Incredible wines from Julien Pinon in Vouvray

Incredible wines from Julien Pinon in Vouvray

Some of the Best Chenins I've Ever Had

Domaine Pinon Vouvray

Visiting Julien Pinon earlier this month was incredibly moving for me because I love the wines so much but also because they’ve had a hard couple years. Julien’s father passed unexpectedly in January 2021 and then a few months later a late frost destroyed the buds on 95% of the winery’s vineyards. The wines of Francois and Julien Pinon have long been important moving wines and rank among the wines that set my standards for expression of not just a place but also a history and culture and a particular family. Like Domaine de Chevalerie these wines are incredibly well crafted and moving even if you aren’t aware that the Pinon family has been here making wine since 1786. They’re important because they’re some of the most exciting wines made in Vouvray as well as because they look back and are a direct link to why Vouvray exists as a famous appellation.  
So getting to see the caves and talk to Julien about the new wines he is making felt special and important beyond just learning about wine. We received a pallet that I had ordered months before just as we returned to the US. When I placed the order I was offered 2021 Vouvray Sec at a higher price than usual since Julien had used his tiny harvest to just make that 1 wine and had had to raise the price to make ends meet, or the 2022 was just coming available and would be at a more normal price. I jumped at the 2021 to support the Pinons. I’m glad I did because it’s one of the greatest dry Chenins I’ve ever tasted.

Blurry, but this is totally my favorite shot I took of Julien. They have bottles here going back to the early 1800s. Julien has tasted a lot of them over time as he’s recorked them! It must give him quite a perspective on the historical evolution of Vouvray.

Francois Pinon, Vouvray Sec 2021
“Sauve du Gel”
Approximately $32/btl
20 cases came to Maine. You can find it retail at Maine and Loire, Bow St Beverage, Meridians, and Best Wines

2021 was a terrible year for the Pinons. Francois passed away and then an early bud break/late frost destroyed 95% of the buds on the grape vines. When that happens the vines will grow more leaves and be fine and healthy, but they won’t produce any flowers or grapes. So Julien still had to maintain the vines and work the vineyards to keep them healthy, but in the knowledge that he would have virtually no grapes to work with: ouch! He collected the few grape clusters that had survived here and there and made a bit of sparkling wine and this one dry Vouvray, hence the name '‘Sauve du Gel” which translates as “Saved from the Ice”. Those vines sure concentrated their effort into the few grapes there were because this is show stopping! Julien had to raise the price to help make ends meet but it’s once of the greatest dry Chenins I’ve ever had and I’m so glad I could get some of it. When I tasted it it was good when I opened the bottle but really came into it’s own with some time to breathe; sort of to be expected with a complex wine that was just shipped internationally.
Aroma: Beautiful concentrated zippy apple; ripe but not cooked smelling. It’s tart and racy and so vibrant! White rose, preserved lemon, and lemon peel. There’s some rich white peach, in the background there's also a creamy aroma- in behind all the fresh vivid fruit. There's also a facet of the aroma that smells like wildflower honey in its pretty and beguiling way, not big and sweet, but concentrated and luxurious
Taste: wow. This is pretty incredible. It's painful knowing that Julian lost 95% of his crop, but the wine that the vines managed to produce is just off the charts. It's racy and electric, friendly and light on its feet, uplifting and thirst quenching, and then has such lovely rich white peach and tart Clementine orange. How you can fit this much flavor, this much fruit, this much acidity, this much minerality, all into one wine that's only 12 and a half percent alcohol just staggers me. It has such racy acidity and then the mid palate is honey but then flinty and then the finish lingers…

Here’s a video of Julien talking about the soil in Vouvray, the AOC rules, and what he’s doing to try to prevent frost damage to the buds.

Francois Pinon,Vouvray Pétillant Brut NV
Approximately $31
14 cases came to Maine. You can find it retail at Blue Hill Wine Shop, Now You’re Cooking, Maine and Loire, Sawyer’s Specialties, and Milk and Honey

Julien makes this Methode Traditionelle sparkling Vouvray from slightly earlier harvested grapes across their holdings. These grapes with slightly higher acidity are hand harvested and then ferment for 4-6 weeks with native yeast in neutral barrels and then gets racked and spends 2-3 months on the fine lees. It gets a light filtration and is then bottled to go through a secondary fermentation in the bottle. It spends about 2 years aging in the bottles before getting disgorged and has a dosage of 6 grams. In some vintages it has a bit of residual sweetness but I don’t notice any in this bottling of the wine.
Aroma: Apple blossoms, apple, a little bit of baked pie crust, fresh lemon zest… a little bit of toasted bread. It smells focused and bright, zippy and toasty, warm and delicious. Very springy but serious and classy. I feel like I should have a white napkin to clean my mustache as I drink this
Taste: juicy and rich, the bubbles are very fine and gentle, it’s mouth filling. Lemon and tart orange, but it's not overly citrusy, more fresh and fun tasting. It has a roundness and richness that balances it, more so than the still Chenins. It's just so effortlessly integrated and delicious

The Pinon cellars and tasting room are all in caves cut back into this limestone cliff face. They’re up in the valley de Cousse, in the northern part of Vouvray. It’s definitely more rural here and we drove past more woods, wheat fields, and cows than vineyards on the way here.

Francois Pinon,Vouvray Trois Argiles 2018
Approximately $30/btl
31 btls Available. Find it Retail at the Lost Kitchen, RSVP, Sawyer’s Specialties, Alna General Store, Maine and Loire, Blue Hill Wine Shop, Hops and Vine, and Stompers
Trois Argiles comes from 3 parcels that are on clay rich soil and comprise 3.75 hectares. The vines are about 35 years old, the grapes are hand harvested, and then ferment with native yeast in old wooden vats in their subterranean cellar. The fermentation goes on.... and on because it's so cold. After 2 or 3 months the fermentation can't go any further because of the alcoholic content and cold temperature, but the wine isn't actually dry yet. There is a bit of residual sugar here, but it's intentional. The soil of these vineyards produces grapes with such intense minerality and acidity that the Pinons think the wine has to have a bit of residual sugar in order to be truly balanced. And after enjoying this show stopping dramatic wine I totally agree.

Aroma: tropical, sunny, salty, some pineapple, some mango, yellow peach....really ripe lemon - like cooked or candied lemon. But this doesn't smell sweet! It smells like fresh zippy fruit, like stones: wet stones in a cool river

Taste: off dry; yes there's some RS on the midpalate, but it has so much acidity and delicious saltiness on the mid palate that it needs that touch of RS. It's so well balanced and fresh and here right now! The salt is really what lingers after I swallow. There's honey and quickly seared ripe yellow peaches. The sweetness on the mid palate has a bit of a caramelized character to it and it helps create that perception of cooked or roasted/toasted fruit. This is such a show stopper; there's just nothing like serious ripe Chenin.

Julien in one of their vineyard parcels up above the cellars. The cellars are basically down under those trees to the right of him.

Francois Pinon,Vouvray Le Bon Pinon 2020
Approximately $32
14 cases came to Maine. You can find this retail at The Blue Hill Wine Shop, Alna General Store, The Cheese Shop of Portland, and Milk and Honey
Julien Pinon calls this an "anachronistic cuvee". This cuvee had been made by his grandfather, but then his father stopped making it. Now, 30 or so years on Julien has resurrected it as a tribute to the generations before him. The grapes come from the family's oldest vineyard: planted by Julien’s great grandfather back in the 40s on a steep slope rich in black flint. The oak casks it ages in were originally used port casks purchased by Julien’s grandfather. The grapes are hand harvested, ferment in old wood vats in their cool subterranean cellar, and then after an extended aging on the fine lees it's bottled. The label was used by Julien’s great grandfather Camille for this wine back in the 50s and Julien likes the sort of comical name “Buvez du Bon Pinon” which means “drink some good Pinon”. These grapes usually go into the Silex Noir Vouvray, but in 2020 there was a drought and the water stress kept the vines from producing enough sugar to make a demi sec, so Julien took the opportunity to create this incredible dry Vouvray instead.

Aroma: leafy, minty, lemongrass, lemon juice and orange. It's a fresh nice green growing things outside right after a clean rain sort of a smell, vivid clear and clean and racy smelling!

Taste: racy poised acidity, definitely citrus lemon and white grapefruit and passion fruit. It's heady and the aroma sneaks back up into my olfactory from having it in my mouth. Wow, the mid palate is round and sort of mouth filling but the finish also has edgy lemon sorbet flavor. This is lovely, focused, sort of nervy, but richly textured Chenin; definitely one of the best dry Vouvrays I've had.

Julien is an avid gardner and had things growing all over the place out of everything! I loved this bench shaded by a lilac bush

It’s hard to make out but here Julien has several lemon and orange trees, a fig tree, and grape vines. The citrus trees are all potted and get taken inside over winter.

Tronconic oak vats for aging of some of the Vouvray cuvees.

Copyright © 2023 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

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Old Vintages of Domaine de la Chevalerie

Old Vintages of Domaine de la Chevalerie

These are Limited!

Domaine de la Chevalerie

Last month I and three of the Devenish sales people visited Domaine de la Chevalerie in Bourgueil. Chevalerie has been a touchstone winery for me that has produced some of the most beautiful and transcendent wines I have drunk. These wines have a beautiful energy to them; they taste alive and joy filled to me. They’re precise, supple, and integrated but have such lovely and accessible fruit.  
All of these wines are in stock at our warehouse but only a few cases of any came into the US. If you’d like any the best thing to do is contact your local wine shop and have them special order whatever you’d like.
Everything just lined up and our allocation for the year just happened the week we got back. This is probably about it for what we can get for 2023. Chevalerie doesn’t make that much wine and they have quite a following in Europe so each year only a few pallets come into the US.
Chevalerie was founded by the Caslot family back in the mid 1600s and they’re still here working the land today. Over the years they’ve learned a lot and also acquired some great vineyard parcels. The vineyards are all pretty much contiguous on a gentle slope rising up from the Loire. All the vineyards are farmed naturally, but they have different characters and are vinified separately. The winery is built above and in a subterranean limestone quarry that was begun in the eleventh century, so part of it is a thousand years old. The initial press and fermentation happens up stairs but then the wines are moved down into the cavern where there is over an acre of storage space at perfect stable cool temperatures. The ability to age the wines until the family feels they’re ready to release certainly contributes to why these are so spell binding. These wines are so lovely and quite rare. Not much is produced and the wines are sought after. Maine is very lucky to get a large part of the US allocation.
I snapped a shot of this handy graphic below:

Bastille Day is just under a week away and we’ve got to events to celebrate the holiday! Bastille day is sort of like the French Fourth of July. It marks the day that citizens stormed the Bastille in Paris to free political prisoners, seize weapons, and demand limits on the power of the King.
Freshly back from France we’re holding a pair of celebrations!
Friday July 14th (Bastille Day) we’re taking over Novare Res and having an awesome selection of French wines available.
Saturday July 15th we’ll be at Broad Arrow Farm in Bristol with more French wine, incredible cured meats from their own pigs, and Petanque!

Laurie Caslot in the vineyard with Laurent Bonnois talking about how they farm. Rather natural as you can see. They let grasses and other plants grow in the vineyard but cut them back by hand periodically to keep the vines from getting completely over run. They were planning on having people out with hoes trimming the weeds back soon. The old vines have very deep roots so grasses aren’t too much competition.

Here’s a video of part of the vineyard walk and cellar visit! Laurie had amazing energy and enthusiasm for the vineyard and to share it. Her father and sister (both now passed) did as well and I’m sure that also plays a part in making these wines what they are.

Chevalerie Cuvee 2014 Peu Muleau
Approximatey $29

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. Peu Muleau gets a shorter maceration of less than 20 days. Aging is done in a mix of tank and large used barrels with 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!

Here I am in front of the Busardieres vineyard!

Chevalerie Bourgueil Cuvee Diptyque 2019

Approximately $19

Diptyque is made from Chevalerie’s vineyards down closer to the Loire. The soil here is an alluvial mix of gravel, sand, and some clay. The vines are younger (still old by most standards) and ripen earlier because the gravel and sand reflect more solar heat at the vines. Diptyque has a shorter maceration and is aged in stainless steel. I can’t get over how delicious the 2019 Diptyque is. 2019 was a good year and this must be right at it’s peak right now. It’s so juicy but supple while also being playful and lipsmacking and thirst quenching! This entry level cuvee always impresses me with it’s value but 2019 seems particularly good!
Aroma: juicy really ripe red cherry but also with some touches of wild blueberry, a little bit of cocoa, and a bit of rose. It's a really beautiful inviting fruit forward but not to big and not jammy aroma
Taste: the fruit is very supple and has just the right amount of bright acidity. Silky textured cherry backed up with some delicious salt on the mid palate, a little bit of black pepper, and then some red cherry flavors and gentle tannin on the finish. It's such a delicious lovely and beautifully balanced easy going red wine. The 2019 vintage is so good and drinking beautifully right now!

