Maine Wild Wine Fest is One Week Away



Maine Wild Wine Fest is One Week Away

Wine Makers from all over the World!

Maine Wild Wine Fest is Saturday the 18th!

Exhibitors at Maine Wild Wine Fest

We have a pretty stellar group of people coming to Maine Wild Wine Fest this year! Some of the people attending include:
Camila Carillo of La MontanuelaDominik Sona of Koehler Ruprecht in the Pfalz GermanyAmelie Cartoux of Domaine Espiers in GigondasFabien Jouves from Mas del Perie in CahorsMario Bagella from his eponymously named winery in SardiniaKevin McKenna co-owner of Louis DressnerNacho Monclus the Spanish Director at T Edward WinesLaurent Bonnois, who is just a wonderful humanChris Barnes from Jose PastorTim Graham and Anna Rosencranz of Left Bank CidersAaron & Cara Mockrish of French Town FarmsMichel Abood of Vinotas SelectionsAndrea and Chris of Strade Bianche Wines

We still have tickets available for the morning session from 10am - 1pm. That’s really the session you want to have the best experience of talking and connecting with all the wine people.
MWWF Tickets

We’ll also have great food trucks on hand including:
Side by Side Coffee CoLady ShuckersSook ThaiMaple Maine CreemeeVy Banh MiMamma Baldacci’s SandwichesGulf of Maine Conservas

Dominik Sona Will be at MWWF
On this Friday he’ll be at the Blue Hill Wine Shop pouring new vintages of his wines. Stop by from 2:30 on to meet this legendary German wine maker

Mario Bagella is coming all the way from Sardinia
Sunday the 19th at 11 am Mario is hosting a Brunch at Tipo!$75/person
I'm really excited Mario Bagella is coming from Sardinia for Maine Wild Wine Fest. I was trying to come up with other events to do with him so I sat down and asked myself what I personally wanted. I wanted brunch with eggs and espresso and cannoli and to get to hang out and hear all about wine making and the history of Sardinia. I called Tipo and they made it happen! Dreams do come true sometimes! Sunday May 19th at 11 am that’s what’s happening.
The menu includes brunch panzanella with polenta and poached egg, braised wild boar with tomatoes canned from last summer, chilled grilled calamari, and cannoli for desert. If it's sunny we'll be on the patio! Call Tipo for reservations now, it's limited!
Call Tipo at (207) 358-7970 to come eat brunch and talk Sardinian history with Mario and I

Kevin McKenna of Louis Dressner will be there
Kevin McKenna is a co-owner of legendary wine importer Louis Dressner and helped lead their move into Italian wine decades ago. Kevin is one of the most knowledgeable and experienced people out there in the wine business!

Italian Female Wine Maker feature at Leeward on Thursday night
Thursday night Kevin will be at Leeward to pour wines from some legendary women wine makers including Dora Forsoni at Sanguineto, Elena Pantaleoni at La Stoppa, and Nadia Verrua at Cascina Tavijn
Pop up wine tasting at Lorne in Biddeford Friday 4-7
Friday night Kevin will be at Lorne in Biddeford pouring some of “Dressner’s Greatest Hits”. Think Pepiere Muscadet, Jean Paul Brun Morgon, Eric Texier Chat Fou, Francois Cazin Cheverny Rose, and Clos du Tue Boeuf Cheverny

Fabien Jouves of Cahors will be pouring new wines!
And after MWWF Fabien will be at Maine and Loire for a seminar from 6:30-8pm. Tickets are just $20 and available on their website
Sunday Fabien will be at First Fig in Camden from 4-7 for the debut of their patio! He and Laurent will be there and First Fig will have lots of Fabien’s wines open by the glass

Amelie Cartoux will be here to talk about and pour her fathers wines: Domaine Espiers in Gigondas
At Browne Trading on Thursday the 16th from 4-6pm
If you can’t make it to Maine Wild Wine Fest to meet Amelie and taste through her wines, don’t worry: she’s also doing a wine tasting at Browne Trading on Thursday from 4-6pm! These are some of the best Rhone wines I know of: ripe and sunny but also with tones of wild herbs and integrated structure.

