Maine's First Natural Wine Festival

Maine's First Natural Wine Festival

40 importers and wine makers by the water in Freeport

Maine Wild Wine Fest

Saturday the 21st is the inaugural Maine Wild Wine Fest! Last autumn I had a few hours of free time and I decided that Maine should have a Natural Wine Fair. So I set about organizing one! Now it's 10 days away and it's crunch time, but it is all coming together and looks like it's going to be really fun. I have about 40 presenters coming including wine makers from across America, Fredi Torres from Spain is the lone European, and the majority of the Natural Wine Importers who have helped build this movement. 

Tickets are $50
2 ticket windows:

The event is at the Mallet Barn at Wolfe's Neck farm in Freeport. It's a beautiful spot on the water and probably the nicest old post and beam barn in the state. There's a large open grassy lawn where we'll have picnic tables and food trucks for people to congregate. 

Transmission is high right now, but we've set this up to be as safe as possible. The barn is very airy and we'll have the doors at both ends open to allow lots of air flow. We have two ticket windows: one from 10:30-1 and the second from 1:30-4. The two windows are limited to 150 people in each to keep it from ever being too crowded. This will allow festival goers to interact with all the presenters as well as leave plenty of space to spread out. We are requiring proof of vaccination at the door.  

Buy Tickets

More Information

Extra Events

We're organizing a lot of extra affiliated events. Here's a quick list: 

Thursday May 19th

Friends and Family Bobo Selections take over with Karen Ulrich of Bobo 

Friday May 20th

Maine and Loire organic Champagne Tasting with Michel from Vinotas
Chaval Wine Dinner with Fredi Torres
Lorne Wine Tasting with Gaby from Goatboy Selections
Vessel and Vine Wine Dinner featuring Summer Wolf of Hootananny and her husbands winery Iuli 

Saturday the 21st

Jose Pastor & Louis Dressner tasting with Mark and Josefa at the Rosemont Wine Bar 5-7pm
After party with DJs and cool wine at the Washington Baths 9pm


Glidden Point Oysters and Slovenian and Croatian wines with Daniel from Vinum Noon-3
Table Bar in Gardner (a new wineshop/bar opening this week) wine tasting with Gaby from Goatboy

That whole big square at the end of the barn is a pair of massive barn doors. Those will be open at both ends of the building to let plenty of air through.


One of the many importers who's coming: Josefa Concanon of Louis Dressner. Josefa has basically spent her life getting to know this industry and the wineries in the Dresser portfolio inside and out. Here she is with Eric Texier. Incidentally Josefa will be pouring a super rare old vine bottling of his Serrine: the grape that people think Syrah may be descended from.

Freshly back from Italy Betsy of Quanto Basta will be here making pizzas in her little pizza truck.

If you've ever had Mami before you'll know why I'm so excited to have them here. If you haven't then you're in for a treat! It's savory interesting Japanese street food that is perfect with complex wines.

Rounding out the food trucks Mr Tuna will be on hand dishing up sushi!

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Champagne, Cava, PetNat, Prosecco


I've never tried to do this before and it seems kind of crazy but here are all the sparkling wines Devenish has got!

Champagne Tarlant Cuvee Louis
Approx $160/btl

You can find this at Browne Trading and the Lil General Store

The Tarlant family has been growing grapes in Champagne since the late 1600s. at the beginning of the 20th century Louis Tarlant was running the vineyards and also mayor of Oeuilly, a major town in Champagne. Champagne had been internationally famous for at least a century already, but there was no legal delimitation of what Champagne was and was not. While Louis was mayor the price of grapes dropped and grape farmers were struggling. They realized that the large Champagne houses were bringing in grapes and juice from other parts of France or even Portugal, fermenting it, and selling it as Champagne resulting in this extreme drop in the price the large houses were willing to pay for grapes. And so happened the Champagne Revolution. Louis became a leader of it. Farmers blocked roads, blockaded the large wineries, and lobbied the government. Finally in 1911 Champagne was created as an AOC and was required to be made from grapes grown in Champagne. Louis swore he would never sell a single grape to the big houses again and so had to start making wine on his own. He was one of the very first grower producers (along with Clouet). 

The farm is currently run by Benoit and his sister Melanie: the 12th generation of Tarlants to farm this land. They work very intensely in the vineyards and farm each small parcel separately to adapt to the specific needs of the land and exposure. They farm naturally and hands on vineyard labor is the only way to really be successful in the relatively cool and variable climate of Champagne. 

This is 50/50 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from a .9 hectare vineyard planted through massale selection (own rooted clones of his old vines) by Louis Tarlant in 1946

"Our father fought for grass in the vines and to stop have garbage from cities being thrown in the vines as a fertilizer. It took five years. That was his fight. Organics seems like the challenge of our generation."  

“We don’t buy or sell grapes. We have to work our vines the best we can to have the best wine. "
-Melanie Tarlant

Christmas Wines!

In case you missed it: here's the Devenish Christmas list. I'll start promoting these wines and where to find them at the second half of the coming week. So if you pick up any of these by then I'll be sure to include you.

Christmas Wines

Andre Clouet Grand Reserve Champagne

Approx $40 per bottle

Find this at Now You're Cooking, Bow St Beverage, The Vault, Store Ampersand, Chaval, Lily Lupine, Bleeker and Greer, Hops and Vine, Lincolnville General Store, Maine and Vine, Friends and Family, New Morning in Kennebunk, and John Edwards Market

The Clouet family has been making wine for a very long time. They're actually not sure how long, but they were the royal printers for Louis the 15th and also made Champagne for the royal court as a sideline. This is 100% Pinot Noirs (Blanc de Noirs) from the Clouet family's 20 hectares of grand cru vineyards around Bouzy. The wine has no contact with the skins, ferments at low temperatures, and then spends 48 months aging on the fine lees.  

The aroma has ripe fruit of granny smith, fresh orange, a hint of baked apples, and then on the palate it's broader and rich thanks to that Pinot Noir. It has intense bubbles, and golden apple, citrus, a hint of nuts and baking scone and touch of raspberry. It has a fantastic balance.


Boulard Champagne Les Murgiers

Extra Brut 100% Pinot Meunier

Approx $72/btl

Find this at Maine and Loire

Why you should buy this:
Delphine is the 8th generation of their family to make Champagne here. She took over from her father in 2017 and farms a tiny 3 ha biodynamically. That 3 ha is broken into 3 separate sub parcels that she farms differently. This is a brilliant riper more complex expression of Champagne and it has gorgeous aromatics as it is 100% Pinot Meunier. This is hyper hard to get (because very little exists and I have to direct import)

read more here if you're interested:
Champagne Boulard 

Andre Clouet Millesime 2013 Vintage Champagne


Find this at Alice and Lulu's, Grippy Tannins, Bangor Wine and Cheese, and Lincolnville General Store

Why you should buy this:
Because it's elegant gorgeous nuanced vintage Champagne for $50! That's a great value!

Aroma: straw, baked apples, a hint of baking bread, ripe pear; it's a clean sunny elegant sort of a champagne Aroma. Not too sharp but also not just lush and opulent. This Aroma is focused and more organized

Taste: very fine bubbles; frothy there's some pretty clementine orange fruit right up front. Then it gets richer on the mid palate. There's more pronounced orange but also a rich flavor that sort of reminds me of French toast! The bubbles give it a really nice dry component. The finish tastes a bit like meringue: elegant toasted egg whites, coconut and sugar. This is not a sweet wine though, bone dry with a little bit more orange lingering after the finish

Victorieux Champagne Brut
Approx $50/btl

Find this at Bow St Beverage, Alice and Lulu's, RSVP, Via Vecchia, Terracotta, High Roller, and Ruby's

The Victorieux comes from Ceric Guyot: a 3rd generation family estate in the Cotes de Sezanne at the southern edge of Champagne. This is 50/50 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The wine is aged on the lees for an impressive 5 years which really contributes to it's refinement and elegance.  

Aroma: sunny hay, lemon, fresh orange/clementine, and just a little bit of toast

Taste: focused ,tart, tightly wound. Toasty- tasty, bit of salt on the finish. This is super well balanced- there's a lovey elegant orange flavor to the finish. The extra age this wine spent on the lees at the winery and then in the bottle after release really shows through in how fine it is.

Jean Paul Baudouin Brut Blanc de Noirs (100% Pinot Noir)

Approx $50/btl

Find this at Via Vecchia, the Vault, Oak Hill, Store Ampersand, Lily Lupine, Bleeker and Greer, Lily Lupine, the Rosemont Markets, and Meridians

Why you should buy this:
Baudouin is a rich lush hedonistic grower Champagne from the southern edge of the AOC. It's golden, sunny, the bubbles are a bit softer, it has a broad finish, toasted bread, and a bit of tropical fruit to the finish.  

Champagne Fleury Blanc de Noirs (100% Pinot Noir)

Approx $76/btl

Find this at Blue Hill Wine Shop, Lil General Store, Liquid Riot, and Browne Trading

Why you should buy this:

Because it is delicious and they were the first biodynamic producer in all of Champagne. Champagne Fleury was founded in 1895, and it’s located in the Côtes de Bar, in the south of the Champagne region. In 1929, during the depression, grape prices were so low that Robert Fleury decided to take the then unusual step of bottling his own Champagne.

Aroma: Honey, wildflowers, ripe pear, peach; all those things in a fresh out of the oven tart.

Taste: dry vibrant edgy toasty Champagne; very focused and serious. The bubbles are prickly and persistent. Some ripe apple, a touch of roasted hazelnut (nutty in that sort of meaty savory way - not oxidative or almond at all). The finish lingers with toast and then a hint of gingerbread, lemon, and honey. It's a very serious Champagne. My first thought on tasting it is "wow, this is very good and very serious Champagne"

Vignale di Cecilia Prosecco

Approx $18

Find this at Relish, Maine and Loire, Monte's, Vessel and Vine, Folk, Blue Hill Wine Shop, Novios, and Portland Pottery

Why you should buy this:
This is the best Prosecco I have tasted in a long time. Particularly at this price. It's so pretty and refreshing and clean. I love the PetNats but this is so clean and perfect I can't not love it.

Caneva da Nani

Approx $18

Find this at Maine and Loire, Cafe Louis, Maine and Vine, Nina June, Black Birch, Ada's Kitchen Portland, and the Jewel Box

Why you should buy this:
delicious easy to drink thirst quenching fizzy wine from the heart of Prosecco that is what Prosecco used to be a few generations ago. It's relatively low alcohol and has delicious citrus and salt and super fine bubbles with a slightly savory yeasty mid palate that gives the wine more body.

Mongarda Col Fondo

Approx $18

Find this at Vessel and Vine, Nibblesford, Tipo, Solo Cucina, Cheese Shop of Portland, Craft Curbside, Blue Hill Wine Shop

Why you should buy this:
Also made by an old family, also from old vines in the center of Prosecco. Honestly I can't choose between this and Caneva. Mongarda is a touch lighter and cleaner. Both are made in small quantity so I hedge my bets by carrying both in case 1 runs out.

Furlani Rosso Frizzante 

Approx $30/btl

Find this at Alice and Lulu's

Why you should buy this:
Because Matteo Furlani is a wizard way up in the Alps above Trento. This is a mix of local grapes Tyroldego, Marzemino, Turca, Negrara. Spontaneous fermentation in stainless steel. Frozen must added before re-fermentation in bottle during Spring. Minimal added sulfur (if needed) and no disgorgement. It's a nice clean Alpine red with a light spritz.