The caverns really go on and on. Those hallways have other hallways off of them. I did some exploring and the rooms just kept going and branching out!

Domaine de Chevalerie 2017 Galichets
Approximately $32

The Galichets vineyard is part way up the slope on clay and gravel over limestone tuffeau with vines that are about 50 years old now. The gravel helps these vines to ripen a bit before Chevalerie or Breteche and the younger vines give slightly fresher fruit. This and the 2015 are similar, like you’d expect, but this is a little punchier and has more intense fruit that grabs your attention. It’s delicious and a bit “louder” than the softer 2015. Both are lovely but have different personalities that suite them to slightly different things.
Aroma: The 2017 Galichets has a lovely and powerful aroma of blackcurrant, wild blueberry, ripe bing cherry, a little bit of cocoa powder, and a hint of basil leaf. The smell is similar to the 2015 but juicier; the fruit is a little more vivid and juicy.
Taste: juicy lovely ripe red cherry with a little bit of cranberry, then currant followed by black pepper on the mid palate, then some black raspberry and plum with a touch of chocolate flavor as these finely textured and gentle but lingering tannins come in and round out the pallet. This is beautiful, so elegant, so thoughtful, and so delicious. It's a little bit bigger and the fruit is a little juicier than the 2015 but with the same sense of style.

Domaine de Chevalerie 2015 Galichets
Approximately $32

The 2015 Galichets took a few moments to open up but once it did it was so beautiful and effortlessly lovely; like a cloud. All the components melded together into more than the sum of their parts. It was a good demonstration of how special Chevalerie is; the wine isn’t super complicated but it has a balance and finesse that I hardly ever experience. It’s so seamless that you just enjoy it and the wine makes it all seem easy.
Aroma: interesting combination of bright fresh fruit and dark woodsy aromas. Fresh raspberry, a little bit of cranberry, some plum, a gentle aroma of some kind of aromatic herb that's a little peppery - maybe along the lines of basil. But then also there's a dark brambly sort of aroma that makes me think of old wood, walnut oil, and a little old leather. The aromas are all really well integrated and it pretty clearly demonstrates what it is a lovely mature beautifully integrated serious red wine
Taste: fresh raspberry, some red currant, cranberry, a little boysenberry? Juicy friendly playful red fruit with energetic acidity followed by some tasty salinity and a lovely supple texture. Black pepper and some black currant slides in followed up by some vivid black raspberry on the finish with perfectly weighted mature and gentle tannin. This is what I love about these wines: the flavors are beautifully integrated and balanced. It's complex but really works so well together and is more than some of those parts. This is lighter and I’d try to pair with food that wouldn’t detract from how beautiful and integrated it is.

At the very top of the Peu Muleau vineyard up against the wood with the Loire down to my left.

Chevalerie Cuvee Chevalerie 2018
Approximately $45/btl

Chevalerie: the eponymously named old vine vineyard right next to the winery. Clay over deep limestone tuffeau. 2018 was an unusually warm and dry vintage here which resulted in a bigger than usual wine, but it works and is delicious. The grapes ripened and built up concentration while they were ripening phenolically so the wine is 14.5% but it’s integrated and balanced. Coco was spot on in comparing it to Barbaresco in how it has elegance and pretty aromatics balanced by depth and richness.
Aroma: Vivid and juicy smelling with deep dark fresh blackberry, a little bit of black currant and black cherry. Behind the fruit there’s little bit of wintergreen, some dried cherry, definitely some wild blueberry as well. Dark and juicy and concentrated and driven by juicy and intense fruit.
Taste: juicy rich and deep: it's a mouthful! Juicy and concentrated ripe blackberry up front, with overtones of black pepper and basil. It's sunny and intense and the mid palate gets deeper with cherry that's still bright but at the same time also a hint of spicy menthol under the black cherry and cracked black pepper. The wine has acidity that keeps the fruit fresh and vibrant and holds up well to it's density and richness. The tannins are serious and firm and lingering but the texture of them is still finely grained. It's still classic Chevalerie in profile but bigger and more powerful, more fruit and heft.

Chevalerie Cuvee 2014 Breteche
Approximately $37

The Breteche has pretty similar soil to the Chevalerie vineyard but the vines are younger. This vintage is lovely and a really classic Chevalerie wine to me.
Aroma: dark and elegant black currant, black raspberry, dark chocolate cake. The aroma is dark but fruit driven and juicy. It's inviting and beautiful and really draws you in. Not in a literally floral -smells like flowers- kind of way but it is a really beautiful and big inviting aroma
Taste: bright juicy and fruit forward, this one has acidity that makes the fruit sort of pop and grab your palate. It's sleekly textured but really vivid and energetic with raspberry/strawberry fruit up front, then some bright snappy red cherry alongside some deeper gravelly mineral flavors. Then firm but mature tannin comes in alongside more beautiful preserved strawberry flavors. The wine is lovely but it's a little bit more racy and high toned then the other cuvees I've tasted out of this release and I feel like this has more aging potential than some of the others… but I love drinking it now for the complexity of flavors.

This is my favorite picture from the visit. It’s a terrible picture of me but I don’t care because it captures Laurie’s energy so well!

Copyright © 2023 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

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Maine Wild Wine Fest This Saturday

Maine Wild Wine Fest This Saturday

Wine Makers and Importers Visiting from All Over!

2nd Annual Maine Wild Wine Fest is this Saturday the 20th!

Maine Wild Wine Fest 2023 is one week away! We have so many more importers and wine makers I can’t even put them all in here! Martha Stoumen! Kevin McKenna, Owner of Louis Dressner! Laurent Bonnois of Maximilien Selections! Dierdre Heekin of La Garagista!  
But it’s all the people you don’t know who will be there that you should really be excited about. People like Shaunt Oungoulian from Les Lunes in CA making beautiful elegant affordable natural wine. And Raphael Lyon of Enlightenment wines in NYC making killer meads with wild foraged ingredients! We have so many incredible people coming from all over the world. It’s going to be a unique opportunity to learn and hear diverse views from all over.

MWWF Tickets

MWWF Events
Thursday the 18thChaval hosts Laurent Bonnois to debut the 2022 vintage from Fabien Jouves Friday the 19thFriends and Family hosts Shaunt Oungoulian of Les Lunes for happy hourVessel and Vine hosts Ian Barry of Barry Family Cellars Table Bar hosts Natalia of Subject to Change pouring new releases in GardinerMaine and Loire hosts Laurent Bonnois pouring Natural French wines from 3-5Lorne hosts Kiki from Vandal in NZ to pour and talk from 5-7Onggi hosts a ticketed workshop with the Korean style rice wines of Hana MakgeolliBroad Arrow Farm hosts Andrea of Strade Bianche wines for a late afternoon tastingCrispy Gai hosts Winemaker Raphael of Enlightenment Wines for a wine dinnerWayside Tavern hosts RAS wines for a happy hour take overRosemont on Brighton Ave hosts Michel from Vinotas to pour everyday Natural Wines
Saturday the 20th2nd Annual Maine Wild Wine Fest!Vessel and Vine hosts Salvatore from T Edward Wines for an Italian Tasting at 5Leeward hosts Kalche wine maker Kathline to pour and introduce her VT winesThe Danforth hosts Karen Ulrich to pour natural wines from Bobo SelectionsMaine and Loire hosts Chepika Wines and Nathan K for a 4:30-6 wine tasting
Sunday the 21stHunt and Alpine hosts Brian Smith of Oyster River Wine Growers for a wine dinnerJudy Gibson hosts an Italian wine dinner with the wines of Salvatore from T EdwardThe Alna Store hosts Daniel from Vinum Wines to pour Eastern European WineBillecart Salmon Champagne Brunch at Crispy Gai with Karen UlrichWolfpeach hosts a wine pairing class with Jim Sligh

New Natural Spring Wines!

Hey, we’ve got wines! Woohoo! Actually we have a whole so many exciting wines arriving for spring and summer that it’s kind of overwhelming. And that’s the point of this email! Lots of the wines fit into a good solid email topic, but some don’t. It’s easy to write about someone like Fausto Cellario and all his new fizzy wines, but what if a winery only makes one wine? What if that wine is insanely good and perfect, but…. I can’t just write an email about one wine. I am in fact referring to Caneva da Nani: the greatest Prosecco that’s not actually legally Prosecco.  
So that’s what this email is: all the really fantastic one off wines that have arrived in the past few weeks. I don’t necessarily have long stories about them all but they’re brilliant wines that you all deserve to know about and enjoy!

Caneva da Nani el vin col fondo
About $20/btl
You can find it at Zu Bakery, Nina June, Maine and Loire, Black Birch, Bar Futo, and Bow Beverage in Portland
Caneva da Nani is a little 15 acre farm in a beautiful natural amphitheater of hills right by the famous Caritzze hill that is the most famous spot in all Prosecco. The Canello family has been here for 5 generations and Massimo is the current wine maker, but still working with his father Nani who the winery is named for.  

This is a Col Fondo, which sort of kind of translates as "on the lees". Here it means a sparkling wine that has completed it's natural primary fermentation in the bottle and has residual sediment. This is an old school style of sparkling wine that the local farmers have always made for themselves. Historically the wine would get to cold to ferment over the winter but then when it was bottled in early spring the bottling process plus warmer temps would wake the yeast back up and the wine would finish fermenting in the bottle. The Canello family pretty much still makes the wine the same way, bottling when there is the right amount of residual sugar left to create the perfect fritz of effervescence. They basically just make this one wine... and it is so good! This is 100% Glera grapes from the family's 50 year old vines trained up on trellises over head to protect them from dampness near the ground in this relatively wetter region. 

Although they're within the Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Superiore zone (highest altitude, most respected terroir) he cannot call his col fondo by its DOC name. The DOC does not allow for the wine to be sold under the Superiore DOC if it has a crown cap. The family has experimented with refermentation under cork and the results aren't as good. They would rather make wine exactly how they want and not be allowed to use the DOC name than compromise and get to use the more prestigious name.  
Aroma: fresh green apple, apple blossom, some white rose, a little bit of fresh white peach. A little bit of fresh grass... It's a super pretty fresh aroma that's floral and lovely and just smells like spring and life!
Taste: oh gosh these bubbles are beautiful. So fine and pretty and frothy and persistent. It's just so elegant and pretty! It's got a little bit of green apple up front, then those frothy textural bubbles. A little bit of pear, a little bit of cooked apple, there's a little bit more citrus- some lemon on the finish. I wouldn't call it zippy but it is very uplifting and thirst quenching. I think this vintage is prettier and more precise than how I remember the 2021 being at this stage of its life. This feels like the best vintage ever but my mind might be playing tricks on me…. I can’t get over how gorgeous and fine this texture is!

Domaine Philippe Brocourt Chinon Les Gravieres 2021
Approximately $22
You can find it at Store Ampersand, Zu Bakery, and the Honey Exchange
Philippe Brocourt inherited his family’s winery back in 1986 at 21 and it sounds like he really hasn’t changed much in all this time. Chinon has a really strong wine culture and like many producers there he’s proud of it. He has about 32 hectares of vines, mostly planted in 1981. He’s worked sustainably for his whole career: avoiding the use of pesticides, weeding manually, he doesn’t till the vineyards and encourages other plants to grow. Philippe has parcels covering the three primary different terroirs of Chinon: sand and gravel along the river, clay up above the river on the plateau, and mixed clay over limestone on the hillsides. This cuvee is made from 8 parcels on gravel and sand along the river (Gravieres means gravel). The gravel and sand soak up more sun and ripen the grapes a bit earlier. Cab Franc from soil like this is always softer and more elegant. Philippe uses a shorter maceration as well to keep it fresh. It ferments with native yeast and then spends 8 months in stainless steel. No enzymes or additives, no filtration, and no fining. I’m really impressed and excited: this is classic Cabernet Franc, ripe and developed, but supple and eminently approachable at a great price!
Aroma: bright and fresh raspberry, deep red cherry with a little bit of currant and wintergreen. It smells very much like fresh berries. Clean and crisp smelling but also a little bit floral. It's definitely on the pretty side for Cabernet Franc
Taste: Lush ripe fruit but supple texture. Very approachable. It's got the classic uplifting fresh not at all heavy Cabernet Franc profile but the fruit profile is just a bit riper and more developed than Cab frog from the Loire often is. Cherry/Raspberry up front, a little snappy in a very nice way, then a little bit of brambley black pepper but with deep supple texture. The finish is really elegant but there’s just enough depth to really have presence and feel like you can sink your teeth into it. It's a very approachable satisfying drink now kind of Cabernet Franc!

