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.
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)
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.