Via de la Plata Cava Rosado

Approx $20

Find this at Eventide, Vessel and Vine, Maine and Loire, The Rosemonts, 

Why you should buy this: Because it's a lovely dry expressive bottle fermented Pinot Noir Rose! That's why you should buy this!

Via de la Plata Cava Brut

Approx $20

Find this at Meridians, Liquor Locker, Maine and Loire

Why you should buy this:
Via de la Plata is quite elegant. It's made from organically farmed grapes. It's made by actual farmers down in Extremadura where most cava grapes actually come from. It's dry and focused and fresh and way better than it's price.

Henry Varnay Brut

Approx $13

Find this at 44 North, Relish, Eventide, Blue Hill Wine Shop, Vic and Whit's

Why you should buy this:
Henry Varnay is a fantastic value. This is 100% Ugni Blanc from old vines out side Saumur in the central Loire. It's creamy, fresh, elegant, a little toasty, and really honestly very well made. It drinks much better than it's price. Production is about 10,000 cases per year, so actually on the small side.

Nicchia Lambrusco di Sorbara

Approx $16

Find this at RSVP, Folk, Monte's Whole Foods, Bow St Beverage, Bow St Market, Blue Hill Wine Shop, Meridians, The Clown, Portland Food Co-op,

This is juicy fizzy red Lambrusco that's a hair off dry. Most of you know it. It's been at the core of the Devenish portfolio for years. It is amazing with red sauce pizza, pasta with tomato sauce, or food with a little heat.

L'Onesta Lambrusco di Sorbara Rose

Approx $16

Find this at Perks, the Cheese Iron, Bow St Beverage Solo Cucina, RSVP, Whole Foods, Honey Paw, 

the dry rose counterpart to the Nicchia. This is elegant, fun, pretty, and bone dry. It's delicious with a range of foods but also great just on it's own.


Jean Aubron Muscadet PetNat

Approx $20

Find this at Bow St beverage, Cheese Shop of Portland, and Smalls

This was a star this year: old vine Muscadet made as a PetNat by Jean Aubron. Jean has been making wine organically in Muscadet for a few decades now and he was amused all the kids were excited about PetNat. He said "I can do that". And he did. It's very clean, has a nice citrus, but also a bit of savory texture from the lees and bubbles.

I'd be a fool to not point out that we have all these delicious oak fire grilled Spanish Conservas in stock. They make great gifts and stocking stuffers!  

Merry Christmas from The Neds!

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PO Box 11210
Portland, ME 04104

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My Favorite Wines of the Year Available for Christmas

My Favorite Wines of the Year Available for Christmas

Vacqueyras, Vermouth, Cava, Riesling

Holiday Wines 2021

Wow, it feels surreal that it's already almost Christmas! I know: Christmas and Thanksgiving are always the same distance apart and I shouldn't be surprised but every year it's a sprint to get everything done. It's been a crazy year and we're sending it out with a bang! Here's a short list of the wines I'm particularly excited to celebrate with and where to find them.

Anima Mundi Cami del Xops

Approximately $24/btl

Find it at X Vault, Friends and Family, The Vault in Lewiston, Store Ampersand, Craft Curbside, Maine and Loire, Meridians, Stompers, Now You're Cooking, and Vessel and Vine

We picked up Anima Mundi only about a month ago and it completely blew me away. I cleaned Jose Pastor out of what they had left. I feel that on value this is the best sparkling wine in the Devenish portfolio!

The vineyards are in the Costers d’Ordal and have extremely calcareous soils from the nearby Garraf Massif mountains. The winery is close to Barcelona but west and on the far side of the Garraf Massif so they are sheltered from the sea. Agusti works with no additives, including sulfur, to let the Anima Mundi speak clearly.  

Cami dels Xops is a blend of Macabeu and Xarel-lo from two adjoining parcels. The grapes are wild yeast fermented in stainless steel tanks and old 225L French oak barrels, then bottled before primary fermentation has completely finished (with about 20g/L residual sugar) in the métode ancestral style. 

Aroma: lovely vivid lemon! Also wildflowers, viburnum, and white lilac? Freshly squeezed orange and a tiny little hint of honey.

Taste: so creamy and smooth with superfine bubbles, but it has mouthwatering acidity up front that perfectly balances the creaminess and gives it this wonderful tension. It's so beautifully fresh and perfectly balanced. It opens lemon citrusy then this fizz and froth and hint of toast on the mid palate. The finish has more golden fruit and some lemon zest and fades away with bewitching elegance.

Agusti Torello Roca is the wine maker at his family's winery (called AT Roca after him) which specializes in Champagne method wines in the newly created Penedes Classic DO. Anima Mundi is different though and just Agusti working on his own. Agusti dreamt up Anima Mundi as his own project to explore unique terroirs outside of the Spanish DO system. He's a big believer in creating wines that let the terroir speak clearly and the name Anima Mundi basically encapsulates his philosophy. Anima Mundi is a theory of Plato’s, first described in his dialogue Timaeus: “we may consequently state that: this world is indeed a living being endowed with a soul and intelligence...a single visible living entity containing all other living entities, which by their nature are all related.” Often called the theory of the “soul of the world,” Plato imagines this soul as the expression of the unity of the orderly natural world and the sum of its relationships: It is the our bonds to nature and each other and a holistic vision of nature and humanity that inspires reverence for the world, nature, and our place within it.

Guglierame Ormeasco 2019

Approximately $34/btl

Find it at: Browne Trading, Now You're Cooking, Stompers, Solo Cucina, and Meridians 

This is probably the last vintage to be made by the Guglierame family here as they've sold their vineyards this year. They were the oldest producer here and the family has ben here for approx 800 years. It's fitting they're closing out with such a brilliant wine.

Aroma: red currant, red rose, blackberry, bay leaf... the aroma is enticing and bewitching! Fresh ripe fruit combined with gentle heady aromatic spice; it's dark, sleek, irresistible but also fun and not intimidating.

Taste: juicy raspberry/blackberry, brambly; the balance is perfect. The first flavors that hit you are fresh juicy red cherry and black raspberry but they come with some hints of lavender, thyme, and black olive. The mid palate evolves into this gorgeous plum flavor before gentle tannins sneak in along with a woodsy flavor to draw out the finish. This is so good; the acidity and fruit and tannin are all so well balanced. This tastes like an excellent elegant older Bordeaux! It's really eye opening.  

I visited the Guglierame vineyard back in 2017 and it was so incredible it was kind of hard to believe it was real. We drove through empty forest and steep switch backs to cross from Piedmont through the Alps and into this northern corner of Liguria. The town of Pornassio is an ancient mountain hamlet about 10K from France. It felt so remote and like a step back in time... the Guglierame family has been here for many hundreds of years and are the oldest wine maker in the area. They're also the largest in town with.... 2.5 hectares! In fact there are only 3 producers left in Pornassio now. The Guglierames make their wine in the tiny ancient but clean cellar under their tiny castle that if I recall correctly dates back to the 1200s. The vineyards are up above 550m above sea level in the low Alps and are right at the limit of how high grapes can be planted here and still ripen. They exclusively grow a unique local version of Dolcetto that ripens much later, has larger berries, and producers (in my opinion) deeper wines. The grape is locally called Ormeasco. The Guglierame brothers farm organically and make the wine with no additives or interventions beyond a small dose of sulfur for bottling. They're making wine the way their parents taught them, it's hardly changed since pre industrial times. Production is miniscule and I can only ever get a few cases.

This 2019 vintage is the best I've ever had. Sometimes the Alpine climate can make these wines too austere, but 2019 is perfectly balanced: deep, powerful, but also nuanced. It's a very special wine. Which is fitting because this is the last vintage the Guglierames are making. The two brothers are approaching 70 and felt it was time to move on from yearly wine making. The castle is staying in the family but they've decided to sell the vineyards on. The new owner will keep them and make good wine from them, but it won't be the same, it won't be the same direct line to pre industrial life here in this part of the Alps. It's fitting that one of the last vintages-maybe the last- is such and impressive tour de force of what this land and these vines can do.

The view from the back of their little castle looking down the valley towards the Mediterranean just out of sight.

The Guglierame vineyards with snow covered Alps just beyond

Partida Creus MUZ 1L
Approximately $35/btl

Find it at: RSVP, Cheese Shop of Portland, Now You're Cooking, Vessel and Vine, Stompers, Monte's, Blue Hill Wine Shop, and Maine and Loire.

Partida Creus MUZ! Old school authentic Vermouth made by Antonella and Massimo in Penedes Spain. This is all the holiday season flavors rolled up and packed into a brilliant looking litre bottle. The aroma is super impressive and dynamic with ginger, cardamom, orange peel, candied cherry, blood orange, sandal goes on and on. On the palate it is quite juicy with a vivid balance of zippy acidity, ripe fruit, and aromatic spices. Fresh cherry and raspberry up front with lively acidity is followed by some salt and dark blood orange, then more of the aromatic spices come in and it's like a whole Christmas feast of flavors!

Antonella and Massimo were architects in Piedmont Italy who relocated to Spain for work. In the early 2000s they decided to move to the country for a slower pace of life...and what better thing to do in the Spanish countryside than make wine? They started ferreting out abandoned little old vineyards and convincing the locals to rent land to them. Now they make some of the most exciting natural wines in Penedes including this Vermouth along the lines of an old recipe from the Carpano family. 

Domaine de Montvac Vacqueyras 2018

Approximately $29/btl

Find it at: Now You're Cooking, Monte's Fine Foods, and Meridians

I'm so excited to have grabbed the last of the excellent 2018 vintage of Cecile Dusserre. Cecile is a very talented wine maker and makes some of my perennial favorite Rhone wines. This is Grenache based, of course, from the rocky hillsides of the Montmirail hills and it is as opulently sunny and hedonistic as you could want, but it has perfect poise and support from tasty minerality, bright acidity, aromatic herbal notes, and integrated tannins. This is a showstopper without being "loud".

Aroma: spicy black cherry and pepper. It smells warm and sunny: lush dark fruit and red roses with a little hint of vanilla. Then there's also a high toned rosemary and thyme behind the fruit aroma. It's exactly what you want and expect: rich, serious, and expressive

Taste: ripe black cherry followed by black pepper, a hint of cooked orange, a touch of cloves, then some reduced cherry, more black pepper... the rosemary and dry angular tannins follow and taste completely in balance with the wine. There's something almost a little smoky in the mid palate and then the tannins of the finish make me think of the rocky hills these grapes were grown on. This serious wine has lots of presence but it is so well-balanced and elegant!

Originally founded in 1860 Domaine de Montvac, the winery has been passed down through 3 consecutive generations of women. Cecile is the current owner/winemaker and organically farms 22 hectares in Vacqueyras and Gigondas. The vineyards are exposed to the Mistral wind that comes down out of the Alps to the east and helps to dry and concentrate the grapes. The wind is intense though and Cecile has planted trees through the vineyards to provide shelter from it as well as shade. The vines are densely planted massale selection (cuttings from her own existing vines) but grafted so they can resist phyloxera.  