Pomalo Frankovka Rose
Approximately $16
You can find this at Folk, Hops and Vine, Long Cove Oysters, Sawyer’s Market, Regards, RSVP, Monte’s, Sweet Pea Cafe, Ciao, Wind and Wine, Crispy Gai, Perks Beer and Bev, and the Warren Wine Shop
Pomalo is a slang word in Croatia, from the Dalmatian coast that means something like slow down, take it easy, no stress: it’s a product of the lifestyle and island culture of the Dalmatian coast. Pomalo the wine brand was created between Vinum wines and the Begovic cousins: a pair of wine makers who didn’t know each other until they re-connected and discovered each other through their shared connection to their ancestral town of Kozice Croatia. Ilya and Daniel picked the name Pomalo to use to explore all the exciting and unknown varietals of Croatia. This is hand harvested, direct pressed with minimal skin contact, and then cold settled for 48 hours. The juice then ferments spontaneously, after which it is racked and rests for 4 months. Light filtration and a light addition of sulfur. The grapes were grown on a vineyard in interior Croatia in the Pannonian basin on soil of light mixed clay
Aroma: fresh strawberry! A little bit of raspberry, a hint of cooked rhubarb, some fresh pink grapefruit juice: this smells so pretty, racy, and crisp
Taste: crisp racy strawberry, pink grapefruit, and peach up front. That’s followed up with some riper cherry and a bit of deliciously savory salt on the mid palate. The finish gets crisper again with some more strawberry and then a hint of an aromatic herb like tarragon. This is a little zippier and crisper then a Provence rose but also has more mouth-watering fresh fruit. It's clean, exciting, and very enjoyable to drink. It think this is also a pretty killer value compared to what I’ve tasted this season… and while I sort of try to ignore labels, this one is really good. The color pallet and color of the wine are really really attractive.

Domaine Balansa “La Vinhota” VDF Red
Approximately $27
You can find this at Wolfpeach’s new retail in Camden and Maine and Loire in Portland

Domaine Balansa is Céline Peyre and Alexandre Gressent, a couple who left their lives in the city to go back to Céline’s family’s vineyards down in Aude in the southwest of France. I think it came out of a trip they took back to visit Céline’s family and sort of just decided…. not to leave. They have old vines on amazing looking old rocky hillsides of shale. They’re exposed and windy, sunny, Mediterranean, and surrounded by scrub bushes. This is a blend of Lledoner Pelut and Grenache Noir with a 4 day spontaneous carbonic maceration. It’s extremely exciting and lively, but uniquely light and uplifting feeling. Céline and Alexandre are driven to make fine wines while minimizing any negative impact on their local environment. The vines have been organic for generations but they made the change to biodynamics when they took over. I definitely encourage you to check out the amazing pictures on their website:
Domaine Balansa
Aroma: very bright pretty red cherry and raspberry. A little bit of deep cooked apricot and concentrated blood orange. The aroma also has a super pretty floral component that's in the background but smells like dried roses and is really lovely
Taste: dry raspberry, beautiful elegant cherry and then lovely blood orange with delicious salt on the mid palate. The wine is really vibrant, fresh, and uplifting. The tannins are gentle and it has a really sunny slightly garrigue kind of flavor to the mid palate. Is it possible to be austere in a beautiful way? Beautifully austere? Well this wine does it. Light in the most beautiful effortless “without weight” sense of the word.

Domaine Le Grain de Seneve, Pierre de Faite VDF Red 2020
Approximately $27/btl
You can find it at Blue Hill Wine Shop and Maine and Loire
I’ve been a big fan of Herve Ravera and his horse Reggae Nights for…. I don’t even know it’s been so long! Herve left a nursing career in his early 30s and moved to the tiny town of Marchampt, located way out at the far west edge of the Beaujolais appellation. The vineyards are on steep granitic hillsides and can yield intense racy moving wines but it doesn't fall into any Cru appellation. Herve Ravera has approximately 5 acres of old vines. He does everything himself and farms with a horse named Reggae Nights. His wines are always brilliant racy and vibrant. They have this brilliant balance of fruit and acidity and minerality that just always wow me.
This is a new cuvee that he’s making for the first time and it’s about $10 less than his flagship Roue Libre!
Aroma: a little bit of blackberry, a hint of black licorice and red currant….some red rose. It's a beautiful perfumy and powerful gamay aroma. It combines heady expressive floral qualities with some spicy aromatic herbal notes, maybe a little bit of fennel breath. I absolutely love this!
Taste: fresh ripe raspberry that quickly evolves into a juicier lusher blackberry with some crunchy pith and gravely minerality followed by a lovely easy-going salty undertone. Then a little bit of blackcurrant and a lingering finish with some not aggressive but firm tannins

Pigoudet Cote de Provence Rose 2022
Approximately $16
You can find this at Bow St in Freeport, Perks, Bow Beverage in Portland, RSVP, Rosemont Market, Grippy Tannins, Folk, Hops and Vine, Engrain, Blue Hill Wine Shop, and the Crocker House.
The blend is Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet, and Cinsault grapes all from Pigoudet's 100 acres of 35 ish year old vines from the extreme north west of the cotes de Provence appellation. They farm organically and use native yeast. The juice is direct press to keep the wine clean and fresh and zippy. The fruit is bright and racy and there's good refreshing bright acidity, but there's some ripe fruit flavors here. It's great and just want with fresh seafood.
Aroma: This is so classic: there's elegant dry raspberry, dainty pomegranate, and some pretty tarragon, lavender, and rosemary aromatics. Lovely pale strawberry and cherry blossom aromas.

The taste is zippy and tart at first, then there's a red cherry flavor followed by a crisp slightly crunchy and angular mid palate. This is a super refreshing rose with some nice dry cranberry in there and then a soft strawberry fruit kind of finish that lingers with some touches of those aromatic wild herbs. This is a lovely more linear crisp elegant acidity driven rose and I love it.

Copyright © 2023 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

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Valentines Day Wines!

Valentines Day Wines!

Sexy Cabernet, Petnat Rose, and of course Champagne

Valentines Day Cometh!

Well, here we are 1 week away from Valentines Day! Fortuitously Devenish has received some wines that I think are perfect to impress and send the message “I think you’re hot stuff”!

Kobal Bajta Pet Nat Rose 2022

Approximately $24

Find it at Maine and Loire, Bow Beverage, Portland Cheese Shop, Graze and Vine, Lorne, Meridians, Folk, and The Rosemont Markets.
I just wrote about this last week and here it is again! What is this?! Am I getting lazy? No, it’s just that this petnat rose is just so so good! This is 100% Blaufrankisch from Bojan’s little family vineyards in Štajerska Slovenia, close to the borders with Austria and Hungary. Bojan hand harvests, lets the grapes sit for four hours to leak juice and sort of start fermentation. Bojan watches the fermentation intensely and when the baby wine has the right amount of sugar left he bottles it. No sulfur, filtration, fining, etc because this is real petnat and you can’t add anything in that process. Bojan only makes about 450 cases of this so I snagged 28 right on release. It’s really delicious and fresh and tastes so alive!

Aroma: cranberry, some dry raspberry, some red rose and a little bit of lilac... it’s beautiful and smells sort of like fruit punch! It's ripe but dry and not too big, not too in your face. The effervescence gives it this little twist of slightly more brambly savory something to the aroma. It smells so fresh and exciting and alive!
Taste: delicious and pretty, some cranberry, some dry raspberry… it has these super fine tiny relaxed bubbles that give the wine a dryness and uplift. The mid palate has pale strawberry and also a savory dimension from a little bit of salt that’s worked in behind it. The bubbles and tannin linger on your palate and give the wine body you can sink your teeth into, but then the finish is clean and uplifting and refreshing! Juicy and fresh wild raspberry, then thanks to the bubbles the texture is so gentle and uplifting: it's a really delicious juxtaposition!

Galognano Cabernet Sauvignon
Approximately $29/btl

Find it at Brooklin General Store, The Rosemont Markets, Bangor Wine and Cheese, and the Blue Hill Wine Shop
We received our yearly order of wine from Erika Ciapelli back in early December and I was super excited to get her Cabernet for the first time. I opened a bottle over the weekend and was really happy by how it’s come together! The tannins have calmed down and the fruit is a little more open and relaxed. It’s a classic deep dark Cab, but the alcohol is 13.5% so it’s not too heavy. It’s lush and ripe and also made by a talented young woman wine maker. I think it’s perfect for Valentines Day!
Erika took over her family’s winery when her father passed away unexpectedly in 2014. Her grandfather had bought these 14 hectares down in Chianti Colli Senesi (the same region as Brunello and Montepulciano) and Erika had grown up here in he Val d’Elsa. The work is all organic, fermentation is with native yeast; everything is in harmony with nature which seemed to Erika like the only way to work since she had grown up here and knew the land so intimately. This Cab is grown on clay and chalk-rich soils, where it really shines. The grapes are hand-harvested, fermented in cement, the wine rests in cement, and then further aging happens in the bottle.
Aroma: rich dark black cherry, blackberry, plum, dried cherry, and currant. There's a little hint of cedar cigar box…definitely some eucalyptus as well; or I suppose I should say umbrella pine since this is Tuscany we're talking about!
Taste: Rich, juicy, dark, deep and seductive but there's bright acidity up front that keeps it fresh. It's only 13.5 percent alcohol! The tannins are grippy and dry but this is Cabernet from Tuscany: what do you want!? The body is supple and perfectly offsets those tannins! I love this because it tastes very clearly like the sunny open friendly Mediterranean climate but also has classic Cabernet character in that dark lush fruit and deep body.

Andre Clouet Grand Reserve Champagne

Approximately $54/btl

Find it at RSVP, The Portland Cheese Shop, The Rosemont Markets, John Edwards, Bow Beverage, New Morning Natural Foods, Bleeker and Greer, Lorne, Lincolnville General, Maine and Vine, and Folk
Champagne for Valentines day? Yes please!
The Clouet family has been making wine for a very long time. So long in fact that they're not actually sure when they started! 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.

Aroma: ooh, pretty fresh orange juice and yellow peach. A little bit of brioche. Not like full-on toasted bread...more like fresh baked bread

Taste: delicious lush Champagne with fine and relaxed bubbles. It's definitely fruit driven. Lots of ripe orange across the palate with just a hint of toasted almond or vanilla like praline at the finish.

Sassara Esotico Field Blend Rose

Approximately $26/btl

Find it at Graze and Vine, Fog Bar, Solo Cucina, and Bow St Beverage
Sassara is a tiny new winery in the Veneto. This is the second vintage they’ve made and it is a compellingly vibrant and beautiful field blend of red and white grapes. The label is gorgeous and the wine is even better: it’s engaging and exciting, fresh clean and vibrant, also at 11% alcohol it is super thirst quenching. It’s the kind of wine I personaly would want for Valentines day.
Aroma: Pink grapefruit, watermelon, a touch of pineapple, some light raspberry but it's more like raspberry gelato. There's a hint of something sort of aromatically spicy too- it makes me think of Italian pines in the sun.
Taste: watermelon and a little bit of pink grapefruit followed up by a delicious mid palate that's got some meaty watermelon and tart cherry along with underpinning tasty salt. The finish has some more watermelon and a hint of cranberry... This has perfect balance and it's thirst quenching, clean, and that underlying salt is so so good. It's 11% alcohol and I think that really helps the balance. The fruit is perfectly ripe without being too much or having any vegetal qualities: they must have timed the harvest exactly right.
Vini Sassara is a little estate of fourteen hectares nestled in the hills of Valeggio sul Mincio in the Veneto. This is classic wine making central in the Veneto, just south of Lake Garda, close to the town of Custoza and at the southern end of the Bardolino DOC. Bardolino and Bianco di Custoza are old established wine making regions that have been DOCs for a long time, but most of the wine produced here is through industrial grape growing and manipulated wine making. Don't let the pretty labels fool you, against that background Sassara is subversive and revolutionary!

