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August 2013

July 2013

August Briggs Zinfandel 2011

I'm so excited to have August Briggs Zinfandel back in the Devenish stable!  I represented August Briggs back in 2003-2005 when Devenish first started.  I loved the wines; August Briggs makes delicious, classic CA wines in tiny batches and I was sorry to lose them for a while.


Luckily for me, my friend Warren Fraser started up his own distribution company in NY and reconnected with August Briggs.  August Briggs was founded in 1995 by August "Joe" Briggs.  Briggs had developed a reputation as a great consultant wine maker in the Napa area and eventually decided to strike out on his own.  August Briggs made 375 cases.

Aroma: The Briggs Zinfandel smells dark, serious, and smoky.  The wine spends time in brand new oak barrels and you can really smell it in the nose.  The sweet pungent smell of vanilla is there strongly, but there's a lot of black cherry and black raspberry along with a smoky charry aroma too.  With that combo of flavors the August Briggs Zinfandel smells like summer grilling to me; not a bad thing for an old vine Zinfandel!  

Palate: At first I got a lot of the new oak, But it's a big juicy CA Zin so I was cool with that.  Once the Briggs opened up though it was delicious!  Dark tight curranty fruit with wood smoke and grilled meat.  This would be brilliant with strip steaks off the grill.  For all it's big serious character it's lush and smooth textured; not too spicy and actually approachable.  I think it's pretty impressive that August Briggs managed to make a wine this big and brawny, but still likable and open at the same time.  Big, sexy, with gravitas, and totally satisfying.

August Briggs Zin is available at Aurora Provisions for $44.99 and on the list at the Back Bay Grill.

Matthew Rorick Valdiguie 2012

Mathew Rorick has developed a serious reputation for producing vibrant exciting wines that buck current CA conventions while utilizing rare and unusual grape varieties.  Rorick took a circuitous route into wine that included a tour with the navy in the first Gulf War, anthropology studies, and eventually launching his own winery, Forlorn Hope, with 4 red wines that would need years of aging while working full time as wine maker for Elizabeth Spencer Wines.  Matthew Rorick typically makes less than 2500 bottles of any given wine and his wine making is guided by  The Wine Press and The Cellar : a hand book of California wine making dating from the 1880's.  

That all sounds unusual; almost deliberately choosing the hard way to do things.  The proof is in the bottles though and so far I've been quite impressed.  This Valdiguie is vibrant, intensely fruity and fresh, but light and dancing on it's imaginary feet.


Valdiguie is a varietal and has been grown in CA for generations.  It's one of the old school vinifera grapes that immigrants grew back when wine was considered a poor immigrant's drink.  The source for Rorick's wine is a 20 year old vineyard over in the sleepier Suisun valley

Aroma: Strawberries!  Raspberries too.  The Valdiguie's aroma is fun, playful, and berry driven.  It actually smells to me like fresh home made pink lemon aide with the citrus and strawberry smells!

Palate: Fresh ripe raspberries are the dominant taste I get.  The fruit is rich, but bright, and the finish is very smooth.  Rorick's Valdiguie is a totally refreshing and easy going summer red.  Definitely serve this with a slight chill.  The Matthew Rorick Valdiguie is available for under $20 in Maine, but only 10 cases are coming into the state, so grab it where and when you can!  


Available at Rosemont Munjoy Hill and Vignola

Crnko Jarenincan 2012

Crnko Jarenincan

Grapes: La┼íki Rizling , Sauvignon Blanc , Ravenec

Crnko is a 13 acre family farm in the Maribor region of Slovenia.   run by Silvio Crnko.  The Jarenincan house blend is half their production and wasn't even sold outside of the local town until 2009.  You can see a video of Silvio talking about his wine here:


The Jarenincan is very clear in the glass; not too much color and easy to see through.  It looks the part of a clear summer white.

Aroma: No lean Sauvignon Blanc or soft Chardonnay this!  The Jarenincan is a more aromatic and heady smelling wine.  If I didn't already know there was Muscat in the blend I would from the first whiff of ripe stonefruit.  The Crnko Jarenincan smells like all the quintessential fruits of summer: apricot, peach, lemon, mango, honeydew....

Yup, that's a litre bottle!

Taste: On the palate the Crnko is rich and tropical.  The ripe apricot is there in force along with fresh honey and some soft lemon/shite grapefruit.  There's also a hint of the tanginess of stone fruit peel that hides lingering behind the full fruit.  There's also just a bit of spice woven in as well.  The Jarenincan is very smooth; I wouldn't call it lacking in acidity, but the acid doesn't play a huge part.  Overall the Crnko is dangerously drinkable and refreshing.  Interestingly to me the Crnko isn't refreshing in a zippy lean Sauvignon Blanc way.  It's drinkable in a smooth, low in alcohol (11%) thirst quenching kind of way.


The Crnko Jarenincan is fun.  It's summer.  It's summer and it's fun and it's a litre bottle.  Awesome.

$14.99 and available at Aurora Provisions, Roseomont Munjoy HIll, Roseomont Brighton, Local in Brunswick, Le Roux Kitchen, Bow St Market, Treats, Oh No, Rising Tide Market, Rockland Food Service.