Koehler Ruprecht Kallstadt Riesling Kabinett Trocken 2020

Approximately $24

Find it at: Monte's Fine Foods, Bangor Wine and Cheese, Store Ampersand, Maine and Vine, Maine and Loire, Bleecker and Greer, Now You're Cooking, Terracotta Pasta, Meridians, Friends and Family, Riverside Butcher, Cafe Louis, and Helm

Louis Dressner is famous for many of their French and Italian (Tarlant, Mosse, Puzelat, Occhipinti, La Stoppa, Foradori) wine makers but Koehler Ruprecht was actually one of the wine makers that first drew me to the Dressner portfolio. These wines are exquisitely well made and very well priced. I kid you not: I ordered this wine back in March and it is just arriving now! The problem was actually that my PO got lost and wasn't submitted but still! Koehler Ruprecht makes wines that are excellent expressions of their vineyards and classic German wine culture. Wine makers Dominik and Franzi are quite skilled and also love the vineyards and cellar they're responsible for: it's that mix of seriousness and playful passion that I see in many of the wine makers I respect.

Aroma: bright fresh and citrusy! Lemon, clementine orange, fresh mango, apple blossoms and a very gentle little hint of ginger. This is lovely vivacious young Riesling at its best!

Taste: wow! Vivid acidity dressed with lovely fresh ripe orange and cooked lemon fruit but immediately there's also a delicious saltiness on the sides of my palate. There's a perfect gentle hint of spice in the mid palate and then a delicious subtle toasted meringue/baked pastry taste to the finish. This combo of mouth watering tasty salt and vivid acidity is fantastic!

While Koehler-Ruprecht has existed since the 1700's, it was Bernd Phillipi's hard work over the last 30 years that solidified the winery's world class reputation. Bernd's biggest inspiration was his grandfather, and the wines reflect an attitude of winemaking more akin to the 1900's than the 2000's. In the vineyard, no irrigation, or herbicides are ever used, and systemic treatments against pests or fungal illness were kept to a minimum, only in the rare cases when necessary. In the cellar, long spontaneous fermentations occur in large, old German oak barrels with extended lees contact. Nothing is ever added to or subtracted from the wine, and sulfur is only added moderately after alcoholic fermentation and before bottling.

Today, Bernd has moved on to winemaking projects all over the world (Germany, Portugal, South Africa, consulting in China...), and no longer has any role at Koelher-Ruprecht. Since 2008, viticulture/cellar duties have been passed on to Dominik Sona. Dominik is young but already a seasoned veteran: prior to landing at Koehler-Ruprecht, he's worked at Neiss, Kuhn, Van Volxem, Flowers, Littorai and as estate manager for J.L. Wolf. Already a fan of the winery before getting hired, he has vowed not to change a thing in the winemaking process. A few years later, he was joined by Franziska Schmitt; both are omnipresent but Franzi has over the years taken most responsibility in the cellar.

Devenish is now distributing the conservas (tinned fish) of Abel Alvarez in Asturias Spain! Abel's seaside restaurant, Gueyu Mar, is famous summer destination, but the cold stormy winter weather makes the coast a ghost town. So Abel spent years researching and trying out techniques for canning fish. It's paid off and these are recognized as some of the best in the world. The conservas are all fresh fish Abel buys at market for the restaurant, grills over an oak wood fire at Gueyu Mar, and then immediately tins it with fresh local olive oil. 

They're delicious and really fun to play with. Think of them as an ingredient that is all cooked and ready to go. Just open the can, heat it, and then serve the fish with whatever you want to add. I've had the grilled tuna steak with diced scallions, olives, some tomato, and a bit of calabrian chile. The Octopus was great chopped, served over fried potatoes, with some sea salt sprinkled on it.

You can find these at Browne Trading in Portland, Bangor Wine and Cheese, Blue Hill Wine Shop, Maine and Loire, Havana, Sawyer's Specialties, Bleeker and Greer, Solo Cucina, and Trillium Caterers. 

I warmed up a tin of octopus on the stove last night, served it over fried potatoes with sea salt sprinkled on it, and it was fantastic!

Maybe it's just me, but I think it's so cool to pull a full octopus tentacle out of a can!


Copyright © 2021 Devenish Wines, All rights reserved.

You are receiving this email because you submitted your email address at one of our wine tastings or dinners.

Our mailing address is:

Devenish Wines
PO Box 11210
Portland, ME 04104

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Limited Offer of Exciting Burgundies

Limited Offer of Exciting Burgundies

Savigney-les-Beaune, Hautes Cotes de Nuits, Declassified Puligny Montrachet

Burgundies for the Holidays!

Village Wines, one of our importers, recently had a limited Burgundy pre-sale of some fantastic wines. Burgundy is a complicated place of tiny producers with multiple holdings and a bewildering array of appellations and classifications all lain on top of each other. The exciting wines are often so expensive that they're unattainable. For these reasons Devenish doesn't do a lot with Burgundy; however I couldn't pass up this chance to snag some of these gems just in time for Christmas! I always say Pinot Noir and particularly red Burgundy is the wine people are most likely to really fall in love with and also the wine most likely to break your heart by not living up to your expectations. Pinot Noir is hard to grow and even good wine makers will sometimes make mediocre wines even in good vintages. You never know what you're getting into unless you've tasted it. 

So here are my tasting notes below!

Francois Gay Savigny-les-Beaune 2019

Approximately $60/btl

You can find this at the Rosemont in Cape Elizabeth (or order from any of them), Now You're Cooking, Maine and Vine, Lincolnville General Store, Vic and Whit's, Sawyer's Specialties, Duck Fat, and Treats

This lovely Savigny-les-Beaune is made by Pascal Gay. Pascal took over running his family's 8 hectare estate from his father (Francois) about a decade ago and is the 8th generation to work these lands based from the village of Chorey les Beaune. Chorey les Beaune is sort of an oddity: it's located just to the north of Beaune and surrounded by some of the most sought after Burgundy AOCs, but Chorey les Beaune itself is sort of over looked. He also has holdings in the Corton Grand Cru, Savigny-les-Beaune, and Beaune 1er cru. Maybe being based in the less pricey Chorey les Beaune has contributed to him keeping his prices down...I don't know how else to explain why this Savigny-les-Beaune is such a great value! The winery makes about 3400 cases total production per year, so quite small, and most of that is sold directly to restaurants in France. 

The vines are about 40 years old and the grapes are manually harvested. Before pressing, the grapes were mostly destemmed and then fermented and aged in French oak - 30% new. Pascal learned to make wine working alongside Francoise (who is still involved) so the wine is quite traditional. They farm sustainably and ferment with native yeast.

Aroma: wow! Really beautiful raspberry! Really just gorgeous fresh juicy raspberries. Well, maybe they're crushed. Maybe you're starting to saute them with a little bit of cinnamon. I definitely also smell some red rose: pungent beautiful and floral. This is classic gorgeous Burgundy aroma with a little bit of pepper and spice thrown in.

Taste: elegant poised red raspberry and cherry up front with nice acidity. This wine has really lovely supple texture but also serious structure behind that. It's so impressively knit together! The fruit upfront is delicious: cherry raspberry but also with a dimension of orange, but there's so much more going on in the wine. This has a delicious savory minerality that slides in behind the fruit, then a little bit of baking spice, a hint of cooked cherry, then some serious tannins ...and then behind all that a hint of cocoa powder.

Remoriquet Hautes Cotes de Nuits 2019

Approximately $50/btl

Available at Bangor Cheese and Wine, Maine and Loire, Leeward, Vic and Whit's, The Cheese Shop of Portland

The Remoriquet Domaine is a 4th generation family winery with 10 hectares of vines in the vicinity of the Nuits Saint Georges where their winery is located. Like Francois Gay, the Remoriquet winery isn't in the fanciest AOC, but they have holdings in amazing neighboring places such as Vosne Romanée 1er Cru. That vineyard actually borders the legendary La Tache vineyard whose wines sell for thousands of dollars, which you can't buy even if you had the money unless you're on the right lists! Since taking over from his father Gilles has adopted a lot of organic principles in the vineyard and more gentle processes in the winery for slower fermentations and less manipulation of the wines (switching from stainless to concrete and using more gentle pumps).

Hautes Cotes de Nuits runs parallel with the Cotes de Nuits AOC from Gevery Chambertin at one end and the Corton wood at the other. Remoriquet's Hautes Cotes de Nuits holdings are up just above the Cotes de Nuits hillside. This gives the vineyards a little more exposure to wind and the soil here is a rockier mix of marl and limestone. Gilles does a pre fermentation cold soak for a few days before letting the wine ferment with native yeast in concrete tanks. After primary fermentation is done the wine is aged for 12 months in Burgundian oak barrels.

Aroma: elegant sexy black raspberry with a little touch of smoke to it. It's a ripe open lovely smelling wine and just a little touch brambly

Taste: Oooh, it's quite gorgeous! The balance of structure to supple fruit is perfect. It opens with black raspberry fruit that's juicy and fresh with just the right amount of acidity. Then you quickly start to get a little bit of darker savory woodsy something coming in along with a delicious supporting saltiness. There's a hint of cocoa powder that comes in on the mid palate and then some relaxed black cherry and woodsy brambly touches on the finish. Finally at the very end as the wine is fading away, there's a little fatty savory rich taste like bacon fat that comes back to me. This is text book perfect medium bodied "seductive but still structured" red Burgundy.

Chavy Chouet Bourgogne Blanc Les Femelottes

Approximately $45/btl

You can find this at Helm, Vic and Whit's, Cheese Shop of Portland, and Grippy Tannins

Owner Romaric Chavy, who took over the estate in 2014, is the eighth generation to make wine in his family. Romaric learned from his father, Hubert Chavy, who founded the winery in 1982. Chavy-Chouet is one of the oldest families in Puligny-Montrachet. The Ropiteau family (on his mother's side) is the oldest one in Meursault. Hubert originally sold most of his wines to top negociants but when Romaric got involved they began bottling themselves. Romaric began learning to make wine when he was 12, attended a specialized wine making prep school, and then worked in South Africa, Greece, Spain, and the Languedoc before taking over his family's domaine at 22 years old. Romaric is one of those wine makers who believes wine is made through good farming and healthy vines so he's been adopting organic farming methods, uses native yeast fermentations, and does not filter or fine the wines.

Les Femelottes is 100% Chardonnay from 5 parcels of vines that are either just outside the Puligny Montrachet AOC or are inside but young vines and so Romaric declassifies the grapes. Vine age ranges from 5-60 years old. The wine ferments with native yeast in barrel and then is aged in barrels for 10 months; 10% are new and the rest are 2-3 years old.  

Aroma: ripe sunny apricot and white peach backed up with a touch of toasting meringue, toasted coconut, and a hint of hazelnuts. That rich sunny fruit is the primary aroma. I can definitely tell from the other aromas that this was aged in oak, but it works well and the aroma is totally unified with the oak elegantly integrated.

Taste: nice rich ripe citrusy clementine orange upfront followed by a bit of a mango flavor and then some delicious tasty saltiness. There's a little bit of a toasted coconut/vanilla biscuit woven in there too, but this is fresh, lively, and tasty. The finish has a brilliant green apple and honeydew kind of flavor with a very gentle hint of ginger-like spice. This is a great example of how oak can work so well and play a supporting roll to Chardonnay's ripe fruit and vibrant acidity.