I think the picture pretty much says it all….

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Champagne!



Champagne!

SO MANY BUBBLES!

Champagne!

Champagne! I hope you all had a good Christmas and then maybe a bit of a break this week. Here are some fun notes on Champagnes I’m excited to drink and where to find them around the State!

Billecart-Salmon Brut Sous Bois
$107/btl
Available at Riverside Butcher, Bow St Market in Freeport, Eventide Specialties, Browne Trading, and Main and Vine in Kennebunk
2 Magnums available at approximately $240/btl
Billecart Salmon: the oldest family owned Champagne house. They make incredible wines using some unique and intense processes, chiefly super long and cold primary fermentations in order to preserve more delicate aromas and flavors from their grapes. The Sous Bois is particularly unique because they do that primary fermentation in oak casks! Billecart is famous for ethereally beautiful wine making and complexity so these are not new oak casks that impart wood flavor to the wine; they’re neutral, but do soften the wine and round the flavors in a different way from the Brut Reserve or Brut Rose. This is equal parts Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir; all from the Billecart’s vineyards that are 1er or Grand cru.  

Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose
Approximately $130/btl
Available at Northern Union, Bleecker and Greer, Maine and Vine, RSVP, Eventide Specialties, Lily Lupine and Fern, The Vault, Tess Market, and The Wine Seller
2 Magnums available at $290/btl!

Billecart Salmon Brut Rose! Billecart’s Brut Rose is the most famous wine they make (out of many famous wines). This is 40% Chardonnay with 30% Pinot Noir and 30% Pinot Meunier. The wine ferments vey slowly at temperatures that yeast barely functions at for up to 7 weeks! This wine is pretty universally loved and recognized as the best NV Rose Champagne.
We have already sold out of the Brut Reserve, don’t miss out on the Rose!

Fernand Lemaire Champagne Brut NV
Approximately $59/btl

Available at Vic and Whit’s, Bleecker and Greer, and Browne Trading
For four generations, the family history of Champagne Fernand Lemaire has been in the emblematic village of Hautvillers, classified as a 1er Cru. In 1860 Fernand’s parents, Jeanne and Eugène, were already cultivating a few vines, but Eugène was first and foremost the village blacksmith.
Fernand realized the richness of his terroir and decided to devote himself entirely to the winegrowing profession. Independent by nature, he invested in his own press, his first vats and had his cellar dug into the chalk. In 1903, the first Fernand Lemaire Champagne was born. Fernand’s great-grandchildren, Hélène and her brother Benoît, have been running the family business since 2022. Today, they perpetuate the Champagne know-how as a family, and continue to reveal the excellence of their terroir.
Aroma: bright fresh lemon zest, white peach, some ripe pear, a little little faint hint of fresh baked bread, but it's not a particularly toasty brioche Champagne. It smells very sunny and happy and fun. A little bit of really fresh orange. Definitely elegant and poised but not sharp or aggressive smelling
Taste: lovely ripe lemon, white peach, fresh orange up front. It has very frothy refined persistent bubbles that fill the mid palate. It's crisp and fresh and nicely focused. This tastes very sunny and happy and friendly! As you move past the mid palate it picks up some gentle toast. There's white grape and a little bit of a dry prickly orange zest worked in. This is a really lovely focused poised and elegant Champagne; not too dry, not too minerally, not lush, creamy, and luxurious, but really perfectly put together and totally satisfying. Uplifting and delicious!

Victorieux Brut Tradition Champagne
Approximately $50
Available at Car Hop, RSVP, Via Vecchia, Treats, Back River Bistro, Bow St Beverage, and Twelve
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 before disgorgement which really contributes to it's refinement and elegance. On top of that this has been in bottle resting and maturing for over 7 years now! It’s really impressive and deep and lovely.

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.

