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Virtual Wine Tastings this Week!

Virtual Wine Tastings this Week!

Virtual Wine Tasting Friday with Maine and Loire, Matt Mollo of SelectioNaturel, and the wines of Collecapretta

Annalisa Mattioli with their press

The Mattioli family has been in the tiny hamlet the Roman's once called Collecapretta (hill of the goats) since the 1100's. For generations the Mattioli have been cultivating the rugged hillsides of southern most Umbria. Located just outside of Spoleto, in the near-impossible-to-find borgo called Terzo la Pieve, today's farm is a scant 8 hectares in total; 2 planted to a mixture of local olives trees, 2 ha of farro and other ancient grains and ~ 4 ha of indigenous old vines. Vittorio Mattioli, his wife Anna and their daughter Annalisa live together with 3 generations of their family inside the tiny village overlooking the valley below with the high Apennine Mountains and Gran Sasso looming in the background. The elevation is some 500+ meters and the soils are a mixture of calcium and iron rich clay with outcroppings of tufo and travertine limestone. Though the total production of Collecapretta is only some 8000 bottles in a good year, the family chooses to vinify many different cuvees in hopes of expressing the vineyard and grape varieties at their best. It is an impressively exposed and windy vantage point with 360 degree views.  

All the wines are made in much the same fashion: natural fermentation takes place in open-top cement containers without temperature control or sulfur additions. The wines then age for various amounts of time in glass-lined cement vats or resin tank before bottling in synchrony with the waning lunar cycle. There is no sulfur used at any point in the winemaking process. All farming in the vineyards is completely natural, only composts made from their own animals are used to aid vine health. The labels are brilliantly simple: straightforward Italian explanations of that particular vintage's wine making .

From Ned "In a way this is a label that started Matt's company SelectioNaturel. These wines are legendary among Italian wine makers and through them he connected with many other producers he now works with." From Matt "I am humbled to be working with this gracious family of true vignaioli in the heart of Umbria. Production is minuscule and the local demand and private, very guarded clients of Collecapretta easily over-fill the supply for these. We are honored to be the first to import the wines of Collecapretta beyond a 100km radius of the winery. Needless to say, small quantities are generally avaiable but don't miss out on your chance to get your first taste of these remarkably pure wines."

The Tasting is Friday the 1st at 5pm with Maine and Loire and Matt Mollo online. Use the link below to get in on the Zoom tasting.

Zoom Tasting with Matt Mollo Sign Up

Annalisa in their winery.

Below is a list of the wines Maine and Loire has available right now. Collecapretta releases wines once a year, I get a small allocation...and that's it. So this is our one shot to get our hands on these wines until next year.

Vigna Vecchia
Direct-press white wine made from old-vine (“Vigna Vecchia”) Trebbiano Spoletino grown in the hills and grown on trellises in the Umbrian peasant tradition. Spontaneous fermentation without temperature control in open-top vats. Aged in cement, stainless steel or fiberglass. No added sulfur and no filtering or fining.

Terra dei Preti 2018
“Terra dei Preti” or “Hill of the Priests”, is 100% old vine Trebbiano Spoletino. Spontaneous fermentation with 10 days of skin maceration, as in the traditional ancient practice - "Ribollito". The work in the vineyard and in the cellar is inspired by principles of absolute naturalness and the influences of the lunar cycles. No artificial yeasts are used, no sulfur is added, and no filtering or fining. The wine ages in cement tanks before bottling.

Malvasia dello Scarparo Bianco
The "Scarparo", or the Cobbler/Shoemaker of Terzo la Pieve owned this small vineyard of Malvasia Bianca for almost ten years in complete abandonment. The Mattioli family have recovered the vines, cutting the brambles and giving them a defined structure to lean on. 100% Malvasia from 70 year old vines. Spontaneous fermentation with 3 days skin maceration. Aged in stainless steel. No added sulfur and no filtering or fining.

Il Rosato 2018
The Mattioli’s rosato is made from all Ciliegiolo, direct press. Spontaneous fermentation without temperature control.. Aged in cement tanks with two rackings, one in December and one at the end of February following the waning moon. until bottling in the Spring. No added sulfur and no filtering or fining.

Vino Rosso da Tavola 2018
The Mattioli’s beloved red “table wine”, made from 100% Sangiovese with 6 to 8 days skin maceration. Spontaneous fermentation without temperature control. Aged in cement/stainless/fiberglass until bottling. No added sulfur and no filtering or fining.

Le Cese 2018
Red wine made from Sangiovese vines grown in the hills and grown on trellises as typical in the Umbrian peasant tradition. Spontaneous fermentation occurs without temperature control, with 8 days maceration on the skins. The wine is aged in either cement/fiberglass/stainless steel. No sulfur is added and there is no filtering or fining.

Il Selezione Le Cese 2015
One of the Mattioli’s most precious wines, the Selezione Le Cese is 100% Sangiovese from fruit selected and separated only in the very best vintages (not produced every year). Spontaneous fermentation without temperature control, with 8 days skin maceration. Aged in a single old barrel. Age-worthy wine with no added sulfur and no filtering or fining. *Very limited

Click here to Order from Maine and Loire

Bud break back in spring of 2017

Here's a little video of tasting the Selezione Le Cese at Collecapretta in spring of 2019

From left to right: Danilo Marcucci, Annalisa Mattioli, Matt Mollo, Annalisa's father Vittorio Mattioli. Danilo grew up down the road and originally learned about wine making from Vittorio.