Robert Gibourg Coteaux de Bourguignons 2018

Approximately $30/btl

You can find this at the Lincolnville General Store, Vic and Whit's, Store Amperand, and Treats

Robert Gibourg inherited 1 hectare of vineyard way back in the late 60s and then slowly grew the estate over the next 30 years he slowly acquired small special vineyard sites in Ladoix, Aloxe Corton, and Corton Grand Cru. The domaine now has 6 hectares and is run by his son in law Sebastien Bidault. Coteaux de Bourguignons is a sort of catch all Burgundy Appellation, but in this case the fruit comes from a few parcels up on the clay and limestone plateau above his famous village wines. The grapes are hand harvested, destemmed, cold soaks for 3-5 days, and then ferments with native yeast for about 3 weeks. This is bottled unfined, unfiltered, and with no added sulfur. Sebastien wanted to experiment with a zero sulfur wine so he contact his friend Fabrice Dodane, a famous natural wine maker from the Arbois to help guide him. It's perfectly put together and fresh: there's nothing to give away that it's zero sulfur aside from maybe the wine is a bit more vivacious. 

Aroma: black raspberry, blueberry, and cherry; fresh, ripe, and fruit forward. It smells a bit like currants and licorice candy as well. Also there's a hint of cloves and black pepper.  

Taste: Upfront juicy tightly wound black raspberry fruit with a touch of black currant. There's nice acidity that keeps the fruit energetic and tense. The mid palate has more raspberry and also some red cherry. It tightens and tannin comes in that gives the wine a dry dusty black pepper and currant finish. The tannins are in balance but really have some staying power; this is a more forceful slightly rustic Pinot Noir.

Gueyu Mar: Ideal Presents and Stocking Stuffers

Devenish is now distributing the conservas (tinned fish) of Abel Alvarez in Asturias Spain! Abel's seaside restaurant, Gueyu Mar, is famous summer destination, but the cold stormy winter weather makes the coast a ghost town. So Abel spent years researching and trying out techniques for canning fish. It's paid off and these are recognized as some of the best in the world. The conservas are all fresh fish Abel buys at market for the restaurant, grills over an oak wood fire at Gueyu Mar, and then immediately tins it with fresh local olive oil. 

They're delicious and really fun to play with. Think of them as an ingredient that is all cooked and ready to go. Just open the can, heat it, and then serve the fish with whatever you want to add. I've had the grilled tuna steak with diced scallions, olives, some tomato, and a bit of calabrian chile. The Octopus was great chopped, served over fried potatoes, with some sea salt sprinkled on it.

You can find these at Browne Trading in Portland, Bangor Wine and Cheese, Blue Hill Wine Shop, Maine and Loire, Havana, Sawyer's Specialties, Bleeker and Greer, Solo Cucina, and Trillium Caterers. 

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Thanksgiving Wines: Orange wine, Petnat Prosecco, Fizzy Red

Thanksgiving Wines: Orange wine, Petnat Prosecco, Fizzy Red

Gruner Veltliner, Chilean Pais

Thanksgiving Wines

This year feels like it's been non stop and now Thanksgiving is in sight. Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays and I'm looking forward to really enjoying it and...maybe even taking a break! Here are some of the wines I'm particularly excited about this year.


Ceppaiolo Cepparosso 2020

Approximately $32/btl

You can find this at Treats, Maine and Loire, and Cafe Louis. Or of course you can order it from any wine store.

Ceppaiolo is Danilo Marcucci's little private wine project in a falling down building in Bastia: a suburban Umbrian town. He does all the work here himself, experiments, and makes wines that he wants to drink! He likes lighter energetic reds, think Jura and Touraine, so that's the direction these wines usually go. This red is a blend of Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Vernaccia Rossa, Nebbiolo di Gubbio, and Aleatico. He only has a couple acres of vines and only made one tank of this, but it's a pretty perfect red for Thanksgiving. It's bright and fruity, supple in the way of a nice red Burgundy, thirst quenching, and truly fun to drink. It's 12% alcohol which adds to the thirst quenching nature and maybe minimizes the likely hood of a "Thanksgiving incident" with a wacky relative. It's fruit driven and will please basic wine drinkers but is also super geeky (Nebbiolo di Gubbio!) for people who want to geek out on wine. Added bonus if you need a conversation piece this wine's back story can neatly fill any conversation lapses! Jut go check out the videos on my YouTube conveniently linked below!

Aroma: fresh tart cherry and strawberry along with some woodsmoke. Cranberries, a tiny bit of spice like basil or tomato leaf.... It's lively fresh vivid but also with some savory autumn aromas at the same time.

Taste: medium bodied, smooth, and with great focused energy. There's acidity that makes the wine energetic and focused. It's driven by this really lovely uplifting raspberry and wild cherry flavor. Then the finish has some nice tannin that dries your palate out a bit but it's not too much or sharp at all. It's an energetic dynamic tasting wine that's light on its feet. There's some salt on the mid palette that wakes my taste buds up and gets me salivating. The combination of that with the lighter body, the elegant integration and balance: make this a super thirst quenching serious red that will pair with Thanksgiving in the same sort of perfect way cranberry sauce does. 


Forlorn Hope “Queen of the Sierra” Amber 2019

You can find the Queen of the Sierra at Folk in Kittery, Friends and Family in Portland, Maine Street Meats in Rockport, and the Rosemont Markets.

Orange wine may be hip at the moment, but well made orange wine that still has freshness to it is legitimately a good Thanksgiving pick. Allow me to introduce my orange wine Thanksgiving pick: Queen of the Sierra Amber. This is a great Thanksgiving wine because it's rich and deep and has the body and savory flavors to pair well with rich autumn foods. It has tannin (thanks skin contact) that will help it cut through grease and fat, but it's not oxidative or funky; it just has really delicious rich fruit flavors with a supporting savory dimension. I really think this is a perfect sort of "similar flavor compliment" to squash, sweet potato, and turkey.

The Amber is mostly a mix of Verdelho, Albarino, Muscat, and Chardonnay. All are organically farmed there on Rorick's estate vineyard. All the fruit was hand harvested and spontaneously fermented in open vats. Matthew and Danielle used a minimal number of gentle punchdowns or pump overs to try to avoid oxidization while still getting that complexity from skin contact. After that the wine was racked to 227L neutral oak barrels to age. No additives or manipulations were used aside from a small amount of sulfur at bottling.

Aroma: So much ripe peach! I also smell fresh-squeezed orange juice and baked rhubarb. It's a really lovely rich delicious smelling aroma!

Taste: wow, this is straight up delicious but also so interesting. This is a full-bodied wine but it's also very fresh and has lively acidity. The ripe juicy peach upfront is delicious and attention grabbing, but what makes the wine irresistible is this salty savory dimension right behind the fruit. The mid palate maintains the fruit but adds a little aromatic spicy hint that reminds me of fresh mint. More of that peach lingers on the finish. That peach flavor is so vivid and concentrated that it tastes like the flavor of a peach Jolly Rancher!

Forlorn Hope was created by Matthew Rorick in 2005. Matthew grew up with an appreciation of good wine thanks to his grandfather and decided to pursue his love of expressive personal wines by starting his own winery. After a stint in the Navy Matthew had lots of gumption but couldn't afford to buy anything. So he rented wine making space and then went on the hunt for unusual unloved grape varieties that bored farmers in moments of weakness had planted in forgotten vineyard corners. He began crisscrossing CA looking for Verdelho, Barbera, and Trousseau. He named the project Forlorn Hope with the expectation it would fail. But.... it didn't. He was making delicious exciting wines and people got excited. His wines caught on so much so that he was eventually able to buy a 75 acre property in Calaveras county on limestone and slate ridges planted by wine luminary Barden Stevenot back in the 60s. Danielle Shehab (formerly of Portland ME) joined as operations manager and the project has taken off for the stratosphere. All the fruit for their wines comes from the Rorick Heritage Estate and now that Matthew doesn't have to spend 6 hours driving between vineyard sites it has allowed him to create a range of new wines....including this Queen of the Sierra Amber. 

Cellario Il Barrusco 2020
Approximately $20

You can find this at Nina June, Hearth and Harbor on MDI, Hops and Vine, Riverside Butcher, Leeward, and the Cheese Shop of Portland

You have to have fizzy red for Thanksgiving! At least I do! This is playful bright full on red wine that's fruity and expressive. It's not heavy though and the vey fine fizz does an excellent job of cleaning your palate and refreshing you as you work through all the heavy hearty Thanksgiving food. And the fizz will help give you a little pick me up and rally for a post meal walk! 

Barrusco is made by the super energetic Fausto Cellario. His family has been here in the north western Langhe for longer than they know and he grew up in wineries of his father and uncles. Meeting him it's very clear that he loves what he does. He loves it so much he can't stop tinkering and trying to get better and better and making natural wine. There's a real joy that's been evident every time I've seen him and he can't stop talking about some new blend or pressing technique he's trying out. I really value that and it's been cool to see his wines evolve!  

The Barrusco is a blend of Neretta (local grape with dark purple color) Barbera, and Dolcetto. The juice ferments in stainless steel and is then bottled with some juice from grapes that Fausto late harvests and dries. That grape juice does the refermentation in the bottles and then Fausto releases the wine with out opening the bottles again, so this is 0 sulfur and no disgorgement.

Aroma: Cherries! Crushed cherries in your face! And raspberries! Wow, super fresh vital vivid aroma! Also just a bit musky like grape clusters literally crushed in front of you with the stems and all

Taste: fun fresh tart raspberry and wild cherry up front, then the addition of a bit of blue fruit on the mid palate. The bubbles are just a prickle playing across the breadth of the wine. The prickly fizziness actually basically is the wine's structure and gives it focus. Once you peel back the fizz you can taste this light cherry that runs all the way through the wine and actually gets really elegant on the finish. There's no tannin here, just fresh vibrant young cherry fruit that ends on an elegant uplifting note.

Mongarda Col Fondo Prosecco
Approximately $19

You can find the Mongarda at Vessel and Vine, Hops and Vine, Bow St Beverage, and Nibblesford Cheese in Biddeford.

Mongarda is a little family winery up in the area of Valdonbbiadene in the heart of Prosecco. The family has 10 hectares of vines and 3 hectares of woods on steep rocky hilly land. This wine comes from a single vineyard that was planted in the 50s, making them extremely old and rare for this region. This is 95% Glera with 5% other local blending grape varieties that are co-planted in the vineyards and fermented along with the Glera. Martino, the second generation of the Tormena family here, ferments this dry in tank and than at bottling adds a portion of the original juice that was held back so that it referments in the bottle. It is not disgorged so it's sort of Ancestral method, a bit cloudy, but quite clean. The bubbles are very fine and frothy like a bottle conditioned ale. It's a fun playful easy drinking wine that is interesting enough for wine people but will also please someone who just wants a thirst quenching fizzy white. It's basically what Prosecco should be... but almost never is. That freshness, 11% alcohol, and fine creamy bubbles are why I want to drink this for Thanksgiving. Honestly, Champagne is great, but it's pretty racy and high acid. Racy high acid isn't really what I want for Thanksgiving, it feels too intense. This is thirst quenching, but strikes the right balance with softness.

Aroma: white peach, apple blossom, Granny Smith, toasted baguette, lemon, fresh croissant. So very pretty and light; all flowers and spring time and fun

Taste: fresh lemon, tart Granny Smith, very fine froth on the mid palate then white peach followed by a little bit of toast on the finish. The bubbles are so tiny and fine and creamy: like a bottle conditioned beer. It's so clean and uplifting. It's extremely refreshing and easy going but those bubbles will allow it to pair with turkey and other rich savory Thanksgiving foods.