Champagne Tarlant Rose 'Zero' Brut NV
Approximately $89/btl
Available Bleecker and Greer, Anju, Meridians, Browne Trading, Liquid Riot, Oak Hill Beverage, and Maine and Loire
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.
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. 
Aroma: dry peach, super elegant dry cherry, pink grapefruit, some background red rose. It's a gorgeous aroma of dried red fruit, flower petals, as well as some vivid intensity that comes across a little citrusy. It does also have some savory baked goods there in the background; some baking cherry pie hiding behind the fresh fruit. This is really impressively powerful and beautiful at the same time
Taste: dry, focused, peachy, beautiful bright strawberry. The bubbles are super fine but very persistent and frothy. There's some delicious subtle salt in the background of the mid palate, hidden behind the bubbles, but they make the wine more delicious and palate satisfying. The finish has some beautiful raspberry that comes back to you as the last lingering flavor. This is powerful and vivid and really grabs your attention but the flavors and integration and layering of the wine are so beautiful and deft. This is exceptional. I would describe this as a bigger more expressive rosé then the Billecart.

Jerome Arnoux Jura Cremant Elegance
Approximately $33/btl
Available at Blue Hill Wine Shop, Vessel and Vine, Cong tu Bot, Oxbow in Oxford, Juniper Kitchen, Quanto Basta, and Oak and Ember
Jerome started working in the local vineyards helping a neighbor at the age of 17 and spent 20 years working at various wineries in the Arbois. Jerome became assistant wine maker to the famous Stephane Tissot and worked for him until he decided to start his own winery. He already owned vineyards and now works 17 hectares. He uses organic principles and ferments with native yeast for the initial fermentation, then uses Champagne yeast for the fermentation in bottle. This is equal parts Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from vines that average 40 years old.Today Aroma: ripe apple, pear, some white peach, brioche.... it smells rich and ripe like baking pastry and fruit. There’s grapefruit but also a smell like almond croissant. It smells pretty lovely!
Taste: ripe pear and some rich juicy apple followed by super fine but very powerful frothy persistent bubbles that fill your palate and lift the wine up. The finish is rich and creamy. It's actually a flavor kind of like great real vanilla ice cream. Creamy in texture and mouth filling but also kind of creamy in the flavor and then with a hint of toasted vanilla to it. It's really delicious; rich and more powerful and creamier and broader than maybe any Champagne, but the focus and the effervescence are all very Champagne like. This a great value and would be an awesome choice as a pair for more powerful foods.

André Clouet Grande Reserve
Approximately $60
Available at Main St Provisions, RSVP, all the Rosemont Markets, Sawyer’s Specialties, Central Provisions, Bow St Market Freeport, Hunt and Alpine, Cong tu Bot, Black Birch, John Edwards, Friends and Family, Bleecker and Greer, and LB Kitchen
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.

Domaine André Clouet Silver Brut
Approximately $59
Available at
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!

Domaine André Clouet Rosé
Approximately $70/ btl
Available at Treats, Bleeker and Greer, and Lincolnville General Store
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!

André Clouet Millesime 2015
Approximately $76
Available at Bow St Beverage Portland, Vessel and Vine, Treats, Bow St in Wells, and Tess Market
Elegant gorgeous nuanced vintage Champagne for $76! Where else can you find vintage Champagne for that price!? This is 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.

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BUBBLES!!!!



BUBBLES!!!!

But not Champagne

Bubbles (that are not Champagne)

Hot on the heels of the Champagne email that went out yesterday morning, here are some of our other non Champagne bubbly offerings. We have plenty other things in stock but these all felt particularly exciting and deserving of attention.

Anima Mundi "Cami dels Xops" Pet Nat
$17.60/btl
62 btls available
This is a gorgeous racy, uplifting, and focused sparkling wine from the hills outside Barcelona. 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 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 included in the NYTimes best wines under $20 list last year.

Vignale di Cecilia Prosecco
$15.25/btl and $14.50 case price
86 btls available
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. It will satisfy people who just want something good and bubbly, but it’s so well made it will satisfy serious wine people too. This is a small production wine made for Summer at Hootananny.

Philippe Gonet 2011 Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru

$58/btl

26 btls available
 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.

