We have two “greatest values” this week, and both are rosés from French winemaker Charles Bieler. One he makes in Provence with his father; the other hails from Washington state, a collaboration with iconoclastic winemaker Charles Smith. We also have two exceptional chardonnays, one from the remote coastal regions of Sonoma County, the other from Burgundy, and a delicious, affordable pinot noir from Monterey.
Bieler Père & Fils Sabine 2018
Two and a half stars
Aix-en-Provence, France, $12
The father and son are Philippe Bieler, who founded the famous Chateau Routas in the Rhone Valley, and Charles, his son. Together, they specialize in rosé, including the delightful Sabine, which is a bit untraditional with 14 percent of the blend being cabernet sauvignon. (The rest is grenache, syrah, cinsault and rolle, the French name for vermentino.) The wine offers flavors of stone fruit and melon, seasoned by wild herbs. Alcohol by volume: 13 percent.
Failla Chardonnay 2016
Sonoma Coast, California, $37
Failla is located in the remote western part of Sonoma County, an area some devotees call the “true Sonoma Coast.” This wine is unlike most California chardonnay—it is lithe and taut, a live wire that sends a jolt of energy across the palate. Absolutely delicious. Popular in restaurants, it also has with some retail availability. ABV: 13.9 percent.
Domaine Alain Chavy Bourgogne Chardonnay 2017
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Burgundy, France, $26
This domaine is located in Burgundy’s Pouilly-Fuissé appellation, prime chardonnay territory. Made from grapes grown outside those famous boundaries, it offers great Burgundian character without the price of prestige. This wine is rich and full-bodied, with a linear core that keeps the flavor going long after swallowing. Enjoy it with richer seafood or poultry. ABV: 13 percent.
Charles & Charles Rosé 2018
Two and a half stars
Columbia Valley, Washington, $14
Here’s an all-American, juicy rosé—a partnership of French winemaker Charles Bieler of Bieler Père et Fils and Washington state winemaker Charles Smith, perhaps best known for Kung Fu Girl Riesling—to help you cool off in the summer heat. The blend is based on syrah and cabernet sauvignon, which give a bold palate of fruit flavors with the bracing acidity and dry finish we expect from a fine rosé. ABV: 12.6 percent.
Scheid Family Wines, District 7 Pinot Noir 2017
Monterey, California, $17
I’m always on the lookout for good pinot noir under $20 a bottle. Many taste like confections made according to some recipe; some taste like candy or cough syrup, anything but pinot noir. Scheid Family Wines does a good job capturing pinot noir’s characteristic flavors of dark cherries and cola spice. Their D7 Chardonnay is also quite good. ABV: 13.5 percent.