There is collusion in Washington! I have the proof: Collusion Red Wine from Washington state’s Columbia Valley. Unfortunately, local retailers haven’t cottoned on to it, but the wine, like the truth, is out there.
Our greatest value of the week is a charming rosé from southern France, the Domaine de Moulines Les Cigales 2018. But don’t pass up the chance to try the outstanding Réserve Grand Veneur from Alain Jaume, worth splurging on a few bottles.
Domaine de Moulines Les Cigales 2018
Pays d’Herault, France, $10
Here’s a delightful, inexpensive rosé, featuring flavors of melon and berries, with a hint of wild herbs. Crisp, refreshing, ideal for warm weather and patio sipping. Alcohol by volume: 12.5 percent.
Alain Jaume Réserve Grand Veneur Rosé 2018
Cotes du Rhone, France, $20
Unusually low in acidity, this rosé gave off a first impression of softness rather than the racy refreshment we tend to expect from this type of wine. But the second impression quickly took over, then the third and so on, as a fruit basket of flavors revealed itself. My palate seemed to be strolling through a Provençal hill town on market day, drinking in the sights, smells and savors of fresh strawberries, raspberries and wildflowers. ABV: 13 percent.
Finca La Mata 2016
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Two and a half stars
Ribera del Duero, Spain, $20
Here’s a stylish red made from tinta del pais vines (another name for tempranillo), planted more than 60 years ago. It shows cigar box aromas and flavors, with meaty, mushroomy notes as well. Enjoy this wine with your steaks or burgers off the grill, when the hardwood smoke infuses your clothes, your sinuses and your memories for the next day or two. ABV: 14 percent.
Coppo Costebianche Chardonnay 2017
Piemonte, Italy, $18
Piemonte, in northwestern Italy, is associated with nebbiolo and barbera, not chardonnay. But the world’s most popular white wine grape thrives in this mountain climate, as the Coppo Costebianche attests. It is crisp, clean and straightforward, with delicious stone fruit flavors. This wine pairs perfectly with patio meals throughout the summer. ABV: 12.6 percent
Collusion Red Wine 2016/2017
Columbia Valley, Wash., $25
After the initial chuckle over the political implications of the name, you’ll find a plush red with mouth-filling texture and flavors of blackberries and plums, which lead to a sweet, ripe finish. I tasted the 2016; the local distributor is now on the 2017, which is labeled as a cabernet sauvignon. Unfortunately, in the D.C. area it is only available in a few restaurants. ABV: 14.1 percent.