Sonnhof Social Club Gruner Veltliner

Approximately $19

You can find the Sonnhof at Vessel and Vine, Hops and Vine, Bath Natural Foods, the Rosemont Markets, Lorne, Meridians, Perks Beer and Beverage, Monte's Fine Foods, The Blue Hill Co-op, The Blue Hill Wine Shop, and Riverside Butcher in Damariscotta

One of the white varieties I gravitate to for Thanksgiving is Gruner Veltliner; it's generally the right profile of flavors and weight to pair with Thanksgiving dinner. This litre bottle from the Sonnhof Social club is perfect for Thanksgiving! It has that touch of spice on the midpalate that I love about Gruner and while it has some body and ripeness it's a fresh thirst quenching wine. It's that balance of weight and freshness that makes me choose this for Thanksgiving, along with the fact this is a litre bottle and having some extra wine on hand for Thanksgiving is always a good idea.

This is made by Jurtschitsch, the oldest winery in the Kamptal that then converted to organic and biodynamic agriculture 10 years ago when Alwin and Stefanie took over. Jurtschitsch has a reputation now as one of the most exciting wineries in Austria and their elegant light skin contact wines are in high demand (also great for Thanksgiving). This more affordable 1L bottle of Gruner is made with organic hand harvested grapes from their own vineyards plus the vineyards of 3 friends who also work organically.  

Aroma: wow, exciting aromas of lemon lime, gooseberry, quince... it's sort of briny smelling like the ocean too. It smells so vibrant, fresh, and green!

Taste: vivid juicy and tart lime up front then a little bit of pepper. The mid palate has more ripe fruit and flesh to it; this is medium bodied and very clean but with some heat like grilled shishito pepper. There's a zippy flavor on the mid palate and finish... sort of aromatic like lemon grass? That grassy citrus flavor lingers through the finish and makes the wine super refreshing!

Roberto Henriquez Santa Cruz de Coya
Approximately $27

You can special order this from any wine shop or find it at Maine Street Meats, The Cheese Shop of Portland, Vessel and Vine, Hops and Vine, and Maine and Loire

Roberto Henriquez is down in southern Chile in Bio Bio. This is a small region 350 miles south of Santiago in a place that's so rural it's hard to explain to people here who are used to public water, paved roads, and high speed internet. But it's an amazing place to grow grapes because the coastal mountain range that shields most of Chile from the Pacific ends here so the vineyards are much more exposed to cold oceanic air. Also the vines here are Pais: a local variety that thrives in the climate and many are 200 or more years old. Seriously, this vinifera variety evolved from varieties brought hundreds of years ago by the Spanish and is so well suited they go wild and grow up trees. This is sort of Roberto's flagship red. The grapes get macerated a bit through a destemmer and then have a short skin contact and primary fermentation in open vats. Pais is always a lighter red, but Roberto is exceptionally talented at making focused fresh vibrant reds. He spent some time making wine in Anjou in the central Loire with Agnes and Rene Mosse; you can taste a bit of Loire red influence in this. The soil here is gritty granular decayed bits of red granite and the wine somehow has that character of tight granular grippyness behind the fresh compelling red fruit. It's not heavy and not tannic, but the precise structure will offset the savory rich flavors of Thanksgiving. This is a bit more structured than the other reds on this list.   

The aroma is ripe raspberry, cherry, blackberry....and also a hint of cooked rhubarb. And there's that hint of smoke too. It's super racy and vivid with fresh tart concentrated red fruit.

The taste is so juicy, richer, more blackberry, brambley and some lovely plum in the finish. This has some angular acidic and tannic structure, but it's bright, lively, and playful. It is more juicy and fruity, more of a vivid expressive punch of fruit right in the front of your palate. This is fresh and has uplifting acidity, but also a riot of vivid juicy ripe fruit. Absolutely delicious!

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Making Wine with my Heroes in Umbria Last Month

Making Wine with my Heroes in Umbria Last Month

Elbow Deep in Fermenting Grapes!

Four Days in Umbria

I just got back from Italy! I was there in Umbria for all of 3.5 days, but somehow it felt more like 10. I managed to visit 8 wineries and help make wine at 3 of them! It didn't feel rushed, but it was so immersive and intense that it felt like longer. I'm going to write a series of emails to cover what I did in some detail. In this email I'm going to cover Ceppaiolo and Dinamo


Here's a video tour of the Dinamo vineyard. Maybe you're familiar with the Dinamo wines. I've had them since late 2019. They're fantastic clean fun natural wines in litre bottles. They're made by the Nofrio family who had been growing grapes and selling them to others for a few generations, but the price for bulk grapes is so low now that it just wasn't even worth it to harvest the grapes anymore. They are right nearby to Danilo and Lake Trasimeno so they reached out, Danilo came and looked at their vineyard, and connected with them personally. So the Nofrios took the plunge into bottling and selling their own wine with Danilo as wine making consultant.  

I'd been reading since the start that the Dinamo vineyards were super high up (600m) on top of a ride over looking lake Trasimeno, but I hadn't actually seen it because of the pandemic. I was really excited to see just what it was like and it did not disappoint! The vineyard was unbelievably steep. It gave Danilo's new Defender a real work out to make it up to the vineyard. It blows my mind that the Nofrios planted this 25 years ago to grow grapes that they just sold off in bulk. It's a fantastic place to plant vines thanks to the exposure, wind, drainage, hillside, etc; but it must be so hard to work!

The man with the white hair is the patriarch of the the Nofrios: Danilo Nofrio. He's a small wiry old man with long white hair and looked like s mystic or yogi. He arrived late and then held forth about how he only ate wild mushrooms, prosciutto, grapes, and bread. He said he really just wanted to stay in the woods foraging and hunting. It was hilarious: his children were in the background rolling their eyes and groaning about the kilos of mushrooms they had to eat all autumn. Danilo Marcucci afterwards said that Danilo Nofrio really got it and was a great person to work with as far as making natural wine. While I was there Danilo too Danilo Nofrio's son Simone to task though and I really got to see Danilo the professor. Danilo kept asking him about how much sugar was left in various fermenting wines and what it had been a day ago and the son would sort of hem and haw and say "well, I think" and Danilo just kept yelling in Italian "Have you made an analysis?!" It was pretty funny. You can hear it in the back ground of the video.  

Dinamo Nucleo 1
Approximately $19

Aroma: earthy, gamey, woodsy; blackberries and raspberries

Taste: juicy blackberry fruit up from with a hint of brambly woodsy flavors lingering behind it. There's nice acidity that's not in your face but does a great job of keeping the wine fresh and fun tasting. It's smooth, and then the mid pallet builds into some more earthy savory chocolatey sort of flavors. Then there's a salty dimension followed by some integrated tannin and a black cherry flavor that gives the wine more of a serious character and follow through.

You can find this at Bow St Freeport, John Edwards, and LeRoux Kitchen

Dinamo Elettriko petnat
Approximately $17

Normally Dinamo's petnat is $17.55. But the pandemic made it hard for the winery to launch the wine in 2020 and they had a bunch left over.... so I bought it at a great price! It's a delicious raspberry and cherry flavored naturally sparkling rose made from direct press Sangiovese and Gamay del Trasimeno (Grenache). It's very fresh and fruit forward but has that nice little earthy savory component from the yeast. It's delicious and a fantastic price! 

You can find this at Bath Natural, Now You're Cooking, Portland Food Co-op, LeRoux Kitchen, Solo Cucina, The Speckled Ax, The Natural Living Center in Bangor, Store Ampersand, 44 North, and Blue Hill Wine Shop


Here's a short video of a vineyard walk and then the process of pressing grapes at Ceppaiolo. Ceppaiolo is this tiny vineyard and falling down building in a suburb in central Umbria. It's kind of ridiculous. I think it belongs to Danilo's friend Riccardo. But because no one is depending on the vineyard for income to support them through the year Danilo uses it as a sort of test winery. He's free to try out new ideas, techniques, blends, and just make wines that he personally likes.  

The vineyard is a tour of the winery, a bit of walking in the little vineyard, and then Danilo and I actually pressing off the juice that had been sitting on the skins to make the 2021 Ceppaiolo white wine. It was amazing to get to do it all: being elbow deep in warm fermenting wine, shoveling out the crushed compacted grapes, working the press; all of it.  

The white is made from Trebbiano Spoletino grapes. Danilo lets the juice sit on the skins for about 10 days with 2 punch downs per day. He was judging when to press the juice off based on the smell. 

There I am pressing grapes. I don't really know how to convey how great it was to be really doing it and involved in the process of making the wines I sell.  

Ceppaiolo Bianco
Approximately $32

Aroma: spicy, a bit of ginger, apple, golden raisin, peach, 

Taste: Pithy, orangey, very clean and focused. There's a really nice acidity all throughout. You notice the acidity more up front, then it get's a bit more generous and meaty. There's a delicious preach on the finish.

You can find this at Maine and Loire 

Ceppiolo Rosso
Approximately $32

Aroma: Super fresh vivid raspberry and cranberry, along with a touch of an aromatic spicy thing like sage. 
Super smooth supple texture up front followed by raspberry fruit and black cherry on the midpalate. There's tannin that dries out and draws out the finish but it's not harsh- just a major part of the wine. There's also some black pepper to the finish that builds on the tannin. As deep and sunny as the wine is it has a lovely lightness to it, particularly in the mid palate. There's a strawberry flavor there that's reminiscent of a Jura red, but with warm central Italian sun!  

Available at Maine and Loire, Cafe Louis, and Treats... or special order at any Wine Shop

And... we've got fresh hoodies in! They're $48 each. We've got black and neon pink. Let me know if you'd like one!

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Public Wine Tastings are back!  Wednesday and Thursday

Public Wine Tastings are back! Wednesday and Thursday

Happy Second Week of Summer! 

French Picnic Wines
Wednesday the 29th, 4-6 pm
At Maine & Loire

Wednesday I'll be at Maine and Loire pouring French picnic wines. I've gotten pretty used to taking it easy and hiding in my warehouse over the Pandemic, but I'm really going to try to clean up and shake off any antisocial habits from the Pandemic. I'm going all out, shaving and wearing a shirt. I promise: the shirt will even have sleeves!

In all seriousness we'll have great wines open: Telquel, Pepiere, Aubron Pet Nat, Fabien Jouves Les Agudes, and Eric Texier's Vaison la Romaine

Fizzy Wine Tasting
Thursday the 30th
At Monte's Fine Foods

Thursday I'll be pouring fizzy wines at Monte's on Washington Ave. Come grab some pizza and your fizzy wine of choice!

Paterna Il Rosso

Paterna is a lovely idyllic little winery out in the Arezzo hills east of Florence. This is higher elevation, windier, and cooler than pretty much the entire rest of Chianti. That doesn't keep the grapes from ripening, but it does mean the grapes have a bit more tannin and acidity and different aromas. Paterna was founded in 1978 by a group of friends who wanted to get out of Florence and go back to the land. So they collectively bought this old family farm out here in the hills and set about reviving it. The land had never been farmed with chemicals or fertilizers and they have maintained it as polyculture; growing grapes, olives, kale, wheat to grind into flour and make their own bread, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes, and on and on. One of the principals, Marco, is actually a professor of rural Tuscan agriculture at a university in Florence! Certified organic in 1982 they were one of the first certifications in all Italy.  