Jean Pierre Robinot L'Ange Vin Fetembulles 2022
$25.40/btl
18 bottles available

Jerome Arnoux Cremant Elegance
$24/btl
110 btls available
Jerome started working in the local vineyards helping a neighbor at the age of 17 and spent 20 years working at various wineries in the Arbois. Jerome became assistant wine maker to the famous Stephane Tissot and worked for him until he decided to start his own winery. He already owned vineyards and now works 17 hectares. He uses organic principles and ferments with native yeast for the initial fermentation, then uses Champagne yeast for the fermentation in bottle. This is equal parts Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from vines that average 40 years old.Today Aroma: ripe apple, pear, some white peach, brioche.... it smells rich and ripe like baking pastry and fruit. There’s grapefruit but also a smell like almond croissant. It smells pretty lovely!
Taste: ripe pear and some rich juicy apple followed by super fine but very powerful frothy persistent bubbles that fill your palate and lift the wine up. The finish is rich and creamy. It's actually a flavor kind of like great real vanilla ice cream. Creamy in texture and mouth filling but also kind of creamy in the flavor and then with a hint of toasted vanilla to it. It's really delicious; rich and more powerful and creamier and broader than maybe any Champagne, but the focus and the effervescence are all very Champagne like. This a great value and would be an awesome choice as a pair for more powerful foods.

Bolet Cava Brut Nature Clàssic NV
$13/btl and $12.25 by the case
130 btls Available

Bolet’s Cava Brut is a classic blend of 50% Xarel-lo, 40% Macabeo, and 10% Parellada. These vineyards are located on the Mas Lluet, Can Planes d’En Perull and Les Cunilleres estates, three different locations all in Castellví de la Marca and at different altitudes which helps make a more balanced complete wine. All the vineyards feature dry, gravel-rich soils; the grapes are farmed organically and harvested manually. They undergo a gentle pressing, then first fermentation is at 14ºC for 15 days in stainless steel tanks.
Aroma: The aroma is primarily crisp ripe apple and apple juice flavors but I also smell a little bit of brown sugar, some wildflowers, roasted nuts, a little bit of fresh baked bread. It’s pretty lovely: fresh and vibrant but also savory thoughtful and very Mediterranean Spanish.
Taste: nice fine gentle frothy bubbles. Apple juicy up front, then it gets a little bit creamy and picks up these lovely clearly defined flavors of fresh baked bread. The fruit and savory flavors slowly fade away but the bubbles help it to linger gracefully with some delicate ripe pear and honeycrisp apple. This is classic fresh vibrant Cava with flavors that are incredibly identifiably Mediterranean Spain. I just had to sit down and eat some nuts, olives, and hard salty cheese with this.

Bolet Cava Brut Rosado NV
$15.75/btl and $15 by the case
69 btls Available
The Cava Rosado Reserva comes from 100% Pinot Noir. The grapes are gently pressed and then the first fermentation is at 14ºc for 15 days in stainless steel tanks. The second fermentation takes place in the bottle and is followed by at least 24 months of maturing on racks.
Aroma: delicate dried cherry, some delicate cooked strawberry, a little bit of fresh baked bread, and a hint of sun-dried tomato. It smells very pretty (elegant and dry), but also a little rich: sunny, giving, and ripe
Taste: very pretty! Fresh and clean: a little bit of citrus and some elegant dried cherry at first, then fine frothy fizzy bubbles that are playful and not too sharp. They bring a dimension of fresh bread but also a little bit of cranberry and more dried cherry. The wine gently fades but then on the finish there's a beautiful restrained strawberry flavor that pops in to surprise you. The wine is not sweet at all but it's also not aggressively dry. This is very pretty in a restrained elegant way and the bubbles give it a perfectly balanced and poised playfulness and uplift!

Caneva da Nani el vin col fondo
$14.25 and $13.75 by the case
78 btls available
One of my all time favorites and a wine I’m always looking for an excuse to open!  
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!

Pomalo Debit Pet Nat
$14.25/btl and $13.50 by the case
84 btls available

Tullia Brut Prosecco di Treviso
$12/btl and $11.25 by the case
158 btls available

Henry Varnay Blanc de Blancs Brut NV
$9/btl and $8.25 by the case
141 btls available
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.

