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December 2014

November 2014

Devenish Thanksgiving Suggestions 2014

Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday because it’s all about food, wine, family, and wine!  Wait!  I mean friends; food, wine, family, and friends! 


The center piece of Thanksgiving that all the celebration, giving of thanks, friends, and family revolves around is the meal.  With all the attention on the meal the wines had better be equally as delicious as the food.  I always say "good wine won't save a bad meal, but bad wine can ruin good food".   We've put together a list of some of our favorite wines that check all the boxes for Thanksgiving.  Look through and you're guaranteed to find something that fits your preferences.  We've listed approximate retail prices and tried to list as many shops that retail each that we could identify. 


Happy Thanksgiving!

  Famille Laurent Saint-Pourcain Rouge 2013

Famille Laurent Saint Pourçain 2013 Tradition (Pinot Noir/Gamay) $15

This wine has been on our Thanksgiving list since we got it and this Pinot/Gamay blend will continue to make appearances here because it’s fantastic.  The 2013 vintage is juicy with ripe cherry and raspberry but it also has some dark earthy character from the Gamay, excellent balance, and a soft refreshing finish.  This is such a rich compelling refreshing wine.  Available at the Rosemonts, Whole Foods, The Farm Stand, Bow St, Black Sheep, Local, RSVP, Vic and Whit's, Sawyer's Specialties, Blue Hill Wine Shop, Uncorked, Maine MEat, Rising Tide Natural Foods, Oakhill Beverage, Cheese Iron, Aurora Provisions, Oh No, Meridians, and too many other places to list.  It's that good.




Nicchia Lambrusco di Sorbara NV DOC $13

The NIcchia Lambrusco has fresh fun ripe berry fruit and just the right amount of effervescence to clean the grease of gravy off your palate or to stand up to sweet potatoes.  It’s a perfect “pair with everything” Thanksgiving wine.  This is the wine I send to family gatherings where there will be people that "don't like wine".  This always gets rave reviews.  Nicchia Lambrusco is available at Aurora Provisions, the Rosemonts Markets, Oh No, Local, Black Sheep, Vic and Whit's, Lois's Natural Foods, Maine MEat, New Morning Natural Foods, RSVP, Meridians, Bootlegger's, Oakhill Beverage, and Bow St.




Cornelissen Rosso del Contadino 2013 $27

Electric wild vivid wine that just lights up your mouth with flying acidity and an obsidian edge.  Somehow it creates the illusion of grittiness that expresses the volcanic rock and sand it’s hewn from.  So alive, compelling, and refreshing all at once.  Zero sulfur and as absolutely natural as wine can be. Avaliable at the Farm Stand, Flock and Vine, Sawyer's Specialties, Blue Hill Wine Shop, Lois's Natural Foods, the Rosemonts, Browne Trading, and The Bier Cellar.




Neudorf Riesling Moutere 2012 $23

Neudorf’s Riesling seems pretty, elegant, and polished, but there’s an underlying structure of acidity and a hint of sweetness that gives it a strength you don’t immediately notice because it’s so seamlessly integrated.  Neudorf was started by a young couple back in the 70's and at this point is one of the elder statesman of NZ wine.  Available at the Rosemonts on Munjoy Hill and Brighton Ave in Portland, Blue Hill Wine Shop, Browne Trading, Le Roux Kitchen, Bow St, and Now You're Cooking.




Domaine Chene Macon la Roche Vineuse 2013 $17

This is the best demonstration we have of why white Burgundy is so popular.  This affordable Chardonnay can multi task like Jack Dorsey.  It has playful ripe fruit, dancing acidity, relaxed texture and a mid palate minerality that grabs your palate.  It does it all and can handle whatever gustatory hedonism you throw at it.  You'll fine the Macon la Roche at Lois's Natural Marketplace, Uncorked Cheese and wine, Black Sheep, Maine Beer and Beverage, the Rosemonts, Weatherbird, Meridians, Bow St, and State St Wine Cellar.




Domaine Dubost Beaujolais Villages Tracot 2013 $17

Organic, wild fermented, and oh so perfectly poised and elegant!  Dubost's Beaujolais is delicious perfectly clear refreshing Beaujolais that marries the purity of good village wine with the ripeness of Morgon (where most of Jean Paul’s vineyards are).  Tracot's Beaujolais is for sale at Aurora Provisions, Blue Hill Wine Shop, The Farm Stand, and Neighborhood Health and Herb.



Domaine Lemonier, Vergisson Pouilly Fuisse 2012 $25

Excellent small vineyard family produced Pouilly Fuisse that’s lush, expansive, and vividly alive at the same time.  This is an outstanding price for really good compelling Pouilly Fuisse that's the perfect rich and delicious counterpart to an over the top Thanksgiving feast.   This Pouilly Fuisse is available at Sate St Wine Cellar, Flock and Vine, Tess's, Local, Blue Hill Wine Shop, Bootlegger's, Vic and Whit's, and Meridians.