They mostly make Chianti Colli Aretini. It's fantastic and structured and serious and sales of that basically support the farm. But they also make a small quantity of this: the Il Rosso. This is also Sangiovese based but I suspect the juice gets a shorter maceration, plus a larger amount of Caniolo and Ciliegiolo are blended in along with a bit of Trebbiano and Malvasia to make it even fresher. The goal is to make a fun playful red that is more like what Chianti was 60 years ago. The result is a beautiful fun fresh red that is easy to drink and less intense and tannic than a classic Chianti. It's not that expensive, but they don't make much so it's always rare and allocated.

Aroma: oh wow, beautiful vivid ripe raspberry! I can smell it from several feet away as I pour the wine. Juicy but quite fresh smelling. Thats pretty much what its got: super vivid striking raspberry with a little pluminess and hint of ginger in the background

Taste: raspberry fresh fruit that gets a bit darker onto the mid palate and then black raspberry fruit that's so racy and tart and crunchy and vivid that this smacks of killer moulin a vent cru beaujolais! The finish has some gently dry dusty tannin that dries your palate but tart raspberry and then a lingering strawberry take center stage. This isn't a complex wine but it is absolutely drop dead gorgeous. 

You can find this under $20 at Maine and Loire, Blue Hill Wine Shop, Store Ampersand, Cocktail Mary, Speckled Ax on Thames St, and More and Co.

The past year and a half has been petty crazy. Well, really I feel like my entire adult life has been lived through pretty crazy times. I feel lucky to have started Devenish when I did, lucky to be in Portland, lucky to be in Maine, lucky to have grown up with support from a lot of great people.  

My good fortune has made me more aware of the unequal support and opportunities that different kids have access to. Taking some kind of tangible action to address that has been important to me and was part of my motivation in creating the Robert Burns 10K. But for July I'm going to try something new and donate 1% of Devenish's revenue to the Opportunity Alliance. They do a lot of great work in the community.  

That's all. I'm not asking for any match donations or anything at all. It's something that matters to me so I felt like it was worth mentioning here. Thank you for all your support over the years as I and Devenish have evolved!


Max and I tasting Teres Antiques Provence Rose

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Wine Tasting at Terlingua and Dinner at Chaval!

Wine Tasting at Terlingua and Dinner at Chaval!

Here comes Wine Week!

This coming week is Portland Maine Wine Week and I'm hosting a pair of events!

Tuesday the 15th at 2pm I'm hosting a traditional Chilean lunch (Almuerzo) with Justin at Terlingua. Southern Chile was the last place I visited before the start of the pandemic and I'm excited that one of my first public events in the past year and a half will center around the wine makers I met. 
This is just $50 per person!

Terlingua Tickets

Sunday the 20th, to close out wine week, I'm hosting a Spanish dinner at Chaval. There will be no Rioja. There will be no Ribera del Duero. There will be no Cava. This dinner is build around wine regions and grape varieties that are extremely unknown but that I've fallen in love with in the past year and that I think really deserve attention. It's going to be really fun and it's $77 per person!

Chaval Tickets

Here's the line up for the Chaval dinner

At Terlingua we'll be pouring magnums of Corinto Super Estrella from Roberto Henriquez!

Some of My Favorite Wines:

Eric Texier Adele Cotes du Rhone Blanc

In a world of white wines that's tyrannized by Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc; this sunny vibrant joyful white is surprising and so satisfying! Eric makes his white Cotes du Rhone from Clairette and Marsanne grapes grown on decayed granite hill sides. Eric sorts the grapes in the vineyard, presses them in an old wood basket press as soon as they arrive in the winery, and then ferments this in cement tanks and ages it on the lees.

Aroma: wow! Creme Brulee, honey, candied orange peel honey suckle; this smells rich and sunny and like some sort of exotic fruit that has just been cut open! In fact it smells somewhat like the cantaloupe I just grilled on a wood fire.


Taste: fresh orangey fruit right up front, but then the mid palate gets this deep rich textural cooked orange and salt. The finish evolves to add a dried apricot flavor and some passion fruit. It has a meaty fruit flesh quality but it's relatively low in alcohol and that keeps it from ever seeming heavy. The finish fades away surprisingly delicately after that big mid palate. 

I'm so in love with this wine and this is the best vintage I've tasted of it. You can find in the low $20s at Maine and Loire, Treats, Meridians, OhNo Cafe, and Lily's House Cafe.

Vino di Anna Palmentino Etna Rosso

The Etna wines of Anna Martens and Eric Narioo are a new addition to the Devenish portfolio, but I've been following them for several years. They were bewitched by Etna and started their small wine project on Etna's north slope of back in 2008. Anna and Eric were already a professional wine makers plus Eric owned wine import company in England, so from the outset it was passion for this wild volcano that was guiding their decisions. Over the past decade they've really honed their skill at expressing the sometimes elegant, sometimes firey Nerello Mascalese grape. Palmentino is basically their house red. It's 90% Nerello Mascalese, a little Nerello Cappuccio, a touch of Grenahe, and a bit of white grapes (mostly Cataratto) because most old vineyards on Etna are field blends along these lines. The grapes come from 50-100 year old vines in various plots they farm. Fermentation is all with natural yeast, but 50% of the grapes were fermented in a traditional Palmento for 5 days (a large shallow stone trough where the grapes can be foot trodden), 30% fermented in Georgian Qvevri, and 20% fermented in a single large old oak botte (cask).

Aroma: wild raspberry, red cherry, some pomegranate, and sweet stewed tomato. It's a savory meaty aroma that's heady and pretty at the same time. It's clearly wild but it's not Too Much and works brilliantly! There's a bit of oregano and bacon in the back ground of the aroma too.

Taste: medium bodied- nice combination of strawberry, red cherry and some black pepper right up front. There's a hint of black olive and some lovely deep red blood orange on the mid palate. The finish gets more savory in a dark volcanic way... it has just the right balance of relaxed tannins and salt that lingers on beyond the tannin. Gorgeously salty and with this beautiful vivid raspberry flavor that comes in after the tannin fades. This is excellent; it's raw but clearly Mount Etna and clearly Nerello Mascalese. It has the dark texture of Etna but without too much heat or tannin. Roses and fire and salty sweet tomato and Sicilian blood oranges: what else would you ever need in a wine!? You can find the Palmentino for about or just under $30 at Meridians, the Portland Cheese Shop, Maine St Meats, Lily's House, Solo Cucina, Maine and Loire, and Monte's Fine Foods.

Cellario Il Baffone

Il Baffone is a blend of Nascetta and Moscato. Nascetta is a local blending grape with thicker skins and Moscato is... Moscato. Fausto lets the wine ferment on it's skins in stainless steel tanks for about 5 days before he transfers it off the skins and lets it ferment dry. Then he adds the juice from late harvested dried grapes as he bottles the wine. This provides the sugar for the fermentation in the bottle. It's unfiltered, not disgorged, and 0 sulfur added. This is deliciously thirst quenching spring wine!

Aroma: lemon, pear, kiwi, honey suckle, apple blossoms.... This is so pretty and fresh smelling! It has some Moscato in it and that comes across in the lovely perfumed sort of nature of the aroma, but Fausto is a deft hand at keeping Moscato fun and uplifting. I generally don't like Moscato, but I always love how Fausto uses it as a building block in his white wines. This is a beautiful beguiling aroma that promises fun!

Taste: clean, refreshing pear and light pineapple fruit at first. It's super refreshing and the bubbles are very fine and just prickly really. But whew, on the mid palate it has a broader taste of dry orange with a tasty touch of salt that gives the wine more pizzazz. On the finish there's this taste of orange juice pulp that's meaty but elegant at the same time! This is a thirst quenching fun uplifting white. It has some savory meaty flavors from the skin contact but it's never actually heavy or rough; lovely!

45 cases is all I could get for the year but you can find it for about $20 at Liquor Locker, Vessel and Vine, Main St Market Rockland, Solo Cucina, Monte's Fine Foods, Maine and Loire, John Edwards, Milk and Honey, Bow St Beverage, Ada's Kitchen, and the Portland Cheese Shop.


Oyster River Chardonnay

Oyster River Just released their 2020 Chardonnay and I drove up same day to grab a pallet! Unfortunately that was all they could spare for me and in the time it's taken me to write this email most of the wine has already sold. Brian and I opened a bottle and made a short video talking about this vintage. It's at the bottom of this email.

In previous years Brian has fermented all the fruit together but this year he's separated into three different parts so that he could do two days of skin contact on one but then have the other two be direct press; 1/3 into tank and 1/3 into used oak barrels. Then he blended all of it back together when he thought it was ready and in the proportions that he wanted. The other big difference from last year is that the grapes were harvested a little earlier for more brightness and acidity. I really think it's the best vintage yet. It's cleaner, fresher, and has a nice orangey flavor

Medium-bodied, nice and fresh and citrusy. There's an orangey sort of orange juice Aroma and the taste of sordid medium navel orange to it. It's uplifting and a bit cleaner and brighter then last year's vintage. The lower alcohol helps the wine come across so bright and fresh without actually having sharp acidity. The Oyster River Chardonnay is available for just over $20 at Union Kitchen, Bier Cellar in Gorham, Browne Trading, LeRoux Kitchen, Solo Cucina, Maine and Loire, John Edwards, Bier Cellar Portland, Oak Hill, Portland Cheese Shop, Rising Tide Natural Foods, Bow St Beverage, Wolf Peach in Camden, Belfast Co-op, Blue Hill Co-op, Wind and Wine, Maine St Meats, Bath Natural Foods, Royal River Natural Foods, Bath Natural Market, Good Tern Co-op, Riverside Butcher, Rayr, and Treats.


Here's a video of Brian and I discussing how he made this year's Oyster River Chardonnay. As you'll hear he definitely made some important changes to how he works!

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Rare Old Single Vineyard wines from Chevalerie in Bourgeuil


Rare Library Releases from Domaine de Chevalerie in Bourgeuil

Domaine de Chevalerie in Bourgeuil is so awesome that it's hard for me to know where to start.... so I'll just start with the beginning. Domaine de Chevalerie dates back to 1640 when a Pierre Caslot moved to the village of Restigne on the Loire and began farming grapes. Over the centuries his descendants acquired some of the best vineyard plots in and around the town until in 2012 Pierre's great grandson x10 who was also named Pierre owned nearly 100 acres. This is Bourgeuil, where the only AOC approved grape is Cabernet Franc. There's a reason why only Cabernet Franc is allowed and that is because Bourgeuil makes some of the best Cabernet Franc in the world. I was very fortunate to visit and meet Pierre in 2012. Chevalerie was already farming organically but actually sold off much of their fruit and only kept the grapes from a hand full of vineyard sites that they thought were best. The winery isn't very well known here in the US, and they were very humble when I met them (Pierre was just so honestly excited about farming and plants there was nothing fancy or contrived about him), however the other visitors I met at the winery who came yearly from all over Europe to buy wine for the year made clear who important this winery is in Bourgeuil. Chamber St in NYC describes Chevalerie as making some of the greatest Cabernet Francs in the world. It felt like Pierre was a farmer first; international sales and marketing were clearly not what got him out of bed in the morning. 