Kobal Bajta Pet Nat Rose 2022
$16.25/btl and $15.50 by the case
132 btls available
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; 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!

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PO Box 11210
Portland, ME 04104

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Holiday Wines from Devenish



Holiday Wines from Devenish

Delicious, Fun, and Rare!

Beautiful and Special Wines for Any Celebration!

I’ve been thinking about this selection of wines, adding and cutting, for weeks now. These are some of the most special and delicious wines that I had over this entire past year! These wines here share a theme: I feel they balance uniqueness, with excellent quality, as well as providing good value all at the same time. They’re wines you could enjoy at home with a significant other, or take to a party and wow the other guests with the wine is as well as it’s unique back story. These are the wines I’m excited to celebrate with over this Christmas! I’m even excited just to have the opportunity to taste them again as I work on this email!

Ovum Off the Grid Riesling 2021
Approximately $30
350 cases made. Find this at Bow St Beverage in Wells and Riverside Butcher in Damariscotta
This was so exciting to drink and immediately struck me as both a quintessential Ovum wine and a classically great expression of Oregon Riesling. John and Ksenija hand harvest this fruit from the southernmost vineyard in Oregon, down in the Illinois vineyard on the California border. Alluvial galets stud the silty, sandy soil that is riddled with serpentine. High in nickel and magnesium, serpentine creates a caustic environment where Riesling becomes concentrated, and usually high in tartaric acid. Farming practices are dry-farmed, sustainable, and working toward full organic. The wine ages in Acacia wood barrels (they commission the barrels for their production). High acidity provides scaffolding and structure, and the 9gL of residual sugar is barely noticeable but rounds out and balances the acidity. 350 cases produced.
Aroma: wow! This is beautiful and is clearly identifiable as an Oregon Riesling! White rose, viburnum flowers, perfectly ripe pear, yellow peach, a little hint of sweet pine sap, and a hint of fresh oregano. The aroma has this beautiful ripe fruit and lovely floral component as well as a touch of balancing aromatic spice.
Taste: rich fruit and texture with a fun little bit of ginger! Ripe apple and cooked pear up front followed by delicious rich baked apple flavors and a hint of cinnamon but the wine has nice acidity that keeps it fun and bright and playful. It tastes like this is relatively low alcohol. If I had to guess I would think maybe 12%? But it has that lush ripe gorgeous Riesling fruit and spice and structure. It's just so gentle and has the perfect weight. There's a little bit of pineapple in the back and all the way on the finish there's a little bit of a beautiful sunny peach and a hint of white roses

Vignoble Dinocheau Touraine Brut Les Arcis NV
Approximately $25
Find this at Vessel & Vine, The Cheese Shop of Portland, Table Bar, Lorne, Cork and Rind, South Freeport Market, Vic and Whit’s, and Now You’re Cooking
We visited Laurence back in June and it was so cool to see what she’s done. She left a job working in art transport with the Louvre to take over he father’s little winery when he had to retire suddenly. Let’s just say it wasn’t in great shape and she had a massive amount of cleaning and pruning and work to rebuild. She did it and learned on the job! She’s adopted organics and has made big strides. This is her first real release of a sparkling wine. It’s Chenin Blanc from a tiny 1 acre vineyard named “Les Arcis”. She ages the wine on the lees for an extended period before disgorging.
Aroma: beautiful gentle ripe Anjou pear, a little bit of hay, gentle white rose, a hint of wildflower honey. It's beautiful and elegant but gentle. The perfume and aromatics are lovely but not in your face
Taste: beautiful full fresh apple up front. To be clear it’s a clean fresh apple flavor, not the taste of cider. Then a hint of toast, a touch of ripe pear, and a little bit of quince. The bubbles are very fine and gentle and sort of envelop your palate, but they’re intense as well. The fruit gets a little richer and adds more peach and fresh orange. It’s a dry wine, but not too sharp, not acidity driven. The wine is delicious and easy to drink, driven by the lovely fruit and fine persistent bubbles. The finish gets a bit leaner and drier and has a lingering crisp green apple. This is a sparkling wine with refinement and poise, but it’s not as sharp or driving as many Champagnes. It will work well with all kinds of foods thanks to it’s intense small bubbles; it’s perfect for almost any occasion.