Alessia Bertaiola and her husband, Stefano, a 3rd generation winemaker whose family have owned these vineyards on the hill of Monte Mamaor for more than 50 years. They took over the property in 2007, and with Alessia's strong background in agricultural research and development, quickly converted each plot to biodynamic farming. 10 hectares are planted to vines and the other 4 are left wild for biodiversity. They have been making certified organic wine since 07, but at first they weren't sure what to do beyond that. They just recently jumped into producing more full on natural expressions of their terroir after meeting and being inspired by the likes of Danillo Marcucci and others. These are their first releases of the new wines!field blend of It's 30% red grapes (Corvina, Rossanella, Rondinella, Molinara) and 70% white grapes (Fernanda, Moscato, Trebbianello, Trebbiano, Garganega, Tocai), all from old vines. Hand harvested and spontaneously co-fermented with 10 days of skin maceration and without temperature control. Aged in stainless steel. No filtering or fining and no added sulfur. hand harvested on the early side, skin macerated for 10 days, and aged in stainless steel. I have to say: I liked the 2020, but this 2021 is a big step forward for Sassara. I'm genuinely shocked how delicious this is.

Noella Morantin La Boudinerie Gamay 2020

Approximately $26/btl
Find it at Maine and Loire, The Rosemont Markets, Perks Beer and Bev, and the Warren Wine Shop
Here’s a rare beautiful bewitching Gamay from a woman who’s a cult wine making star in the Loire! With a heart on the label!
A random encounter with a professor of viticulture peeked Noella's curiosity about wine making. She started learning, tasting, visiting and eventually quite her job to enroll in a wine making program. After an internship with Agnes and Rene Mosse she connected with Junko Arai and eventually was hired to oversee his estate. Junko was working land previously owned by the legendary Clos Roche Blanches winery and through this Noella met Catherine and Didier of Clos Roche Blanches. They decided to downsize and Noella started making wine on her own when she rented some of those storied vineyards. In the end Catherine and Didier sold off their vineyards and Noella had to find new vineyards to work, but she did and now owns 6 hectares in total.

Boudinerie is the name of the farm Noella lives on and that houses her winery. This is Gamay from 30 year old vines growing in sandy soil over limestone. She farms organically, hand harvests, and the wine ferments naturally with whole clusters in 400L old oak casks. She ages it for a little over a year and bottles it with just a bit of sulfur added.

Aroma: mmm, if you are familiar with Gamay you'll definitely recognize it in these classic dark musky brambly aromas. There's lots of raspberry jam and a little hint of wintergreen. The stems of the whole cluster fermentation come through in that brambley quality. I love this aroma: it smells a bit brooding and mysterious in that dark smokey way, but it's so lively and inviting and fruity at the same time.

Taste: fun but juicy and kind of jammy. It has playful raspberry fruit upfront that's fresh with nice acidity but also jammy and ripe all at once. There's spice on the midpalate; it's a little peppery and woodsy with some nice salt. The finish lingers but the tannins are retiring and stay in the background: super fun!

Copyright © 2023 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

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Unicorn Nebbiolo from the Italian Alps

Unicorn Nebbiolo from the Italian Alps

These Pictures are Crazy

Growing Grapes in the Italian Alps

Back in the very beginning of October I was on a trip through Piedmont. I've had to hold off on writing about my visit to Muraje in Carema until now though because I didn't have any wine! It was hard to sit on these pictures because, well, you can see why.

Muraje is Federico and Deborah Santini. There first vintage here was 2017. They fell head over heels in love with this crazy place and threw themselves into wine making here.  

Currently there are 22 hectares planted in Carema. Maybe 80-100 years ago at it's peak there were about 90, so it's never been a big region. The entire appelation makes about 60,000 btls per year. The majority of Carema is a rocky mountainside that forms a natural amphitheater facing south. There is no flat land so the vines grow on small rocky terraces. They grow on trellises so that other foods like potatoes could grow underneath. The town was originally built before cars and it was too steep for horses or carts so everything was done by mule. The grape, picotaner, is a version of Nebbiolo adapted to the climate but there are several other indigenous varieties allowed as well.

Federico came across as a very passionate and really nice guy. He was clearly in love with and totally absorbed by this terroir. All natural and organic vineyard work. He does lots of pruning to let more light in and air to the grapes. Thanks to the trellises the grapes are up high enough above the ground to protect them from humidity, mildew, and frost not really a problem. Maybe for some vines down low and at the back. The mountains also help shelter Carema.

It's sort of funny: of course the vineyards he was able to buy are some of the hardest to physically work: steep, rocky, hard to access; because of course those are the vineyards that an elderly winemaker getting ready to retire would sell first to downsize! The result is Federico and Deborah have done a lot of work to recover older neglected vineyards.  

Cantina Muraje "Sumie" Carema DOC

36 btls came into Maine

It is approximately $115/bt

Aroma: Right off the bat this is very beautiful high toned Nebbiolo!. There's raspberry, pomegranate, wild red cherry.... it's floral as well but it doesn't really strike me as roses. It comes across a little bit more like lilacs. I can't get over how pretty this smells! It's almost blueberry flavored! The flowers and the fruit are gorgeous and impossible to miss, but behind that there's also an interesting aromatic herbal component - maybe like sage or thyme.

Taste: Supple polished texture up front but really deep structure. Dark cherry fruit backed up with some gentle delicious salt. Cracked pepper and then a dimension of dark baking chocolate. There's a focus and purity to the flavor and it has this lovely gently dry raspberry on the finish. This is excellent deliberate thoughtful Nebbiolo that impresses with its poise and depth and elegance! 

I initially wasn't able to get any of this wine. But then I went to the winery and Federico asked the importer to release 18 bottles to me. Then I sent this email to all my wholesale customers and forwarded it to the importer. It impressed the importer enough that they bartered with a different importer who sells this on the west coast to get me another 18 bottles.... so I've managed to get a total of 36 btls and couldn't help drinking 1: it was worth it. You can find this at Novios, Havana, Treats in Wiscasset, Graze and Vine in Ogunquit, The Well, and Bath Natural Foods

Traditionally the vines were planted up on these trellises so that they could grow food such as potatoes on the ground beneath the vines.

It's a beautiful little town built into the mountain side with houses built on top of each other and a crazy winding warren of streets. I ran back and forth through it and p and down the mountain side. I parked at that church though so even though the town is a maze I could always just run up hill, find the steeple, and get back on track.

Here's a quick video of looking around the town of Carema and up the mountain.

We wondered all over the mountainside inspecting different terraces to see how everything was doing, if there was any bird damage (yes), and how some new vines were doing. The vineyards literally border Val d'Aosta. I took a wrong torn and actually was in Val d'Aosta.

The vines literally grow out of cracks in the rock. It's ridiculous.

Look at those grapes! This was October. Most wineries in the rest of Piedmont had harvested in August or September. Federico didn't harvest here until early December. December! It's madness.

The winery is in the cellar of the building next to the mini truck. Not the garage doors, just the ground floor of the tiny old stone building directly next to the mini truck.

It is a very very small winery! Federico makes about 170 cases of Sumie per year.

That's a typical path we're walking down. There are no roads normal cars will fit on; only mule paths like this.

Here's a picture of me finally actually drinking a bottle of wine here and describing it

Copyright © 2023 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

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Champagne, Prosecco, Petnat, Cava!!

Champagne, Prosecco, Petnat, Cava!!

All our fizzy wines and where to find them


Here you are: a list of nearly all the exciting sparkling wines we've got and where you can find them! You can of course also order any of these from a wine shop that's local to you; we cover most of the State. 2022 was another crazy year, but here we are at the close of it. Thanks for following along with me through it all. I hope we all get a bit of time to catch up and reflect.

Happy New Years! 



Andre Clouet Cuvee 1911

Approximately $112/btl

Available at Browne Trading, Tess Market, Lincolnville General, Weatherbird, Oak Hill Beverage, and The Riverhouse

24 btls came into Maine

1911 is the year of the Champagne uprising where local farmers revolted and blocked the roads to keep large companies from bringing in wine from other places to blend and label as Champagne. But much more than that this wine is Clouet's flagship. It is inspired by a small cache of ancient bottles that the family found hidden in a cellar that when opened were still beautiful expressions of Champagne from 80 years ago, a link to family members and memories of the past. This is 100% Pinot Noir. 50% of the wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks, the other 50% was fermented in Sauternes barrels. Non-vintage blend comprised of wines from 3 vintages: 50% from 2004, 25% from 2007, and 25% from 2008, all of which are made from Grand Cru Bouzy estate-grown fruit. Even Robert Parker gave it 96 points!

Aroma: wow really pretty peachy, lilac honeysuckle, white rose, fresh baked croissant. This is a beautiful aroma and makes me think of some fantasy of the French countryside in springtime!

And it is gorgeous on the palate! Beautiful racy acidity but it's backed up with depth. White peach, white grapefruit, then some of that brioche underneath

Here's what the 1911 looks like when it comes out of it's wood 6-pack. 

This is how Champagne was shipped 100 years ago and Clouet still uses straw on the 1911 to make clear how special this bottling is.

Champagne Tarlant Brut Zero

Approximately $76/btl

Available at Browne Trading, Fog Bar, and Oak Hill


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. 

1/3 Chardonnay, 1/3 Pinot Noir, 1/3 Pinot Meunier. This cuvée makes up 70-90% of Tarlant's production and "is my daily obsession", says Benoît Tarlant. Zero reflects the Tarlant emphasis on unadorned terroir, with no selected yeasts and no dosage. The compostion is generally 60% of the base vintage--in this case 2014--plus 40% reserve wines. The organically farmed, hand-harvested fruit comes potentially from all 63 of Tarlant's parcels from across 4 villages (Oeuilly, Boursault, St-Agnan and Celles-lès-Condé), with each vinified separately to give maximum flexibility in dialing in the blend.

"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

Andre Clouet Grand Reserve Champagne

Approximately $52

Available at Riverside Butcher, Monte's, Woodsong Market, Hops and Vine, RSVP, Rosemont, Grippy Tannins, Bow St, Oak Hill, and Bleeker and Greer

The Clouet family has been making wine for a very long time. So long in fact that they're not actually sure when they started! 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.  

Aroma: ooh, pretty fresh orange juice and yellow peach. A little bit of brioche. Not like full-on toasted bread...more like fresh baked bread

Taste: delicious lush Champagne with fine and relaxed bubbles. It's definitely fruit driven. Lots of ripe orange across the palate with just a hint of toasted almond or vanilla like praline at the finish.

Philippe Gonet 2011 Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru

Approximately $100/btl

Available at Novios

In Champagne there are 318 classified villages, only 17 are classified as Grand Cru, this wine comes exclusively from two of those Villages, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Oger and therefore is a Grand cru Champagne.

Aroma: very pretty: bread, straw, very ripe peach fresh apple, dates, a hint of vanilla, and lily of the valley

The wine has nice acidity and very fine but persistent bubbles. It's a very focused Champagne. There's fresh tart apple and peach up front then dry toast on the mid palate. This is very energetic thoughtful and to the point. The finish is long and delicious with toast, cooked peach, and a lovely flavor that makes me think of very good French onion soup. This is a great demonstration of how complex Champagne gets when it has this kind of age.

The wine is made from 13 small Grand Cru parcels fermented separately in small tanks and settled for 6 months. Second fermentation happens in bottle with the lees before disgorgement and dosage. It's aged seven years with the lees in bottle before disgorgement. 5 g/l dosage of grape based sugars. The wine goes through a delicate filtering and fining. Sulfur is not added at bottling, only small amounts at the beginning stages of the fermentation process, less than 60 ppm.

Of the thirteen Grand Cru estate parcels, 12 of which lie in Le Mesnil and 1 in Oger. Three parcels are on top of the hill near the forest in “Les Bascossiers,” and several throughout the hillside going down the hill, east, to “Les Hautes Mottes.” The average vine age is nearly 40 years old and they are hand harvested. Less than 1,000 cases are produced in only the best vintages.


Oyster River Chaos
Approximately $45

Available at Solo Cucina, Smalls, Sawyer's Market, the Vault, Bath Natural Foods, The Alna General Store, and Now You're Cooking

This is far and away the best vintage Brian has made of the Chaos. It's absolutely a legit Champagne quality wine now. It shocks people to hear this comes from grapes grown in Warren Maine!

Clouet Silver

Approximately $68/btl

Available at RSVP, Bow St, Woodsong Market, Bleeker ad Greer, Blue Hill Wine Shop, Grippy Tannins, and Oak Hill Beverage

Aroma: honey, yellow peach, a little bit of toast, .... there's a little bit of melted butter. Lots of fruit and it smells fresh and vibrant but there's also a dimension that's a little creamy. Definitely also some golden raisin and fresh orange

Taste: bright zippy dry and racier than the grand reserve. Dancing energetic acidity that is nicely balanced by a little bit of salt in the mid palate and then a savory baked bread and cooked fruit dimension on the finish. It's sunny and lemony: Delicious and complex!