The wines were stunning though. And the winery is built on top of an eleventh century subterranean limestone quarry which means that Chevalerie literally has acres of perfectly cool under ground storage caverns. Thanks to the space and their reputation in Europe and loyal following they could afford to hold wines for longer than a wine maker could normally dream of. I've been drinking these wines for over a decade and I've had vintages back into the 90s, so I'm pretty familiar with their style and I know Chevalerie makes brilliant wines. 

When Laurent Bonnois, my friend and importer who lives up the street from the Caslots, told me he could bring in all their single vineyard bottlings from 2014 I jumped at the opportunity. 

Here's that link to Chamber Street's superb and in-depth description of the wines and winery

Quick Important Notes:
All the farming is organic with some biodynamic practices. All grapes are hand harvested and they ferment with native yeast. Sulfur is only added to the wines if they feel it is needed.  

The soil in Bourgeuil is very diverse. Up above the river there are rolling hills and forest, mixed soils and limestone subsoil. There is grape growing but wines usually aren't too complex. None of these wines come from up on the plateau. Things get interesting on the slopes. Over millions of years the Loire has moved around depositing different types of rock and soil as well as wearing away the subsoils. In places there is lots of clay, in others gravel, and in others a deep layer of limestone is exposed. That limestone is the most important thing. Soft limestone subsoil slows down the ripening process and allows the grapes to build up more power and flavor. Each of the single vineyards has a unique soil and exposure combination that influences their character.


Domaine de Chevalerie Bourgueil "Peu Muleau vineyard" 2014
48 btls came into Maine

The Peu Muleau vineyard has the youngest vines of the Chevalerie vineyards and is always ready to drink sooner than the others. That's because the soil of this vineyard has more sand and the tuffeau llimestone subsoil is more broken up. The sand absorbs more heat and the broken tuffeau is easier for the vines roots to burrow through. The vineyard is up above the Domaine de la Chevalerie vineyard and just below the forest of chestnut, acacia, oak, pine and birch. The vines are around 35 years old, and farmed biodynamically. Pue Muleau gets a shorter maceration of less than 20 days. Aging is done in a mix of tank and large used barrels with less and less oak. 

Aroma: juicy blackberry and a bit brambley. It's ripe juicy fruit but not too in your face or powerful an aroma. A little bit of black currant too.

Taste: juicy, smooth fresh blackberry and cherry flavors that seamlessly add black pepper and currant flavors in the mid palate while also opening up into a rounder softer profile. Then the finish brings the addition of integrated tannic structure that pulls the wine together but then fades gently away. Lastly there's a lingering delicious dark plum flavor. This Cabernet Franc is so smooth and elegant. 

The different flavor components all appear one after the other but make us this beautiful harmonious experience: it really reminds me of the opening of a symphony with different instrumental sections joining in one after another until you have a single piece of music. This isn't a super deep, demanding, or complex wine, but it's beauty is unusual and impressive. It's also shockingly uplifting and fresh. It's hard to quantify but the wine has a precision about it and the finish is structured but just gently recedes like a caress. This is a great demonstration of the talent and skill Chevalrie has! 

This retails for just under $30 and you can find it at Maine and Loire, Meridians, and the Blue Hill Wine Shop


Domaine de Chevalerie Bourgueil "Galichets vineyard" 2011
48 btls came into Maine

"Les Galichets" vineyard is lower down on the slope towards the Loire river, below the "Chevalerie" plot. While there is still a limestone subsoil the topsoil is clay mixed with alluvial gravel and silex. The gravel gives a little more heat to the vines and they ripen a bit before the Chevalerie vineyard. Galichets always has classic structure and is age worthy, but it's never as muscular as Chevalerie or Breteche. The vines average about 60 years of age. The wine is aged in large old barrels, and bottled after 6 months unfined unfiltered.

Aroma: heady aromatic blackberry, currant, and cooked wild blueberries. a hint of cocoa powder and a hint of soy sauce. 

The first taste is smooth supple raspberry and cherry fruit. That evolves into a mid palate that's still supple but also meaty and has a peppery hint of rosemary. The finish has a pure elegant fresh cherry flavor that lingers after the relaxed tannins have faded away. This is a relaxed smoothly textured wine.... but it has this focus and cohesion. Under that refined fruit there is this slightly meaty/salty and savory structure that runs through the whole wine. I think that technically it's a salt component but it brings with it flavors that sort of combine meaty and chocolaty. It's not obvious. There's fruit and acidity that is more in your face all the way through the wine, but this mineral component ties it all together. It's pretty impressive: the fruit and acid flavors make the wine delicious but this less apparent minerality gives it strength and staying power without being heavy or demanding. 

The 2011 Galichets retails in stores for about $30 and you can find it at The Cheese Shop of Portland, Bow St in Freeport, Browne Trading, Vessel and Vine, Helm, and Meridians

Domaine de Chevalerie Bourgueil "Galichets vineyard" 2014
48 btls available came into Maine

Aroma: wow! more expressive than 2011. This is blackberry and wild blueberry pie. some spruce and wintergreen there too to give it a aromatic herbal dimension. Uh, honestly it smells a little like chocolate covered cherries. Most of the flavors are very fresh so it doesn't smell heavy or candied, but it is expressive and has a hedonistic bent.... It is wine, but I don't think hedonistic is redundant here..... and more black pepper as it opens up

Taste: Ripe blackberry fruit backed up and kept fresh and dynamic by perfect acidity. rich meaty and then whoa hello lots of brambley blackberry in the midpalate. The midpalate though has dense dark fruit that doesn't overwhelm but it really has a solid feel like I could bite into it. .... the finish has a .... wow, there's a beautiful ghost of a cherry flavor interwoven in the finish. It's like a cherry cordial or the flavor of candied cherry but refined and just pretty. This wine has more tannin than the 2011 but I don't even notice them: there's so much else going on and the fruit is so dense. 

This is a very relaxed delicious open wine. The cherry and blackberry fruit flavors are ripe and perfect and mature: they're polished and the wine has a very relaxed feel to it. But it also has serious structure and power. The wine takes it's time and even with out huge fruit or high alcohol it makes you take your time too. The blackberry is so dense and vivid, and then there's this awesome touch of cool aromatic spice like spruce or thai basil.   

The 2014 Galichets is about $30 retail in a store and you can find this at Lorne and Now You're Cooking


Domaine de Chevalerie Bourgueil "Breteche vineyard" 2014
60 btls came into Maine

The Bretêche vineyard is the most east site Chevalerie has. It is a rented plot on the southwestern exposed upper part of the mid-slope. That means deeper meter-deep heavier clay with high mica content above the Turonian yellow tuffeau. The vines, biodynamically farmed, are between 25 to 55 years old. More powerful than Busardières with broader tannins, the wine maintains a great freshness. Hand-harvested and destemmed, the grapes are macerated for up to 20 days and aged in large used barrels in the magnificent underground cave dug into the yellow tuffeau for roughly 8 to 10 moths. The wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered. 

Aroma: Before I even get to the glass I can smell black currant and juicy blackberry: dark, substantial, and vivid. As I actually get my nose into the glass there's also the smell of an old burnt down fire: tangy charred wood and ashes. As the wine gets some oxygen in it the fruit turns less dark and evolves into more plum and meaty cherry. The ash fades but is still there and makes me think more of roasted poblanos. Give the Breteche another 10 minutes and a bit more of a rich earthy/meaty/mocha aroma starts to sneak in and displace that char... then another 10 minutes on I'm smelling flowers: violets and lilac. Wow.

dark and sleek texture, ripe blackberry, and tart cherry with an undertone of that char. Like the Galichets there's acidity that supports the fruit, but in the Breteche the acidity gets more of the spot light. It runs through the blackberry with this dynamic racy playful intensity. That's prefect because the blackberry is really pretty fat and fleshy so having the acidity sort of literally cutting through it is great. This wine has a bigger mouth filling meatiness that the Galichets and Peu Muleau didn't. The mid palate has more of the charry flavor and seared poblano, plus this sneaky earth minerality starts to filter in. It's earthy in a slightly mocha kind of way. Then with the finish the wine shows off more of it's underlying structure: a solid angular stony minerality that is deliciously covered with just enough black cherry and raspberry fruit to make it beautiful without actually hiding the minerality. There's also a touch of a cool aromatic spice quality that gives it a more high toned component. There are real tannins here, but there's so much else happening that I don't notice them. That's impressive really: the tannins aren't weak, they're just so well integrated behind the other components that you don't notice.

Bottom line: this is a muscular wine that is also complex and intellectual and has even has flashes of beauty and elegance. Breteche retails around or just under $40 and you can find it at Bangor Wine and Cheese, Vessel and Vine, Grippy Tannins, and the Blue Hill Wine Shop


Domaine de Chevalerie Bourgueil "Chevalerie vineyard"
84 btls came into Maine

As the name would suggest, the Chevalerie vineyard is the core of Domaine de Chevalerie's holdings. This is the original vineyard just up the road from the winery. Like Breteche this is midway up the slope from the Loire. The soil is a mix of clay, alluvial sand, and gravel topsoils, rich in silex over Turonian limestone. The vines average about 60 years of age.

Aroma: Black currant, black cherry, and you guessed it: blackberry; however the Chevalerie is a little more aromatic and spicy smelling than the Breteche. I don't smell ashes or smoke, but I do smell some wild blueberry here. With another 10 minutes to breathe the aroma has started to smell very Christmasy! I can smell nutmeg and coriander now, a touch of spicy pine, plus cooked cherries and blackberries. Another 10 minutes on and the nutmeg and coriander have faded. Now it's back to the regularly scheduled program of black cherry, blackberry, and ...hmm rosemary now.

Taste: cherry and raspberry fruit with really nice pure crisply defined flavors, but the wine quickly adds some wintergreen/spruce tip spice. The deep midpalate has a lush mouth coating texture but it also has some crunchy minerality to the mid palate; compared to Breteche there's a bit more acidity and rocky minerality and the fruit is a little more towards the blueberry part of the spectrum. Also a bit more of that fire roasted poblano with some mocha hiding under all that. The texture is supple- more so than the Breteche; silkier. Until the finish that is when the Chevalerie sort of draws in on it's self. I taste a hint of aromatic spice like rosemary or thyme, then a tart wild black cherry flavor supported by tannins that are more firm than the Breteche, but still restrained and in the background. Right at the heart of the finish there's a little slate mineral component that grabs your palate and reminds you again this wine means business. If you needed any reminder. Then, after the wine is gone there's an elegant red cherry flavor that comes back to me.  

The Chevalerie has a bit more structure than the Breteche. Both are more serious and substantial than the Galichets. Chevalerie and Breteche both have power and finesse. Chevalerie is a bit crisper and serious while the Breteche is a bit meatier and more muscular. These are all such wonderful wines. I think Chevalerie is a bit more balanced and intellectual than Breteche, but Breteche is a little richer and open; both are amazing. 

The Chevalerie vineyard Bourgeuil retails in the mid $40s and you can find it at Vessel and Vine, Blue Hill Wine Shop, Maine and Loire, Meridians, Bath Natural, and Maine St Meats in Rockport

The Most Exciting Wines for the Holidays!!!

The Most Exciting Wines for the Holidays!!!

Here we are! We have made it to the holidays! The end of this year is in sight; Christmas, Hanukkah, the Solstice are all right around the corner. Without further ado here's the list of wines I am particularly excited about and promoting for Christmas.  