Inconnu No Gods No Masters Cabernet Sauvignon
Approximately $38
Find this at Bow St Wells, Best Wines in Hancock, The Alna Store, and Friends and Family
This is a serious classic CA Cabernet that drinks way better than it’s price! Laura Brennan Bissel makes No Gods No Masters from 3 separate small vineyard sites in Napa and Sonoma. One site has gravelly loam soil, another river rock, and the third sedimentary clay. Each has a different character that adds to the whole. Some of the vines are 80 years old and that also must contribute to the complexity of the flavors. This was hand harvested and fermented with native yeast in open top vats, then aged for 2 years in neutral oak barrels. I am shocked at how ripe this tastes… but with 13% alcohol and tannins that are gentle. I don’t know how Laura pulled off classic blackberry, blueberry, currant, and graphite Cali Cab with out big alcohol/body/tannin; it’s magic.
Aroma: dark currant and blueberry; like blueberry and blackberry jam! Don't get me wrong, it smells bright and dynamic but the fruit flavors smell like dark blue fruit, tightly wound. Little bit of currant, a little bit of graphite, definitely classic Cabernet Sauvignon profile. Wow this smells great. I just don't run into wines like this that often. The aroma smells tightly focused and lovely; deep and fresh at the same time.
Taste: Vivid concentrated black raspberry and a little bit of blueberry, then some currant followed by more concentrated raspberry and raspberry jam, but there's good acidity and the wine isn't heavy. It's concentrated and vivid and lush but just.... not heavy. I'm really so impressed. This is finally structured and tightly wound but it's also so pretty and uplifting and drinkable. How is this possible? I don't think I've ever had these flavors of concentration without corresponding weight and alcohol. This is totally unique. It's like cooked raspberry or boysenberry on the mid palate. It has really fine tannins that are there and textural but not aggressive at all. Just Wow!

Roccheviberti Nebbiolo di Langhe 2021
Approximately $35 per bottle
Find this at Vessel and Vine, Maine and Loire, Folk, Bow St Wells, Perks Beer and Beverage, and the Blue Hill Wine Shop
Here’s another excellent value! Claudio Viberti’s Barolos are fantastic and poised and powerful…. and priced that way. His Nebbiolo that comes from a vineyard in the same town, Rocche di Castiglione is also fantastic and poised and powerful and romantic tasting…. but for less than 1 third the cost of the Barolos. We only have 6 cases though
Aroma: warm rich deep red cherry, some ripe raspberry, and a little bit of red currant. It smells a tiny bit like raspberry jam but also a lovely pretty sort of smell like raw beeswax. It smells so friendly and comfortable and warming! There's a tiny little hint of some kind of aromatic spice like pink peppercorns
Taste: juicy and rich with concentrated, a touch of pomegranate, and a little hint of ginger followed up with a rich mid palate and then some firm but finally textured tannins. It's got a nice bright uplifting Nebbiolo acidity at the front and some nicely integrated subtle salt on the mid palate that reinforces that warm comfortable comforting personality. The finish has some black pepper but then also some lovely elegant fresh raspberry flavors that linger