Andre Clouet Millesime 2015 Vintage Champagne

Approximately $73/btl

Available at RSVP, Oak Hill Beverage, Riverside Butcher, Lily Lupine and Fern, Vessel and Vine, Tess Market, Now You're Cooking, Fog Bar, and Bow St Beverage


Why you should buy this:
Because it's elegant gorgeous nuanced vintage Champagne for $47! 100% Pinot Noir: 80% of the wine was fermented in stainless steel, with the remaining 20% occurred in Sauternes barrels. Aged 4 years prior to release. It's an incredible value for vintage Champagne.

Aroma: relaxed and elegant, a little bit of toasted brioche, a hint of vanilla, some fresh orange

Taste: This is delicious! It opens with bright fresh acidity and some lemon, but it's rich and golden at the same time. The bubbles are very fine but there's a real depth of flavor here. Not just straightforward toast or fresh bread, but beneath the peach and lemon and orange there's more depth and a savory sort of cooked food finish. All those flavors are really well integrated.

Enlightenment "Night Eyes" Sparkling Botanical Mead 2021

Approximately $30/btl

Available at Vessel & Vine, John Edwards, Honey Exchange, Craft Curbside

Sparkling mead from the Enlightenment meadery in Brooklyn. So this is of course made from honey, but also with apples and cherries added for the primary fermentation. It ferments for 6 months until it's dry, then foraged rose hips and sumac get added and it ferments for another 6 months. After that they bottle it with a tiny bit more honey and it referments in the bottle. All the ingredients come from NY State and are organic or wild foraged. This is so delicious. I don't think I would identify this as mead if I blind tasted it, and I mean that as a compliment!  

Aroma: fresh wildflower honey, definitely also dry cherry, there's a baked goods kind of smell... like browned butter and cinnamon. Some orange zest in here too

Taste: fine bubbles, fresher cherry flavors at first but then they turn darker and some aromatic herbal spicy flavors come in on the palate; all spice and woodsey and that browned butter and toast. It's so well integrated! There's some more bitter tart cherry on the finish... This is a rare convergence of super interesting and super delicious and satisfying. The flavors are perfect for this time of year and this would make an amazing gift for a wine person!

Victorieux Champagne Brut
Approximately $52/btl

Available at The Cheese Iron, RSVP, and Bow St


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.

Victorieux Brut Rose

Approximately $60

Available at Bow St and RSVP

Dry and elegant Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blend that is focused, deft, and has dry raspberry and strawberry flavors. The bubbles are strong and give the wine more focus and drive.

Aroma: pretty dry light cranberry, nice strawberry elegant, lemon zest, a little rhubarb. Wow, it smells really pretty

Taste: nice elegant some raspberry, a little savory salt, some toasted baked good in the back end, then some fresh elegant lemon on the finish. It's a very pretty tasty nicely integrated rose with some delicacy

Andre Clouet Brut Rose

Approximately $69/btl

Available at Woodsong Market, Oak Hill Beverage, Novio's, Rosemont, Bow St Beverage, and Bleeker and Greer

100% Pinot Noir and in classic rose Champagne style this is a blend of juice made blanc de Noirs and then a small addition of juice that was vinified as red wine in order to get the color and taste exactly right. 50% Base wine from 2015, 42% “Classic Reserve”, 8% Andre Clouet Bouzy Rouge. Fermentation in stainless steel and oak barrels.

Aroma: pomegranate and pink peppercorn and dried cherry! It's a delicate and very pretty aroma... really interesting and unique as well though

Taste: pretty and citrusy strawberry followed by some dried cherry. The mid palate has a supple sneaky savory deliciousness and then the finish has a little bit more of a round toasty quality. This is excellent and delicious!

5 magnums available for $95.22/btl

Champagne Fleury Blanc de Noirs (100% Pinot Noir)

Approximately $75/btl

Available at Novio's

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"

We also have 375 ml bottles for $33

Billecart But Rose

Approximately $128/btl

Available at Bow St, RSVP, The Vault, Maine & Vine, Sawyer's Specialties, Browne Trading, Oak Hill Beverage, and Whole Foods

Billecart Salmon Brut Rose! Billecart is the oldest family owned Champagne house and Billecart is generally regarded as the best non vintage rose Champagne. People know and respect it. Giving it as a present sends a very clear message!

Vignale di Cecilia Prosecco

Approximately $20/btl

Available at Blue Hill Wine Shop, Warren Wine Shop, Monte's, Weatherbird, Sheepscot, Vessel and Vine, Kennebec Meat Co, and The Riverside Butcher

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

Approximately $20/btl

Available at Black Birch, Alna General Store, Maine & Vine, Warren Wine Shop, and Maine and Loire

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

Approximately $20

Available at the Warren Wine Shop and Bleeker and Greer

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.

Billecart Brut Reserve

Approximately $78

Available at Bow St, RSVP, Wine Seller, Lily Lupine and Fern, Damon's, Sawyer's Specialties, Whole Foods, Oak Hill Beverage, and Perks

Billecart is a fantastic winery that people know and admire. Their brut reserve non vintage is a beautiful elegant expression that uses an unusually large amount of Pinot Meunier. The fermentation takes place at extremely low temperatures over an unheard of 7 weeks in order to preserve all the aromatics.

Pierre Cellier Champagne brut

Approximately $53/btl

Available at Anju, Novio's, Bath Natural, Blue Hill Wine Shop, and Sawyer's Specialties

The Prestige wines were started by the late, Philippe Gonet, crafted specifically for a friend and restaurateur back in the 70s. Named after his first-born son, Pierre, and his wife’s maiden name, Cellier.

Lemon, fresh orange, lilac, toasting pastries; elegant and fruit driven

Taste: focused, energetic, elegant, fruit forward. Lemon fruit at first, then very fine friendly frothy bubbles that are playful but not so intense as to be aggressive. Ripe peach comes in and then a little hint of toast on the finish

This is 30% Chardonnay, 60% Pinot Noir, 10% Pinot Meunier, all hand harvested. The 3 different varieties are fermented separately in small tanks. Second fermentation happens in bottle with the lees before disgorgement and dosage. The wine is aged 6 months in steel tank followed by 24 months on the lees in bottle kept at exactly 53° F below ground at the Philippe Gonet estate cellar. Sulfur is not added at bottling, only small amounts at the beginning stages of the fermentation process, less than 60 ppm

The Chardonnay comes from the chalky soils of the Montgueux village, the red grapes are from two villages with more clay based soils in the Vallée de la Marne. The average vine age is nearly 20 years old. 1,600 cases are produced per year

Via de la Plata Cava Brut

Approximately $20

Available at Cheese Iron, Maine and Loire, Sur Lie, Brooklin General, 

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

Approximately $15

Available at Smalls, RSVP, Blue Hill Wine Shop, Hops and Vine, Alice and Lulu's, Warren Wine Shop, Perks, Table Bar, Friends and Family, 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

Approximately $16

Available at Now You're Cooking, Monte's, Whole Foods, Oh No, Vic and Whit's, The Clown, Hops, RSVP, Oak Hill, Bow St, Alna General Store, Meridians

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

Approximately $16

Available at Whole Foods, RSVP, Perks, Bow St, Stompers, Oak Hill Beverage

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.


Oyster River Morhos Pet Nat 2022

Approximately $21

Available at Solo Cucina, Monte's, Bow St, Treats, Browne Trading, Cheese Iron, LeRoux, Portland Cheese Shop, Bier Cellar, Morning Glory, Rising Tide Natural Foods, Kennebec Meat Co, Alna General Store, Maine and Vine, Weatherbird, Onggi, OhNo, the Portland Food Co-op, Rosemont, Now ou're Cooking, Riversise Butcher, Maine and Loire

Aroma: wow! So much fresh flowers and fruit! It smells like springtime! Like lilacs and viburnum bushes! Like pineapple and mangoes and really ripe pear and fresh apples! Gosh this is lovely. It has just the right amount of aromatics without being too much or too aromatic

Taste: the bubbles are very fine but prickly and persistent. The wine is delicious. The fruit is fresh and bright and uplifting but it's not too acidic. The flavors are sort of lime zesty with a bit of apricot, lemon, and a hint of honey. This is so delicious, thirst quenching, alive, and beautiful!

Only bad news is that yields were down slightly this year so Brian has slightly less wine. We have 4.5 pallets allocated to us but we've already blown through 40 cases in less than a week.

Copyright © 2022 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

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Our 6 Best Wines for December!

Our 6 Best Wines for December!

The top 6 wines I'm focused on for the Holiday Season

Whoa! Here we are, once again it's happened: the holidays sneak up on me every year! I do love this season though. I love the feeling of bringing things to a close and then the pause and new beginning of January. Right, the whole point of this though is the 6 wines I am really in love with and that I want to celebrate the passing of the year with. 

Here they are! 

AT Roca Reserva Metode Tradicional

Approximately $29/btl. You can find this at Table Bar, Tess's Market, Treats, The Warren Wine Shop, and the Blue Hill Wine Shop

Agusti Torello Roca founded this winery with his father and aunt in 2013. They had already been making wine, but they left the Cava DO because the rules are geared to industrial scale wine making and they wanted to make wines that really expressed their particular terroir. Augusti apprenticed with an organic producer in Champagne and then on his return they joined the newly created Penedes Classic DO. 

The vineyards are in the Costers d’Ordal and have extremely calcareous soils due to the influence of the nearby Garraf Massif. The area is located between Sant Sadurni d’Anoia (where their winery is currently located) and Vilafranca del Penedès. Close to Barcelona but west and on the far side of the Garraf Massif they are sheltered from the sea. Agusti works with no additives, including sulfur, to let the land speak clearly. And he is extremely good at it. I've been blown away by the poise and focus of his sparkling wines as well as his Garnacha from Montsant which was just included in the NYTimes best wines under $20 list.

Aroma: Sunny, fresh hay, peach, lemon, and a little bit of sunny salty ocean air too. This is excellent fresh lively and slightly citrus smelling sparkling wine

Taste: Fine frothy persistent bubbles; the wine is energetic, tightly wound and to the point. Up front it is fresh and sort of ripe rich meyer lemon flavored. It has a lovely multicomponent mid palate and then honeydew melon and some white flowers to the finish.

Francois Pinon,Vouvray Le Bon Pinon

You can find this at Table Bar, The Lighthouse, Central Provisions, Fog Bar, Stompers, Maine and Loire, and the Blue Hill Wine Shop for approximately $30/btl

Bon Pinon is from a single parcel of vines planted by Julien's great grandfather on black flint rich soil. The grapes are hand harvested, direct pressed into old former port barrels that his grandfather purchased, and then it ferments ... very slowly.... in their cold old underground cellar. Eventually they rack the wine and let it age longer in the same barrels. This is fantastic: dry, rich, intense, and electric Chenin at it's best! Pinon is one of the best producers in Vouvray. Francois led the winery from the late 80s on until his sudden passing last year. His son Julien had already been working with him for several years and we're excited to see Julien carry on.

Aroma: beautiful, rich, and honeyed. I smell dried hay, mango, and cooked apple. It has really beautiful cooked ripe apricot, a little bit of golden fig, a touch of pineapple. It's so gorgeous and rich but it still has brightness. It has this elegance and intensity to the aroma that comes across in a sexy perfumed kind of way

Taste: wow, cooked golden apples, impossibly juicy and concentrated mango and pineapple! The flavors are still bright and fresh but it's so concentrated and lush, like cooked fruit or jam, but it's so balanced! There is excellent angular lively acidity underpinning the fruit and keeping it vibrant. The back side of the palate gets a little bit more savory: a little bit of a caramelized toasted baked fruit kind of thing. Like a fruit tart that's been glazed and toasted on the top. It's lush and hedonistic, but there's a snap to it. It has such body and such balance. It's so deep and so uplifting!

COS Cerasuolo di Vittoria 2018

You can find this at Bow Beverage, the Portland Food Co-op, and Browne Trading for approximately $50/btl

COS started in 1980. Three friends on break from architecture school were hanging around one weekend and the father of one of them asked them if they wanted to make some wine. The family owned some vineyards that were being harvested and selling off the grapes. So for fun they crushed some grapes and put them in an old cement tank. They didn't really know what they were doing, and after some time fermenting naturally they pressed it off into an old barrel. It kept on tasting good so eventually they bottled it. At some point one of them took a bottle to a wine bar in Palermo as a gift and the bar liked it so much they asked to buy some. That was when the three friends decided that they should do it again the next year.... and they did. It wasn't until 6 years on that in conversation with another wine maker they discovered that they should be adding sulfur!

