquors, MacArthur Beverages, Mimi’s Convenience Mart, Pearson’s, Rodman’s, Samber Market, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Southeast Market, Streets Market (14th Street NW, Cleveland Park), Virginia Market, Wide World of Wines. Available in Maryland at Berry Liquors in Waldorf, Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Crescent Wine & Spirits in Bowie; Downtown Crown Wine and Beer, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg; Eastport Liquors, Jalapeños in Annapolis; Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store, Maryland News Center in Hyattsville; Frederick Wine House and Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; Harvest Thyme Tavern in Davidsonville; Olde Soloman’s Wine & Spirits in Edgewater; Petite Cellars in Ellicott City, Rodman’s (White Flint); T&T Wine Shop in Rockville; Town Hall Liquor in College Park; Wheaton Winery in Wheaton; Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Crystal City Wine Shop in Arlington; Leesburg Gourmet in Leesburg; Plaza Latina Market in Falls Church.
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.
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