Les Lunes Searby Vineyard Chardonnay 2022
Approximately $25
Find this at The Cheese Shop of Portland, Night Moves, 44 North on Deer Isle, John Edwards in Ellsworth, and Maine and Loire
California Chardonnay that wows everyone from Chardonnay lover to Chardonnay skeptic! I’ve become such a big fan of Shaunt and Diego’s wines since I first tasted them last February. That first day opening the sample bottles with no expectations I was shocked by how good they were but also how good the prices were!
Chardonnay with all grapes from the historic Searby vineyard in the Sonoma Coast AVA. Shaunt and Diego are so excited that they managed to lease this vineyard starting in this vineyard. It has nearly 50 year old vines that have been farmed organically and with no till or irrigation. The vineyard has a passive drainage system that was engineered and installed by the WPA during the Great Depression. The soil is decayed loose sandstone that has turned into a sort of sandy loam. The site is surrounded by second growth redwood trees that help provide shade and keep the vineyard cool. I am kicking myself for not ordering more of this! The juice settled overnight and fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged in a combination of stainless and HDPE tanks with zero oak aging to preserve freshness and fruit character. After 7 months, the wine was racked for bottling and 18 ppm sulfur was added. They made 443 cases
Aroma: bright vibrant Valencia orange: tart and crisp smelling. A little zesty, there's a hint of creaminess, like lemon meringue or a delicate flan. Maybe this went through malolactic or partial malolactic? That lovely fresh orange is the dominant aroma but there's a little hint of lusciousness and a softness to it. It's a lovely balance
Taste: this is delicious! It's so bright and poised! It has some depth and a hint of caramelized fruit. Makes me think of oranges that have been gently cooked and candied. It has these lovely fresh orange flavors that are crisp at the onset and hang on across the palate progression of the wine; progressively these deeper more textural components come in on the mid palate. It gets creamy like a gentle orange creamsicle flavor. The finish is still fruity but gets a little bit more savory - almost more like a gentle dry cooked peach. This is really lovely and so well balanced. 12. 5% alcohol California Chardonnay: hooray!

Eric Texier St. Julien en St. Alban Vieille Serine 2017
Approximately $38 per bottle
Find this at Browne Trading, Table Bar, and the Alna Store
This comes from 70 year old Serine vines. Serine is an old heritage grape variety grown in the northern Rhone that is either a forerunner of modern Syrah, or maybe genetically a different grape; the jury is still out. It's a grape that used to be dominant here before we learned to genetically analyze grape vines and started planting standardized uniform clones of grape varieties. The grapes are hand harvested and the whole clusters spend one week macerating. Then it is pressed off and finishes fermentation in concrete before aging in 2500L wood. It’s powerful and sunny, lush, but high toned and playful as well. This is effectively Eric Texiers flagship and does all the things a classic Beautiful Northern Rhone Syrah should.
Aroma: deep juicy plush and expressive blackberry and black cherry! It smells so deep and seductive! Grapy… like grape soda grapy; it's exuberant and vivid in a way that I'm not sure I've ever smelled before. It smells a tiny bit like wood smoke, it also smells slightly like burnt fruit: like you simmered a bunch of raspberries on the stove and they cooked down until they just started to burn. It does also smell tart! Like vivid bright fresh cherries! The seductive perfume of red roses! It's an intense, layered, and beautiful aroma
Taste: juicy, racy, lots of vivid fruit': raspberry, cherry, and blueberry. There's a real vivid aromatic high toned quality that makes me think of blueberries. It has density on the palate and fills my mouth with concentrated raspberry and black raspberry but I wouldn't call it heavy. It has bright acidity that engages your palate. It's sunny but not soft: tightly wound and structured. There's blue fruit in the finish and some dry sunny rosemary worked in there. The tannins are there and kind of textural but they actually fade away before the finish and really leave the elegant raspberry as the final experience

Domaine de Chevalerie 2015 Galichets
Approximately $33 per bottle
Find this at Bow St Market in Freeport, the Weatherbird in Damariscotta, Juniper Kitchen, and the Pentagoet Inn
2015 Galichets straight from Chevalerie’s caves in the Loire! This is so beautiful and effortlessly lovely; like a cloud. All the components meld 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. This is a delicious bottle of wine that will impress people that know nothing about wine but like big supple reds. It will also impress collectors and wine people who know how special this 15th generation family winery is.
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.

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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…..wow.

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.

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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!

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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.

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PO Box 11210
Portland, ME 04104

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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.
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Devenish Wines
PO Box 11210
Portland, ME 04104

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Unicorn Nebbiolo from the Italian Alps









Unicorn Nebbiolo from the Italian Alps




These Pictures are Crazy


















































Carema:
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

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Champagne, Prosecco, Petnat, Cava!!









Champagne, Prosecco, Petnat, Cava!!




All our fizzy wines and where to find them


















































ALL THE BUBBLES!!!























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! 

-Ned

 




















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.










































































































































































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