Summer Wines with Soul & Substance

The weather is unusually pleasant for mid-summer this week in the Washington area, leaving me thinking of warm days and cooler nights, those wonderful “diurnal swings” that supposedly contribute to well-balanced wine. But since the 2014 Virginia and Maryland wines are still just potential, I’m content to sip This week’s wine recommendations feature two outstanding moderately priced white Burgundies that show chardonnay at its best, red blends from Colorado and California for your summer grilling, and a delightful moscato from Chile to get your patio parties off to a great start.

Maison Roche de Bellene, Bourgogne Chardonnay Vielles Vignes 2011, France, $23

Good news for wine lovers: Basic Burgundy, as in chardonnay and pinot noir labeled “Bourgogne,” is getting better and better. Maison Roche de Bellene is a negociant — producing wines from purchased grapes or blending purchased wines — run by popular winemaker Nicolas Potel and imported by Loosen Bros., the import company of famed German winemaker Ernst Loosen. It is impeccable, rich with tree fruit flavors and moderate oakiness. Consider this a mini-Meursault, and stock up. Alcohol by volume: 13 percent.

Domaine Daniel Pollier “En Messie” 2012, Saint-Véran, Burgundy, France, $16

Wow. This wine demonstrates why we should not snub “oaky” chardonnays. Yes, oak is evident in the toastiness and richness of texture, but it is beautifully balanced with fruit and mineral flavors, making this as good a chardonnay as I’ve had under $20. ABV: 13 percent. M. Touton Selection. 

Guy Drew Meritage 2011, Colorado, $22

Colorado wine? Oh yeah! This stylish red blend of Bordeaux grape varieties combines fruit and earth in an intriguing, stylish wine. ABV: 14.1 percent. (Siema in the DC area)

Santa Ema Moscato Soul 2013, Central Valley, Chile, $10

Fans of moscato should try this off-dry version – not as sweet as most but quite fruity. It is delightful for sipping before dinner or with light appetizers. ABV: 11.5 percent. TGIC Imports.

The Seducer Red Rendezvous 2012, California, $15

This juicy, appealing red blend is better than most California reds at the price, excellent with casual foods off the grill. Great label art, too. ABV: 13.5 percent. TGIC Imports.


About Dave McIntyre

Wine columnist for The Washington Post, co-founder of, and blogger at Dave McIntyre's WineLine (
This entry was posted in Bargain Wines, Burgundy, California, Cheap Wine, Chile, Colorado, France, Wine and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Summer Wines with Soul & Substance

  1. Tommy G. says:

    Thanks for including Guy Drew in your wine recommendations, a winery/state that gets little to no recognition here on the east coast. I was first introduced to Colorado/Guy Drew wines a few years ago at the American Wine Society Conference in Hunt Valley MD. I found both the reds and whites that I tasted to be on par with wines from eastern Washington. Both are grown in a high plains/high desert environments. Drink local even if it’s from Colorado, half way across this country!

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