Cantina Sociale di Gattinara 2011

How crazy is it that the current vintage of this wine is 2011!? This Nebbiolo from Gattinara, up in high Piedmont, spends 2 years in Slovenian oak botti, then 1 year in cement tank, and a further 6 months in bottle....minimum. The aroma of this is fantastic! Really just stops me in my tracks. Roses, rose petals, crushed tart wild cherries, and little hints of black currant, licorice, and dark chocolate.....or like all those things got baked together into the best smelling pie in the world. Nebbiolo sometimes gets called the wine of kings and drinking this I see why. So so polished and suave and serious and deep. There's a bit of a cola or sasparilla flavor in the mid palate: a dark amaro kind of flavor that's both familiar and surprising. It's enchanting. There's a salty component on the midpalate and the comforting flavor of bittersweet chocolate. This is spectacular. So good, floral, and powerful all at once that it's heady. I aspire to have depths and poise like this!  

It's ridiculous that this perfect 9 year old Nebbiolo is priced in the mid $20s. The flavors that wine develops with age can't be recreated through any other chemical sleight of hand. It takes time to let all the flavors and structure really mellow and come together. As they say "time is money"...maybe they don't have that saying in Gattinara? I don't know why else a #wine that is so interesting, beautiful, and meditative would be priced at a fraction of what a similar Barolo would go for. Gattinara is an old DOCG in Alto Piemonte, but today there are only 12 producers left. Cantina Sociale is a 112 year old coop winery that was formed to empower small local growers. 35 families are a part of it today and together they farm a whopping...8 hectares. They work very traditionally and naturally and make only 2000 cases per year of all their wines combined.

This generally retails around or just under $40 and you can find it at The Cheese Shop of Portland, Monte's Fine Foods, Bath Natural Market, Maine and Loire, Now You're Cooking, Bow St Beverage, Wine Wise, Via Vecchia, Bow St Freeport, Meridians, and the Blue Hill Wine Shop


Matteo Furlani Antico (pet nat Nosiola)

This prickly, fizzy, juicy wine is so alive, delicious, and unique: it makes me think Matteo Furlani is some kind of wizard. Then you go visit his tiny winery up on the barren slopes of the Alps up above the tree line looking down on the city of Trento and you're convinced he's got some kind of magic! The flavor is lemon and pineapple at the start, but then a more savory fizz comes in on the mid palate. The finish turns salty and zesty with a rich white pineapple and papaya flavors! the Antico has a lovely aroma of ripe pineapple and toasted nuts...which makes sense because Nosiola the grape is named after hazelnuts. I can definitely smell a little bit of melon and ripe papaya as well.
Matteo is the current custodian of his family plots high in the Dolomites; he is a fourth generation winemaker. After studying agronomy, not winemaking (he learned that from his father and grandfather) Matteo set his sights on working his land in the most natural of ways. Chemicals were never a part of what Matteo's predecessors used to tend the vines yet Matteo took an even more rigorous approach, incorporating biodynamic preparations and methodologies in the vineyards today. 

Antico usually retails around $30 and you can find it at Ada's Kitchen Portland, Monte's Fine Foods, Maine and Loire, Sheepscot General Store, and Brooklin General Store


Domaine Dinocheau Malbec

Malbec from the Loire! Malbec is actually a traditional grape in the central Loire, it just usually doesn't leave the local area. This wine has big, dense, inky fruit but there's that good old Loire acidity that demands you take the wine seriously. Big and ripe but with gravel deep down in it's soul that you can taste in the angular crunch of the mid-palate. The lush fruit continues across your palate but turns a bit fresher and peppery before the finish refocuses with tannins that are...not shy. The tannins aren't aggressive or harsh or out of place, just right what a big lush dark Malbec needs: confident and serious. The aroma smells like exactly what the wine is: juicy friendly blackberry and blackcherry with underlying cola and wintergreen.

Located on the slopes of Cher in Touraine in the Loire Valley, Vignoble Dinocheau was founded by the great-great-great grandfather of Laurence and Fabien Dinocheau. Laurence and Fabien took over the estate in 2006 and it now covers 13 hectares in both Chenonceaux and Touraine AOPs. They aim for minimal intervention in the vineyard, practice sustainable farming, and use natural yeast fermentations.

Laurence Dinocheau's Cot generally retails for about $23 at Best Wines in Hancock, Meridians, Vic and Whit's, Vessel and Vine, and Anju.


Absentee Wine Co Balou

This Syrah hits you with bright sunny blackberry fruit right off, but then the mid-palate turns all dark and spicy. This is a red with serious presence. It has this delicious black cherry fruit going on so you think you're drinking a fun gregarious red but this wine lingggggeerrrsssss. This is a very serious wine masquerading as a party animal.  

Balou is made by Avi Deixler out in Point Reyes CA. He does just about everything himself. He uses no additives. He ferments in old used oak barrels that he laboriously grinds clean on the inside with an angle grinder. In my opinion these are some of the most exciting wines coming out of CA! 

Balou retails for just over $30 and you can find it at Maine and Loire


Partida Creus MUZ Vermouth
Partida Creus MUZ: old school authentic Vermouth made by Antonella and Massimo in Penedes Spain. This is all the holiday season flavors rolled up and packed into a brilliant looking litre bottle. The aroma is super impressive and dynamic ginger, cardamom, orange peel, candied cherry, blood orange, sandle goes on and on. On the palate it is quite juicy and a vivid balance of zippy acidity, ripe fruit, and aromatic spices. Fresh cherry and rasberry up front with lively acidity is followed by some salt and dark blood orange, then more of the aromatic slices come in and it's like a whole Christmas feast of flavors!
Antonella and Massimo were architects in Piedmont Italy who relocated to Spain for work. In the early 2000s they decided to move to the country for a slower pace of life...and what better thing to do in the Spanish countryside than make wine? They started ferreting out abandoned little old vineyards and convincing the locals to rent land to them. Now they make some of the most exciting natural wines in Penedes including this Vermouth along the lines of an old recipe from the Carpano family.

You can find this lovely litre bottle for about $35 at Montes Fine Foods, Rosemont Market, Maine and Loire, The Wine Seller, The Cheese Shop of Portland, Bow St Beverage, Vessel and Vine, and Blue Hill Wine Shop.


Podere Sanguineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

This is, in my opinion, one of the greatest classic Sangiovese wines of Tuscany. Dora Forsoni has farmed these 6 ha of blood red soil for her entire life. She owns 50 ha but feels these 6 are all out of that 50 ha that are worth farming. She works very naturally because that's how she was taught and her family had always worked. This is primarily local versions of Sangiovese locally called Prugnolo Gentile. This is deep and dark, but elegant and the complex flavors are beautifully interwoven. Blackberry and cherry up front but then salt and black pepper come in and the finish has an amazing amaro burnt orange peel quality to it. This is powerful and has that resilient Tuscan earthiness, but it's also elegant and has delicacy! This is a dream of a Sangiovese.

Dora's beautiful Sangiovese retails for about $40 and you can find it at Monte's Fine Foods, Stompers, Solo Cucina, Maine and Loire, Solo Italiano, and The Cheese Shop of Portland


Jurtschitsch Mon Blanc

Wow, the aromatics of this wine are gorgeous: beautiful fresh wildflowers... a little bit of lavender? Definitely ripe pear and lilacs!

On the palate this is gorgeous. At first the wine opens with some lemony citrusy-it's zingy, then it builds into a mid palate of riper citrus with the addition of some cool subtle spice like the heat from a poblano pepper. The finish adds a beautiful floral sort of white rose and zippy lime zest. It slowly slowly fades away. Under it all, holding all those pretty flavors together is this hidden back bone of salinity that gives the wine strength cohesion and wonderful tasty mouth feel. this is like no other Austrian wine I've tasted. This wine is a rock star.

Mon Blanc is a blend of Riesling, Grüner Veltliner, Gelber Muskateller and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc). The juice gets about two weeks of skin contact, spontaneous fermentation in open-top wooden vats, aging is in 600L old oak barrel, and the wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered with just a touch of SO2.

Current wine makers Alwin and Stef are leaders of the natural wine movement in the Kamptal. It’s unique because their winery, Jurtschitsch, is one of the oldest, largest, and most prestigious in the region. When Alwin and Stef started working in 2006, they insisted with Alwin’s father and uncles on converting all the vineyards to organic viticulture. In the vineyards, they are continually improving how they work: replanting more densely, using whey to treat for mildew instead of using copper sulphate, and working with new pruning methods. All the vineyards are certified organic and protecting biodiversity has always been a priority. Jurtschitsch explains that, “The more life you have in the vineyard, the more stable the entire system is.” Wild life is abundant in the Jurtschitsch vineyards, with many fruit trees, grass, garlic, wildflowers and butterflies dancing amongst the vines.

Mon Blanc retails for about $26 at Bow St Beverage, Lincolnville General Store, Sheepscot General Store, treats, Good Tern, and More and Co


Moretti Omero Terre Di Giano Rosso

Moretti Omero the wine Co. was started by Omero Moretti in 1992 on his parents land in the tiny hamlet of Giano in Umbria. Omero is a real hands on old school farmer who can't help tinkering and trying to improve all the things he works with. It just so happened that these are some of the highest elevation sites in the Montefalco DOC, resulting in powerful but vivid and lively wines that have become the yard stick that I compare all other wines from this area to.  

The Terre di Giano has a rich aroma of juicy dark cherry, black berry, and some cedar/cigar box. It's a strong fruity aroma that's extroverted and spicy.

And it tastes the same on the palate! Lush ripe raspberry and cherry followed quickly by black pepper, cedar, dry robust tannin, and more black pepper. This is a substantial rustic red that's not shy! It's not heavy and it is well balanced. It's strong though and isn't afraid to let you know. This vintage is now 75% Ciliegiolo and 25% Sangiovese where previous vintages were heavier on Sangiovese and included Merlot and Sagrantino as well. Ciliegiolo is a derivation of the Italian word for cherries and this wine lives up to that reputation! 

Terre di Giano retails for about $18 at Rosemont Market, Thistle Pig, 44 North, Blue Hill Wine Shop, Lincolnville General Store, Treats, Vic and Whit's, Meridians, Vessel and Vine, Sheepscot General, Natural Living Center, Wine Wise, Solo Cucina, The Vault, and Tinder Hearth

Happy Holidays!

This will be an odd holiday season, but at least it will be odd for us all! On the one hand the knowledge that we won't be able to travel and celebrate together is hard. We're coming up on the coldest darkest part of the year and we are all going to be more isolated as we face it. 

It does feel like an accomplishment for those of us that have made it this far. The year is almost over and that feels like a turning point. We may not be able to have normal celebrations with people who matter to us, but we can still reach out and let people know that they're loved and appreciated. This is a good time to consciously try to focus on the positive things in our lives and to be thankful for them. I know that may sound condescending to some people out there: people who have had to close businesses or lay off employees who felt like family members. I acknowledge that. I don't want to down play anyone's suffering. Even if all you've got to look back on in 2020 is pain and struggles; at least you're here and able to look back. Trying to look for the positive things in our lives is valuable if for no other reason than it's a prompt to thank people for how they've helped us.  

I know I have a lot to be thankful for. Devenish wines has been fortunate, but what's contributed to our resilience more than anything else is the support of you, our customers. Thank you. This has been a painful year and it's going to be a difficult start to 2021 as well. As I've been saying since the start of the pandemic: I'm going to keep celebrating the things I love and looking forwards to better days.