COS took off and became an international success. Giambattista, Giusto, and Cirino didn't set out to make natural wine; they just wanted to make good wine that tasted like their arid little corner of sunny Sicily. It turned out to be natural wine though and in the process they helped legitimize natural wine making and biodynamics. These wines have had a huge impact on wine culture around the world. 

The 2018 vintage is the best I've had. It's so developed and complex and lovely. It's so ripe and hedonistic but pretty and elegant at the same time: it's very very Sicilian.

Aroma: rich, dark, lush, and seductive. Fresh blackberry, cherry, black raspberry..... there's a little hint of... maybe aromatic pipe tobacco? A little bit of fennel? A little bit of ash or dried leaves? The ripe in-your-face fruit is gorgeous but what makes the aroma exciting is the background aromas. ooo, I also pick up a tiny bit of freshly ground coffee!

Taste: lovely red cherry and raspberry up front. It's juicy but fresh, then there's a coffee/mocha/slightly smoky quality. That's followed up by some blood orange and delicious underlying salt. Then more intense fresh raspberry comes in. There's some fresh grape and also a little bit of a peppery spice that makes me think of tomato leaf. It's such a beautiful expressive elegant extremely Sicilian wine. I kind of can't get over how ripe and sexy and also elegant this is!

Sanguineto Rosso di Montepulciano

You can find this at Vessel & Vine, Blue Hill Wine Shop, Table Bar, Bow Beverage, Alna General Store, Tess Market, Kennebec Meat Co, Folk, Meridians, Terracotta Pasta SoPo Maine and Loire, Craft Curbside, and Monte's fine Foods for approximately $27/btl

This wine is one of my favorite Tuscan wines of all time. Dora Forsoni is a 70 year old 90 lb dynamo who grew up on this land and along with her partner Patrizia makes these wines to an exactingly high standard. Dora has about 50 hectares but only grows grapes on 12 hectares that have a deep blood red colored soil that she thinks is a prerequisite for making good Vino Nobile de Montepulciano. She farms everything naturally and ferments with native yeasts. Dora is emphatic that as far as red wine is concerned she makes one wine ever year. Every plant gets the same amount of attention and the same rigorous handling of it's grapes. After fermntation and aging for several months Dora chooses particular barrels to age longer for Vino Nobile or Vino Nobile Riserva, but essentially it is all the same wine made to the highest standard. Talking to her it's clear she feels anything else would be insulting to her land.

Aroma: this is a delicious smelling and satisfying classic Sangovese nose that mixes cherry, dried cherry, a little bit of rosemary and basil... and somehow it smells like there's just a little hint of dry dusty red clay soil: the soil that gives this winery its name. This is a great reminder of just how pretty Sangiovese can be

Taste: juicy cherry with some concentrated red raspberry right up front. Then this salt comes in on your mid-palate giving the wine a more tasty savory dimension. The fruit turns darker and richer and adds a bit more raspberry jam but there's also a drying slightly ashy/wood smoke flavor. Black pepper, some tannin, and a touch of aromatic spice, like basil, comes in to make sure you haven't forgotten this is Tuscany! The tannin and black pepper linger on the finish but there's also this beautiful aromatic quality that's somewhere between lavender and roses. This is gorgeous sunny Tuscan hills in a glass

Here's a picture of Dora from 2019. She's the best!

Iuli Ta Da!
You can find this at John Edwards and the Blue Hill Wine Shop for approximately $29/btl... or order it from any shop that works with Devenish

I just wrote about this.... but it's that good. It's a wine I've gone back to on more occasions because it's so good and I just really want to share it with other people!

The Ta Da! is a delicious field blend of Gignolino, Pinot Nero, Slarina, and Baratuciat. The grapes are co-harvested and co-fermented in concrete. So in order to get the timing right the Grignolino is a little under ripe and the Pinot is a little over ripe. This sort of feels like the flagship of Iuli, if you could say the winery has a flagship wine. Yes the Barabba is the biggest serious extroverted wine that they make but the Ta Da! feels like more an expression of Fabrizio since it's actually a blend that has a bit more of his fingerprints on it instead of just a single varietal expression. Also Ta Da! is a saying he uses a lot to sort of express a conclusion of a story or thought. How cool is it that the flagship wine is a unique delicious and complex 11.5% alcohol coferment of red and white grapes?! I clearly think it's very cool.

Aroma: really pretty fresh raspberries just off the bush, some cranberry: it smells beautiful and elegant. It has very fresh red fruit with this subtle touch of aromatic herbs... rosemary I think, in the back of it. Maybe a little bit of ginger too

Taste: juicy bright and zippy. Really compelling raspberry and some fresh red cherry up front, but then the mid-palate turns darker and has rich riper raspberry, black raspberry, and then this interesting little cranberry kick. It has real structure and the tannins make this serious. The fruit up front is so pretty and uplifting and then it gets darker and has some black pepper. The structure is deceptively substantial but the finish also has a suppleness to it and then uplift. I think the Pinot Noir contributes some of the effortlessly smooth textured mid palate. It's a super impressive complex delicious and layered wine. It has this delicious thirst quenching uplifting character that I feel like I pretty much only ever get from vin de soif, but then more complex earthy woodsey flavors come in. It kind of tricks you and surprises you in a fantastic way.

Francois Gay, Ladoix

You can find this at Bath Natural Market for approximately $60/btl

Francois Gay is an 8th generation wine maker in Chorey les Beaune who makes about 3000 cases total per year. Chorey is near the northern end of Beaune and although it is right by the super famous Corton hill Chorey les Beaune doesn't have a single solitary 1er cru vineyard in it, let alone a grand cru vineyard. Maybe this is why Francois Gays prices are so great for the quality of what he makes. He owns parcels all around Beaune and makes some incredible wines, particularly this Ladoix. Ladoix isn't too well known, the AOC is just 90 hectares, but it's adjacent to Corton and Pernand Vergelesses. The wines have a reputation as a sort of under the radar value particularly for sexy red Burgundy with a lot of finesse. That is exactly what this is.

Aroma: ooo, kind of smokey but like a fire in a wood stove that has burnt down and is just embers. There's a restrained fresh ripe cherry, red currant, a little bit of raspberry jam, and definitely some burnt wood or ash. It's a very comforting warm inviting aroma. The red fruit aromas are so pretty and inviting and then the hint of wood smoke gives it this comforting wintery note.

Taste: wow! This is a wow wine. It has really pretty fresh ripe cherry up front with perfect acidity that uplifts the wine but also some delicious mouth-watering salt right there as well. The fruit expands and takes on a little bit more of a concentrated juicy profile. It's still mouth watering with suave acidity and salt working together. A little bit of an ashy smokey flavor comes in towards the end of the wine and gives it this delicious savory dimension but then the wine elegantly fades away with beautifully delicate cherry fruit.

Copyright © 2022 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

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Staying at Iuli was a High Point of my Piedmont Trip

Staying at Iuli was a High Point of my Piedmont Trip

And now I have all their wines!


Two months ago I flew to Piedmont and I kicked off my trip with a stay at Iuli in Monferatto. I've held off on writing about the incredible experience I had until now for the simple and inarguable reason that I did not have enough of the wines on hand! Finally new vintages have arrived in the US so I am free to pass on my Iuli stories! 

I took an overnight flight as always and I always manage to sleep on the plane to maximize my time there. But this time I just couldn't go to sleep. I sat reclined in my seat with a hat over my eyes and ear plugs in for a solid five hours straight and I never truly dosed off. I accepted it and enjoyed landing at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport at 5 am and having it completely to myself. By the time I landed in Turin and talked Hertz into giving me an Abarth hatchback I was a bit of a zombie. The car and some espressos perked me up but the drive across the Po river valley was pretty bland. Then, suddenly I was driving up into these steep wild wooded hills: Monferrato!  

I drove up a small switch back up a bill and bam: there I was at Iuli. Conveniently Fabrizio was out front tasting wines with a friend and an elderly Swiss couple who owned a small vineyard nearby and contracted Fabrizio to take care of the land and then make them a wine each year. As I got there they were tasting some of Frabizio's wines plus the very young still fermenting wine from the vineyard of the Swiss couple. It was a wonderful relaxed moment talking about whether or not to age the wine in wood at all and how the vintage had been. This was a good introduction to Iuli. Located in the tiny hamlet of Montaldo up on top of a ridge where the road turns to dirt and fades into the woods beyond town; this is an isolated, insulated, beautifully relaxed oasis up in the hills.

The two days at Iuli were wonderful and made an impression on me. The vineyard and winery, the people, the dinner party we had, the school; it was all great. What really over all struck me though was the feel. There was constantly so much happening and people all over working, but it was all relaxed and comfortable and felt in it's rythym, everything in it's place. It was a great introduction to Piedmont and a feeling I'll remember.

Summer showing me the Waldorf school she started when the pandemic closed all the schools. Seems like a pretty reasonable thing to do: you need a school? Might as well start your own. The first night I was there Summer had a school board meeting so Fabrizio and I went out to dinner at a restaurant in a nearby town. We talked a lot about his youth playing music. We drove his immaculate old Citroen DS. He told me he had had one when he was a teenager but got profiled by the police all the time pulled over. Apparently Citroen DSs were stereotypically driven by rebellious kids and musicians going to parties.... which I think actually sort of describes Fabrizio. Fabrizio always missed the DS and years later, once Iuli was successful, Fabrizio tracked down an old DS in great shape and bought it.

Summer looking out from the back to the winery at the valley of their vineyards. From the Waldorf school on the back hillside we could look out over all the vineyards planted on the hillsides leaving the low point in the center of the valley empty. The kids were putting on a little performance to celebrate Michaelmas. 

Fabrizio's family owns just about all the valley and had only made wine for themselves up until Fabrizio started selling wine in 1998. So no chemicals, pesticides, or herbicides have ever been used here. Everything is organic with some biodynamic principles. All the work is by hand and the grapes ferment with native yeasts in a cellar that has been used for wine going back 300 years. The soil is all grey argillos clay. It's dense and super slippery when wet! I ran all over the vineyards and up and down on the hill sides and definitely should have had boots! The wines are technically natural but only because that was how Fabrizio's family had always continued to work. He primarily grows Barbera along with other traditional grapes like Grignolino, Slarina, Nebbiolo, Pinot Nero, and now Baratuciat. The wines are alive and lovely and also have a very strong sense of place; they are very true expressions of Monferrato wine making.

After the 30 or so kids in the Waldorf school held their Michaelmas performance Fabrizio took me all around the perimeter of the vineyards and through the woods in his '79 Land Rover. This is the view looking back across the valley at their house/winery (the tall brown building) and the whole rest of Montaldo next to it. His extended family had been here around this tiny valley for generations making wine for themselves and then eventually for a restaurant that they had. In his younger days Fabrizio worked in the family restaurant and then nearly moved to South America (I think it was Colombia that he visited repeatedly). Personal connections kept the South American move from happening and Fabrizio decided that he needed to “grow up” and stop working tables. He liked wine, had been learning about it through the restaurant, and he had inherited about 2 hectares there in his family's little valley. So he decided to try his hand at making wine commercially and in 1998 he started bottling Iuli and selling it. Fabrizio already had experience making wine in a traditional natural style with his family so he started from there.

Fabrizio in the cellar reflecting on how much he likes the 2021 Pinot Noir. 

In ten years, starting from 1998 Fabrizio grew to 8.5 hectares there in the little valley behind the winery. In 2008, Summer Wolfe, a wine buyer from the US came for a visit and taste his wines. They were both love struck. Summer moved in, they got married, they had 2 children, Summer helped Fabrizio plant more vineyards and expand to selling in more international markets. And Summer started a wine import company in the US so she could sell Iuli in America. And then after that company ran it's course Summer started another import company, Hootananny, with the help of her friend Carolyn. Summer is a very energetic person. At dinner I asked Fabrizio how it had been meeting Summer and falling in love and everything. I asked if it had been like getting hit by a hurricane. Fabrizio gave a sly smile and a little shrug and said it had been what it had been and that it had been great. I took away that it may have been a whirlwind but Fabrizio had been ready for it and had loved all of it. Fabrizio had a little corner shrine in a stairwell with a picture of the Dude from the Big Lebowski. I definitely saw shades of the calm "taking what comes" ethos of The Dude Abides.