Regnier David Cuvée de la Guichardiere Saumur Blanc 2010 $22

This Chenin Blanc comes from a 1 hectare organic vineyard planted with heritage Chenin cuttings from a legendary vineyard in Vouvray.  It’s wild fermented, aged 2 years on the lees in old oak casks, and only 225 cases were made.  This is incredibly deep sophisticated old school Chenin that just pushes all the right buttons. Regnier David Saumur is available at the Rosemont on Munjoy Hill, Sawyer's Specialties, Blue Hill Wine Shop, Meridians, Uncorked Wine and Cheese, Lois's Natural Foods, State St Wines, RSVP, Bow St, Aurora Provisions, Browne Trading, and Lily Lupine and Fern.

Tami Frappato 2013

Arianna Occhipinti started making wine at the age of 21.  She was introduced to wine by her uncle Giusto of COS, and after resisting the attempts of her university professors to dissuade her from natural wine making, she produced her first vintage from 1hectare of land in 2004.  From those small beginnings she's expanded her vineyards and gained a passionate international following for her beautifully expressive wines.  You can see interviews with Arianna explaining her beliefs here: Arianna Occhipinti interview.


TAMI is a wine project overseen by Arianna, but made in a partnership with some of her friends in the town of Siracusa.  All the grapes are from the vineyard of Contrada Bastonaca, are organically farmed, and wild fermented. 


Aroma: The Tami Frappato smells fresh and bright, refreshing and lively.  The first aroma I identify is fresh crushed raspberries but there's also an inviting flowery aroma and underneath those two there's a bit of wood smoke.  The smoke is nice, it gives the bright playful fruit aroma some spice and grounding.  I wouldn't call the Tami's aroma light; this Frappato smells juicy, lively, refreshing, and....interesting.  Interesting in that I just keep on wanting to smell it more and figure it out, like it's not giving up everything it's got.  Fresh pure aromas of roses and raspberries and volcanic earth: it's Sicily in a bottle.

Palate: Smooth texture, balanced tannins on the finish, a twinge of cranberry that slides off the mid palate: there's a real purity to all the flavors and the wine's character.  The Tami Frappato has an intensity of flavors and a focus that verges on urgency in how it comes across.  Despite the vividness of the tastes, it's not a heavy wine. I'm a sucker for wines like this that are engaging and intense while still light and invigorating.  The Tami Frappato's supple texture, vivid fruit, and focusing tannins are so perfectly in sync!

It's shocking that this is about $15 retail.  The one real draw back to this wine is that I only got 6 cases.  Sorry.  And Rosemont Market took them all.  Arianna does also make a Nero d'Avola under the Tami label, and then there are all her full on Occhipinti wines that I'll be rolling out soon!

Contadino 2013


These are my unedited, un proof read notes on the new 2013 Contadino.  They're my initial impressions and I'll have more in depth notes to follow.  For info on the wine maker and his drive to make wines that taste like the rock of Mount Etna click here: Frank Cornelissen 

Frank Cornelissen's Contadino is incredible and has become a touchstone for the natural wine movement.  The Contadino is a well balanced and integrated wine, but the combination of flavors and experience of drinking it are outside of the normal commercial wine solar system.  This wine is a ticket to another galaxy and expands your concept of what wine is.  

This is the first bottling to have a vintage on it.  It's also 13.5% alcohol instead of 15% as in previous years.  I don't know what Frank has changed, but the wine is similar in flavor profile to past years, but lighter on it's feet.  Past years had really serious tannins that grabbed your palate and wouldn't let go.  This bottling plays nice and is more relaxed.  I'll ask Frank what changed when he comes to host a dinner at Vinland on December 6th.

Aroma: Contadino is just not on the normal spectrum of what wine smells and tastes like.  The aromatics are both very powerful and wildly floral.  There's powerful aromas of rose as well as the sweeter smell of wild beach rose.  The aroma is so dynamic that it's a bit chameleon like and harder than most to put into words.  At the same time that the Contadino smells like wild roses it simultaneously smells like squeezed in your hand Sicilian blood orange juice.  Once you get past the fruit and floral aromas you run head long into the smells of a holiday kitchen full of baking spices; there's all kinds of cardamon, cinnamon, rosemary, and lavender here.  Oh, and cranberries; you can't miss all the cranberries baking in that conceptual kitchen.

Taste: Bright, racy, high toned.  It has a bit of a pink grapefruit aspect to it.  Very neon and vivid.  There is a minerality to the finish that while not so tannic still comes across like licking a rough rock.  The fresh acidity is the defining characteristic of the front end of the wine and it's finishes with a refreshing uplifting quality.  This is a very cool departure from the style of previous years.  Contadino used to be very much more Munjebel light, but this is brighter and has a softer touch to it while still being very intense and attention commanding.  

I'll start posting on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as the Contadino gets out onto shelves and wine lists.  It will be about $27 retail.