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May 2011

Domaine Delagrange Haute Cotes du Beaune Rouge 2009


Delagrange is a 14 hectare family domaine that dates back six generations.  Didier is the current proprietor and they are based in Volnay.  Most of their land is centered right around the border between Volnay and Pommard and Didier has land in some of the prime premiere cru vineyard locations. 

I personally really enjoy this 2009 Haute Cotes du Beaune.  Haute Cotes du Beaune is an appellation that was created in 1961 to give organisation to the hill sides running along the edges of the more sought after named appellations of the Cote d'Or region of Burgundy.  This wine may not have the prestige of Delagranges single vineyard Pommards, but it's a fantastic value and give you the same passion and dedication to the vineyards for about half the price ($24 retail).  Didier has about 3.5 ha just outside of Pommard on southeast facing slopes that get plenty of sun. 

People are raving about the 2009 vintage for red Burgundy, and I usually ignore that kind of buzz, but this wine is riper and fuller than normal.  It's got the lovely perfumed aroma I want from red Burgundy, with a hint of smoke and spice underlying the inviting fresh cherry aromas. 

On the palate it has ripe cherry with a hint of woodsey-ness followed up by a long finish that's a bit meaty in a way.  The texture is excellently silky and lush, enveloping and polishing the meaty woodsey qualities to perfection. 

If you want classic Burgundian Pinot Noir made by a master, this is a rare way to get it for less than $40.

This is available at the Rosemont Market in Yarmouth, Bathras Market on Willard Square in SoPo, and Downeast Beverage on Commercial St.

Devenish Wines' Wine Crusade

I'm getting deja vu and feel like I've started off a couple emails from the past few months with "boy, Devenish has been really busy", but, well, we still are.  All of us have been working grueling hours trying to get in front of restaurant and wine shop managers to show off all the fantastic new hand made wines we have.  I've gotten so into this that it's starting to feel like we're on a wine crusade.  A crusade for hand made, personal wines that have something to say; also a crusade to say "Hey, you don't eat Kraft cheese singles, you eat organic food, Spam isn't your favorite meat; then why do you drink the wine equivalent of Spam?  The $3 and $4 wines with names that sound like generic sub-divisions are Spam in wine form.  It's juice from anywhere that's selling for cheap, all processed, artificially flavored, and then spit out of a huge industrial refinery. 

A lot of the other distributors right now are locked into a fight over who can find the cheapest artificially chocolate flavored wine.  Choco-Divine, Chocovine, Sweet sunset, all kinds of chemically created crap.  In total contrast Devenish is staking out opposite end of the market.  We want to have the most exciting, unique, naturally made wines out there.  We want  have the wines that you pick up as you walk through a store and think "Oh, wow.  I don't recognize that; it looks really interesting."   To that end we've been stepping up our game over these past months.

Devenish Wines always been focused on wines that taste like where they come from, wines that have passion in them, generally from smaller producers.  In the past few months we've become even more focused on the context of wine; the idea that it's not just the taste of the wine that matters.  I believe that the person making the wine, why this person is there making wine, who presents the wine to you, where you experience the wine; all this matters.  Context.  You don't go to fancy restaurants and take the food out back into an alley to enjoy it with out the distractions of fine service, linen table cloths, and candle light; why would you ignore all the details about a wine, such as the climate of the vineyard, how long the winemaker's family has been there, their culture and relationship with their land; when all these things have a big impact on the wine and your experience of it?

To me wine can and should be art.  Wine is a medium that can express the winemaker's philosophy, relationship to their land, history, the environment......on and on.  Plus the perception of wine is extremely personal because it's influenced by all your past experiences and tastes, much like fine art or theater.  They're forms of communication that we can all consume, yet we will all perceive the same wine or painting differently.  I love this, it keeps wine fresh and exciting for me and over comes all the petty politics that can sometimes enter the wine industry because it's so personality driven.  I want my wine to speak to me, wine that has spirit to it, wine that someone has poured passion into.  The mass produced industrial wines with flashy labels are made to not have any uniqueness or character; they're completely impersonal.

I feel a big responsibility both to the people buying my wines and the people who make them.  On the one hand I want to find cool, unique wines people can afford to enjoy; on the other I need to promote the wines of these small family producers.  The knowledge that some of my producers families have been on the land working it for longer than anyone knows, investing themselves and spending their lives there, makes me feel a heavy responsibility to represent them well and make a case for them.  That's what really motivates me to work 12-14 hour days doing this; the idea that I'm not just selling a fun luxury, I'm representing hand crafted pieces of art.


Famille Laurent Saint Pourcain Gamay Rose


Yes!  Finally!  I've been waiting and anticipating this wine for quite a while.  The arrival of the new vintages of all my favorite roses is an exciting herald of spring for me!  Although it's not really Summer yet, and the wine is intended for summer weather and cuisine, it's still fantasic now and may not be available in summer anyway.  Many of you may be familiar with the red Pinot/Gamay from this Domaine; it is one of my personal favorites and best values.

This is a 100% Gamay rose from the Auvergne region of France.  Auvergne is nearish to Burgunday and is where the Loire river starts.  It's up in what's called the Massif Centrale; a string of extinct volcanoes.  As a result the winery is at higher elevation and teh soil is rich in limeston and granite. Husband Jean-Pierre, wife Corinne and son Damien farm naturally and the family has owned this domaine since the early 20th century.

Profile: The wine is a wine is a very pretty salmony color and the aroma is pretty intense and definately exciting.  I can smell raspberry, spring flowers, an aroma that's like fresh wet rocks by a stream, and a ripe, vivid, perfectly ripe pink grapefruit.

Taste: This has extremely bright vivd fruit.  It's not heavy at all, and not sweet; it's light on it's feet and lighter, but so full of intensity!  The granite and limestone in the soil really come through in the mid-palate and are a great engine to drive the wine.  Up front is fresh raspberry/pink grapefruit, but it's the vibratn acidity and minmerality behind the fruit that really make the wine special. 

This is delicious and satisfying on it's own, but would be heavenly with fresh spring vegetables, quickly sauted, or a nice delicate pork chop.

This is about $14 and is available at the Freeport Cheese and Wine shop, The Oh No cafe, The Rosemont Markets, the Blue Hill Wine Shop, and the Cheese Iron.