Fabrizio uses a lot of cement for aging. He uses some wood tanks for softening wines that need it but cement is his go to. It sounded like he had gotten a lot of his tanks either free as others discarded. They were a fun hodgepodge of different sizes and styles; but that's actually kind of useful since your volume of wine fluctuates vintage to vintage it's kind of handy to have a wide assortment of different size vessels so that hopefully you can get all the wine to just fit and all the tanks to be full!

Fabrizio's little shrine in a corner of the stairwell: two old pictures of when he played serious amateur soccer, a picture of the Dude from the Big Lebowski, and a comic drawing of four men all balancing on top of a wine barrel carrying more bottles of wine. Fabrizio explained that the Dude is his guiding light (he abides) and that his life is encapsulated by that drawing of all the people balancing on a wine barrel.

Iuli Baratuciat

Find this at Black Birch, Blue Hill Wine Shop, Maine and Loire, and Aragosta

Baratuciat is a local indigenous grape that was just discovered in the last 15 or so years. Fabrizio told me that an old man had a large grape vine growing over the side of his house and that he sometimes made wine from the grapes. Eventually the vine was too big and sort of a problem for the house so he cut it down, but first he took cuttings and made a small vineyard. He started regularly making wine from the vineyard and at some point a bottle came into Fabrizio's hands. Fabs had been searching for a white grape that he could grow but didn't really like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. He decided to start experimenting with Baratuciat, this new pretty unknown variety, and has come to really love it. Yes, the grape's name does mean "cat's balls" in local slang. The grape clusters apparently look like cats balls. Hence the label. It's more of that romantic rural Italian magic.

Aroma: ripe sweet apple, fresh peach juice, a little bit of hay, a little teeny bit of melted butter. It smells ripe and fruity and sunny and delicious

Taste: medium bodied and energetic, it's vivid and has nice acidity up front but then more body and mouth feel on the mid-palate. Up front there's a fresh orange flavor and then the mid palate is kind of lemon citrusy. The finish has an apple flavor and more mouthfeel and a hint of aromatic spice. I really enjoy it; it's a vivid energetic wine with nice acidity that balances the fruit. It reminds me of a really ripe Alpine Italian Sauvignon blanc or kind of like a dry Chenin Blanc.

Iuli La Rina

Find this at Solo Cucina, Blue Hill Wine Shop, Black Birch, and Bow St Beverage

This is Slarina, an old local grape variety that was effectively abandoned after WWII. Oddly it produces lots of grapes in some years and then almost no grapes in other years. The clusters are also very lose with lots of space between the tiny berries which helps it resist mildew. Consequently Slarina can happily be planted on shadier north facing hillsides where other varieties might not be happy. The University of Torino helped find and resurrect the variety and Fabrizio has been planting some on the far side of the valley where it's shadier. The Slarina gets about 10 days of skin maceration and then 6 months resting in cement.

Aroma: really pretty fresh berry aroma that combines bright strawberry, ripe raspberry, and a little bit of a wild brambley peppery raspberry bushes sort of a thing. It smells so fresh and exciting and delicious! Really what more do you want?

Taste: smooth fresh easy drinking and gorgeous! The texture is so smooth and then it has these tannins that aren't too aggressive or heavy but they do sort of hold on and linger. The fruit is bright and opens with some raspberry and cherry but gets progressively darker until it turns into a darker cherry or black raspberry by the time you get to the finish. This has a great balance. The texture is smooth and it's thirst quenching and very vibrant but the flavors are a little bit wild and intense. It's driven by the pretty fruit, restrained woodsiness on the mid-palate and then those unique tannins.

Iuli Ta Da!

Find this at John Edwards, Blue Hill Wine Shop, and Leeward

The Ta Da! is a delicious field blend of Gignolino, Pinot Nero, Slarina, and Baratuciat. The grapes are co-harvested and co-fermented in concrete. So in order to get the timing right the Grignolino is a little under ripe and the Pinot is a little over ripe. This sort of feels like the flagship of Iuli, if you could say the winery has a flagship wine. Yes the Barabba is the biggest serious extroverted wine that they make but the Ta Da! feels like more an expression of Fabrizio since it's actually a blend that has a bit more of his fingerprints on it instead of just a single varietal expression. Also Ta Da! is a saying he uses a lot to sort of express a conclusion of a story or thought. How cool is it that the flagship wine is a unique delicious and complex 11.5% alcohol coferment of red and white grapes?! I clearly think it's very cool.

Aroma: really pretty fresh raspberries just off the bush, some cranberry: it smells beautiful and elegant. It has very fresh red fruit with this subtle touch of aromatic herbs... rosemary I think, in the back of it. Maybe a little bit of ginger too

Taste: juicy bright and zippy. Really compelling raspberry and some fresh red cherry up front, but then the mid-palate turns darker and has rich riper raspberry, black raspberry, and then this interesting little cranberry kick. It has real structure and the tannins make this serious. The fruit up front is so pretty and uplifting and then it gets darker and has some black pepper. The structure is deceptively substantial but the finish also has a suppleness to it and then uplift. I think the Pinot Noir contributes some of the effortlessly smooth textured mid palate. It's a super impressive complex delicious and layered wine. It has this delicious thirst quenching uplifting character that I feel like I pretty much only ever get from vin de soif, but then more complex earthy woodsey flavors come in. It kind of tricks you and surprises you in a fantastic way.

Iuli Rossore
$26/ btl

Find this at Solo Cucina and the Blue Hill Wine Shop

Classicly big, juicy, muscular, and with some dark savory foresty qualities Rossore is a very old school Monferrato Barbera expression. More than any of the other wines this may really be the core wine that expresses what this part of Monferrato is known for wine wise. Rossore comes from a few south facing parcels of Fabrizio's older Barbera vines and gets 3-4 weeks of skin maceration before it is aged for 24 months in large old Slavonian oak casks followed by 6 months in bottle.

Aroma: deep dark spicy black cherry. The aroma is driven by a core of juicy fruit, but there's all kinds of aromatic spice: coriander, a little bit of clove, it smells a little bit like wood smoke or something toasted. The aroma makes me think of Cajun spices! There's even a little bit of heady blood orange to he aroma

Taste: juicy rich raspberry hits you up front. The fruit flavors are so concentrated that they make me think of syrup or a reduction, but the wine is definitely not sweet! After that brooding the dark jammy fruit up front I get more wintergreen and sage on the mid palate. There's a hint of toffee and then some cranberry as well. The finish has more cherry.... there are good meaningful tannins but they're not too aggressive and support the fruit. The interesting aromatic spices on the mid palate are really cool and a great partner to the ripe dense fruit

Barabba Barbera

Find this at the Portland Food Co-op

Barabba is 100% Barbera and Fabrizio only makes it in the best years. Fabs started making it because he had a small plot of nearly 100 year old vines that his grandfather had planted and of course he wanted to vinify those separately. Eventually though too many vines had died in that vineyard, it wasn't producing much fruit, and it was in a little corner at the back of the vineyard where the wild boar could easily sneak in an eat all the grapes. So eventually Fabrizio replanted that parcel with more Slarina and Baratuciat. He couldn't give up on Barabba though so he found a nearby 90 year old parcel that he could rent and fully farm the way he wanted. In the years that he doesn't feel are good enough the fruit can go into Rossore, but in the best years he keeps this fruit separate. It gets 4 weeks on the skins and then 2 years in a 2100 L oak cask and then more aging in the bottle until Fabrizio is ready to release it. This 2019 vintage is 14% alcohol and I find the Barabba to be a bit silkier and more fruit driven than the Rossore. It's just as big, but a bit less dark and savory. It's a bit more polished and very impressive.

GioGio Freisa

Find this at Maine and Loire, John Edwards, Alna General Store, Kennebec Meat Co, The Weather Bird, and the Blue Hill Wine Shop

After decades in the wine business Summer finally jumped off the cliff and made a wine herself. This is a red made from Freisa and it is delicious and very impressive! For years Fabrizio and Summer had been vinifying a small barrel or tank (depending on the vintage) of Friesa for a legendary grape grower in Monfferrato to make some wine for the grower's personal consumption. After tasting the developing wines for years Summer fell in love with the variety. One day when Summer dreamily said " This is so good, I am fascinated by this variety; I want to make a Freisa" Fabrizio said "do it!" And Summer did. She has 2 hectares planted.

Aroma: mmm, the smell is a delicious balanced combination of juicy red cherry and raspberry jam. It's just a little bit spicy/peppery in the background; like a combination of the cool aromatic spice of rosemary and then a bit of a wild brambley quality hidden behind the fruit. 

Taste: bright and juicy and fresh up front, strawberry and raspberry fruit... then it has some drying sort of powdery tannins that remind me of coco powder on the mid palate. It picks up some tart cherry and then this slightly woodsey smokey tart kind of blood orangey finish! Please excuse my bending of the English language there. Friesa is a parent of Nebbiolo and while individual wines don't always taste that similar this Friesa has a finish that is very reminiscent of a structured but sexy and romantic Nebbiolo.

Copyright © 2022 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

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Thanksgiving Wine Recommendations

Thanksgiving Wine Recommendations

Here's What I'm Drinking for Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yes, that picture is actually from my Thanksgiving last year. I hope we all have as fun and wacky a Thanksgiving this time around! Here's a quick list of some suggestions.

Thank You All So Much!

Cellario La Grinozza (liter)

Approximately $19

You can find this at Smalls, Folk, Portland Food Co-op, Meridians, Bath Natural, Bow St, Monte's Fine Foods, RSVP, Cheese Shop of Portland, Liquor Locker, and Broad Arrow Farm

Fizzy red Grignolino? How can you not love this!? Fausto Cellario makes this from Grignolino grapes that he harvests on the early side. He lets the juice ferment fully dry naturally but then at the end of the season he bottles it with the addition of some passito late harvest juice to kick off the refermentation in the bottles. 

Aroma: strawberry, passion fruit, fruit punchy fun and fresh smelling! It's deliciously juicy and fruity smelling with just a little bit of a touch of something herbal like mint or sage in the background.

Taste: Pink lemonade, strawberry fruit punch up front but the mid palate has some tannin and more depth than you expect. The bubbles are super fine and just in the background and prickly. This is really interesting aromatic perfumey tropical sort of fruit that lingers. It has that perfect classic Grignolino juxtaposition of lighter berry fruit with darker tannin and structure; with the bubbles it's perfect for Thanksgiving

Francois Gay, Savigny Les Beaune
Approximately $59

Available at Bath Natural, Now You're Cooking, Bangor Wine and Cheese, and Grippy Tannins

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: fresh juicy blackberries, a little bit of pomegranate, a hint of red currant.... it's a clean fruit driven aroma but it has a warm comforting sort of feeling to it. There's a little bit of allspice and coriander and cinnamon lurking in the background that subconsciously adds an implication of holiday flavors!

Taste: Serious ripe cherry, blackberry, and black raspberry right up front! It has acidity that makes it bright but this is a ripe approachable fruit driven Burgundy. The tannins are relatively gentle but not weak and they start to sneak in on the mid palate giving the wine a more serious feel and dry cocoa powder dimension underneath the fruit. Then some tasty supporting salt comes in...this has that beautiful red burgundy effortlessly ripe, deep, and polished character but this is a little bit more on the forceful and grippy end of the spectrum. The tannin and touch of spice in the finish are perfect to carry the wine alongside turkey and gravy.

CarboEtrusco 2021
Approximately $27

Available at Vessel & Vine and Solo Cucina 

I know I just wrote about this in the Danilo visit email, but it's just the perfect weight and profile for Thanksgiving! It's juicy and fruity and has a lot of presence, but it's refreshing and low alcohol as well: perfect to savor a large and long meal!

100% Sangiovese made with a unique method of carbonic maceration that dates back to the Etruscan times. The Ancient Etruscans were known to cover the fermentation tanks (often clay pots or palmenti) with a wet, clay based paste. This rudimentary covering on the fermentation allowed the CO2 during primary fermentation to protect the must and preserving fruit. Danilo experimented with the idea and in the end created this. Aged in fiberglass tanks. No filtering or fining.

Aroma: juicy fresh blackberry, blueberry, a little bit of black currant. It's very juicy and very fresh smelling. Somehow it also smells a little dry, like it's going to feel a little dusty or dry out your mid palate it smells a bit like aromatic herbs: tarragon and lavender and tomato leaf. It's really nice: the fruit is so juicy and exuberant that the touch of herbs are a nice compliment.

Taste: wow! It's so vivid! It's so juicy! Cherry, black raspberry, a little bit of blueberry. It's bright and exuberant and bouncing all over the place but it has this little crunchy shell and structure of tannins on the mid palette that focuses the wine. It's also not heavy at all it's very energetic but it's also almost weightless. The fruit is just so fresh and pretty! It's a tightly wound black raspberry and then the tannins give the Finish some stabilizing firmness. There's a supporting background delicious salt component in the mid palate

Joannes Protner Riesling
Approximately $23

Cheese Iron, Bootlegger's in Topsham, Tess's, Helm, Bangor Wine and Cheese, and Graze and Vine

Run by Boštjan Protner and his wife, Mojca, they are now heavily assisted by their children Martin and Ana (Ana was recently awarded the title of Slovenian Wine Queen in 2021!). The family has been devoted to viticulture for over three decades and now have a total of 13 hectares of vineyards. The vines are about 45 years old and planted on steep 30-45 degree slopes. All viticulture on their small family farm is practicing organic and all fermentations are done with native yeasts, with only small amounts of sulfur additions done at bottling. The Protner family pretty just grows Riesling; the cold winters and hot summers in this continental part of Slovenia is a perfect environment.

Aroma: Well, this smells great! It's tropical, a bit spicy, and aromatic. It comes across really like a peach tartlet, or like a croissant filled with cooked Peach jam. The toasty cooked savory dimension is so cozy and just feels like Autumn... It takes on more of a beautiful honey aroma as it opens up; it's a really lovely aromatic dimension above the fruit smell. It's definitely super expressive and attention grabbing as I expect Riesling to be!

Taste: on the palate it's bright and focused. It's not as tropical as the aroma smells. It has nice acidity that makes it uplifted and energizing. The fruit is a mix of lemon citrus, white peach on the mid palate and then a fresh orange on the finish. There's a little bit of minerality and salt on the mid palate: sort of a focused crunchy expression and then it's also got a little bit of a pithy bitterness like from an apricot skin.

Chevalerie Bourgueil Cuvee 2015 Peu Muleau
Approximately $29

Available at Maine & Loire, Rayr, and Primo

Chevalerie is was founded by the Caslot family in the late 1600s. The winery is now fun by Emmnuel: the 15th generation. I visited the winery back in 2012 and it was an amazing to see how happy they were and sort of effortlessly serious. The Caslot family is in it's 16th generation here. The winery is built above an underground limestone quarry so they have nearly 2 acres of underground storage space to hold wines until they're ready to drink.

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: wow! Baking chocolate, chocolate covered cherries, cooked cranberries. There's a little bit of wintergreen in the aroma too. It's a lovely aroma that's very integrated and complex; it reminds you what a difference time in the bottle makes!

Taste: smooth and supple: the texture is so fine and's hard to describe how fine it is! There's a lot of black raspberry and there's acidity that gives the wine a fresh almost tart but not quite sort of character. It's smooth and linear with tannins that dries your palate in a fine gentle sort of way. It's very refreshing and lively... but the mid palate has this dark fruit and those fine tannins... the flavors are deep and earthy and along with baking chocolate it reminds me of dry autumn woods. This is such a gorgeous effortlessly beautiful wine!

Oyster River Morphos Rose 2021
Approximately $25

Available at Rosemont Market, Vessel & Vine, Folk, Whole Foods, Bow St Beverage, Riverside Butcher, Solo Cucina, Morning Glory, Maine and Vine, Rising Tide Co-op, Portland Food Co-op, Sheepscot, Now You're Cooking, Blue Hill Wine Shop, Terracotta Pasta in SoPo, Blue Hill Co-op, Cheese Shop of Portland, Maine & Loire, and Sawyer's Specialties

The 2021 is far and away the best Morphos Rose vintage Brian has made yet! We sol through our allocation earlier in the year, but now that Oyster River's tasing room is closed for the season Brian decided he could release some of what he had left. And I am so glad because this is perfect for Thanksgiving! This is 100% Merlot from a single vineyard that Brian has a long term relationship with down on Long Island. So Brain has input on the farming and has moved the farmer to work in a more sustainable way, stop using herbicides, and leave grass in the vineyards. Brian drives down and picks up the grapes in his box truck so that he can do a natural yeast fermentation in his winery in Warren with it. This vintage is a little more expensive because a valve on one of Brian's tanks broke over night and he lost a large portion of the juice, so he had to raise the price somewhat to still cover his costs, but it is such a delicious wine that has just gotten better over the summer.

Aroma: Wow, this is a lovely and rich aroma! Ripe cherry's, raspberries! It's a fresh juicy fruity very RED smelling fizzy rosé. It totally smells like cooked cranberries and Autumn holiday fruits! Sugar plums anyone? I'm so impressed by this vintage. It's so clean and well balanced!

Taste: wow the fruit is nice and juicy and round. The bubbles are very small but quite prickly and frothy! They carry the wine all the way through from start to finish... there's so much cherry and then some raspberry backing it up. The cherry is sort of a hard cherry candy flavor... the bubbles do a fantastic job of balancing it out. The fruit is deep and mouth filling, and the bubbles give the wine a dryness without having an edge. It's the perfect deep and ripe flavor to pair with Thanksgiving and then the bubbles will help clean your palate and refresh you.

Copyright © 2022 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

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Visiting Tiberi in Umbria: Story and Pictures

Visiting Tiberi in Umbria: Story and Pictures

8 acre family winery that I love

On Thursday Danilo and I took a drive over to visit the Tiberi family in Montepetriolo. The Tiberis have about 8 acres of vines on this beautiful windy hillside looking west. As much as anything in reality can actually live up to an ideal the Tiberis epitomize what I love about the natural wine movement. They've lived here on this hill top and grown grapes for generations but around 2010 the price they could get selling their grapes wasn't enough to make ends meet. The specter of selling their family homestead was real and frightening, but somehow they heard of Danilo Marcucci and reached out to him. After some talks they decided to partner with Danilo in order to learn how to make wine and export it. They had been making a bit of wine themselves and just selling it to neighbors and the grandfather, Cesare, had made wine there when he was younger so it wasn't completely foreign. They renovated a ground floor room of their house to act as a starter winery and bought a couple tanks. What they did have going for them was a fantastic vineyard site with 50 year old vines of Trebbiano, Gamay del Trasimeno, Sangiovese, and Ciliegiolo. The younger generation, Federico and his sister Beatrice, dove into the whole process of naturally managing the vines, natural wine making, and maybe most intimidating was trying to export the wines to the US, Germany, Sweden, China, and so on. 

The first vintage they bottled and sold was 2015. It was a difficult vintage that was quite hot and the grapes were very ripe. Some of their Trebbiano got stuck during fermentation because it had so much sugar. After several days with the fermentation still stuck Danilo told them to just bottle it so that it would eventually finish fermenting in the bottle and they would have a pet nat. That was the first Tribulato. It was pretty crazy: deep, savory, frothy, sunny, and a bit spicy. I actually did really like it but it was pretty far from the fun thirst quenching style of petnat that is dominant now. But that was the start! They named it Tribulato because the vintage was such a tribulation. They made it though and that inspired them to go on and keep making petnats. The following year they made the first vintage of Musticco: a delicious Gamay del Trasimeno based petnat rose. All this is to say I was excited to go have lunch with Federico and taste the new vintages. 

We drove over and walked through the vineyards first. They're very small and planted on the hillside right around the house and winery, so that was very quick! But their Trebbiano grapes were still on the vines, just about ready to harvest in the next several days. The grapes looked super healthy!

We sat down to lunch and in between talking politics and inflation I was so impressed by the wines and had to retaste the l'Bianco and l'Rosso; they were just so good. The 2021s are a big step for the Tberis. All the wines of this vintage taste so well put together; sunny and Umbrian but well balanced and interesting and clean and precise. It's fantastic to see how they have perfected their wine making skills and thoughtfully evolved in the styles of wine they produce. 

They were just getting ready to harvest their old vine Trebbiano and the grapes looked super healthy!

Here's the view from their windy hill side vineyard

The Tiberis built a new winery last year and moved into it in the autumn. So these 2021s are the first vintage where they've had a space larger than a tool shed to work in!

Tiberi Il Musticco Frizzante Rosato

Approximately $30/btl 

Available at Maine & Loire, Cafe Louis, and Solo Cucina

Gamay del Trasimeno with a bit of Ciliegiolo blended in.

Aroma: the aroma comes across immediately as pretty strawberry, some rhubarb, and a little bit of raspberry. It smells elegant and also a little bit savory, a little bit like strawberry shortcake, strawberries and baked pastries.

Taste: fresh strawberry, a little bit of cranberry; it's bright and fun up front. The bubbles come in and they're very fine and fizzy- pretty and not too intense. The mid palate has more strawberry and raspberry. It's beautiful and really reminds me of slightly cooked like strawberry shortcake or something like that. The strawberry fruit builds across the palate and there's a little bit of salt too that comes in underneath and makes it more savory. Again, the flavor is very much like delicious strawberry flavored pastry. This is the best vintage yet, certainly the most integrated and cohesive. Previous vintages were good but this is a huge step forward.

Tiberi Il Tribulato Frizzante
Approximately $30/btl 

Available at Solo Cucina

Trebbiano and 30% Verdicchio grapes. Direct press and refermented in bottle with frozen grape must.

Aroma: sunny and relaxed. It smells a bit like a meadow in the sun in late summer, and then behind and above that I can smell some dry pineapple, yellow peach, and some white rose. It's a very pretty aroma that sort of meanders back and forth between savory and fruity

Taste: fine frothy bubbles that lift the wine up and expand and dry out the mid palate and finish. Up front I taste some pineapple and dry lemon- it's the flavor of pineapple but not any sweetness. There's a little bit of a saltiness underneath the fizz of the mid palate, then a little bit more pineapple comes in followed by some dry orange and orange zest flavors on the finish. It's really interesting and delicious: the wine is refreshing and uplifting and playful... but a lot of the flavors are actually a bit more savory. It's cool how those different flavors are woven together to create this overall more uplifting and playful experience.

Tiberi l'Bianco 

Approximately $30/btl 

Available at Solo Cucina

50/50 Trebbiano and Grechetto. The juice spends a night on the skins before being racked off.

Aroma: ripe honeydew melon, some lime zest, guava, orange, and kumquat. It's that classic Trebbiano sunny relaxed ripe meaty sort of fruit. It's orangey but also sort of makes me think of roasted ripe squash: delicata butternut spaghetti squash....

Taste: ripe and then so deliciously salty! It opens with a burst of bright citrusy orange fruit and then this delicious salt on the mid palate just lights up my taste buds like fireworks. The wine is bright and refreshing, but it has some body. It has some roundness that gives it a more relaxed character. It tastes a little bit melony on the mid palate and then the finish has a little bit of aromatic spice like sage and salty lemon!

Tiberi Pistarello Orange Wine

Approximately $30/btl 

Available at Goods and Solo Cucina

90% Trebbiano and 10% Grechetto. The juice spent 17 days on the skins with regular punch downs. 

Aroma: orange, fresh mango, ripe cantaloupe, yellow peach.... it's a fresh, rich, ripe fruit driven aroma! It smells sort of orangey but not in any way oxidized or funky

Taste: yup, orangie up front with nice fresh acidity. Some salt comes in underneath and gives it this tasty delicious satisfying component. All well and good, where is the oranginess to it you ask? Well then the tannins come in! It's actually great; it's totally in line and works really well and is not aggressive. But you get this more meaty almost like cooked or nice delicious marmalade with some drying tannins to it. It also reminds me of tea; like a beautiful white tea or a really pale aromatic elegant Earl Grey. Boy now that I've said that I feel like I taste Bergamot and the finish. It lingers and is super elegant. There's really nothing rough or aggressive about this orange wine. It's excellent

Tiberi l'Rosso

Approximately $30/btl 

Available at Goods and Solo Cucina

80% Gamay del Trasimeno and 20% Ciliegiolo with a short 4-6 day skin maceration.

Aroma: dried cherries, strawberries, ripe reduced cooked down tomatoes, and something that's right on the edge of ripe deep blood orange. This is really interesting and beautiful: bright and a little bit floral, kind of aromatic, but there's an elegance and delicacy to it. And it smells really honestly central Mediterranean Italian

Taste: wow! This wine has fantastic poise and focus. The fruit flavors are vivid but also sort of restrained: not too juicy and in your face. Some dried cherry, some raspberry, very smooth with this suave salty component that gently builds behind the fruit. The mid palate has beautiful pure fresh cherry. It makes the wine super savory and delicious but still so sleek and effortless. There are tannins but they're gentle and linger and draw out this cherry almost candy sort of flavor on the finish. This has the supple-ness of elegant red Burgundy!

This Thursday we're hosting a wine dinner at Nina June to celebrate the release of Sara Jenkins' new 2022 vintage olive oil!

Copyright © 2022 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

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.