Cacique Maravilla Pipeno Litre Bottle
Saturday at 5pm I'm opening this litre bottle of Pipeno for a virtual happy hour. This is one of the wines i found in Chile last month. It's made by Manuel Moraga (pictured above). His family has been here on this land since 1776. Pipeno is a traditional rural style of wine that's fun and easy to drink and made from the native Pais grape. You can order it from Rosemont Market by emailing by Thursday evening. The Zoom link is below 

Cacique Maravilla Happy Hour

Op Ed Advocating for Commercial Rent Adjustments

No one has to do what I suggest and I write the below humbly, but I think this needs to be said publicly and I'm trying to do my part to move this conversation forward:

We are now one month into this pandemic and the associated restaurant shut down. I am a distributor of international wines as well as a commercial property owner, therefore I am right in the middle of the impact. The past month feels like a long time, and we’ve certainly moved through several emotional stages processing it, but there are still some hard truths that we haven’t faced yet. A big one, from my perspective, is the hard truth that restaurants will not be able to return to normal operation for a long time which means landlords will not be able to collect full rent while restaurants are impacted by this pandemic. The sooner that landlords and restaurant tenants face this reality of extended revenue losses and agree to lease modifications, the less pain both parties will face down the road. 

The food scene in Maine (and particularly in Portland), has gained national attention. Portland is rising in value and esteem and Maine is continually growing as an international tourist destination. Our local restaurants play an invaluable role in driving these growths and are a big reason why Portland area property has risen so much in value. The shutdown has made dining rooms worthless, in a time when many restaurants were already stretching their budgets to afford them. Landlords attempting to hold restaurant tenants to their full lease payments risk killing the goose that lays the golden eggs; both immediately for the landlord but also for Portland and Maine as a destination. As an investor looking for an additional commercial property I know from personal experience how much stress goes into managing commercial buildings. The rent doesn't just go into the land lord's pocket, it goes to covering the mortgage, taxes, maintenance, and insurance. Just as it’s not realistic for a restaurant owner to pay top dollar rents for a space they can’t use, not all landlords are in a position to forego all rent over a period that could last a year.

In all of this uncertainty, it is important to focus on what we do know. We know that there are thousands of people in Maine who love food and are willing to spend money on an exciting, curated dining experience. They were doing that just a month ago. We also know that millions more people will likely drive to Maine in their own cars and stay in In our towns and cities this summer. Summer visitors will be eager to spend money on good food as a way to relax. It’s possible for restaurants to pivot and meet that demand, but building a new website, expanding or creating a delivery service, and reorganizing a kitchen to maintain personal distance take money and time. Restaurants have almost nothing certain they can count on right now.  

Right now it’s very possible that a large number of Maine restaurants will go out of business and leave landlords trying to fill an empty retail space in the middle of a pandemic and 15% unemployment. Empty storefronts and higher unemployment rates could be the downfall of a city that has spent the last decade growing as a nationally-recognized restaurant hotspot. I’m asking landlords to modify restaurant leases to give meaningful rent reductions in the realm of at least 50% for 6 months. 6 months of 50% rent is a sacrifice for a landlord, but growing up my mother taught me that half of a cookie is better than no cookie. Many landlords have been accommodating already, but formalizing an agreement on paper will take the rent stress off of restaurateurs so that they can focus on their business challenges. This will give restaurateurs breathing room to adapt their business models, survive this shutdown, and keep Portland vibrant.  

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Visiting Manuel Moraga Cacique Maravilla

After lunch with Mauricio Gonzalez Matt and I went over to visit Manuel Moraga with our new friend Patrick as a guide.  We made the short drive to Cacique Maravilla and Manuel was in the driveway to meet us.  People had told me he also had a very memorable mustache, so I had no problem picking him out.  Manuel looks like an exceptionally solid guy.  He just always seemed to have a wide and confident stance, like he was always expecting someone to try to push him over.  Maybe he was, he had a very affectionate 100+ pound pitbull with a head larger than mine who was always running into one of us!


I don't think Manuel actually knew who we were, without really waiting for introductions he just launched into a tour of his winery, talking about his tanks, how everything is gravity feed, he has a huge old rauli wood tank, there's a piece of the previous winery's wall left like a shrine at one end of the building, and the roof is made of local wood.  

The winery had clearly been built in several stages, with additions added as production had ramped up.  We walked out the back door and saw another concrete slab where a new store room and office were being added.


I didn't realize until later that the winery had been totally destroyed in the earth quake of 2010.   The disaster had apparently broken his father and Manuel had had the winery (totally demolished) dumped in his lap.   The past 10 years have been a non stop journey of learning and rebuilding at the same time.  Manuel rebuilt the winery in stages so that he could grow his work space as he grew his volume.  He's still not back up to the volume of wine they were producing pre earth quake, but this is a different world and Manuel isn't done yet!

Manuel's great, great, great, great grandfather came over from the Canary Islands in 1750 and ended up buying land here in Yumbel in Bio Bio.  The vineyards have been planted, re-planted, and expanded over the years, but still it's important to note that his family has been here on this land since 1776.  Manuel has a lot of inherited experience as well as passion and responsibility.  His 16 ha of vineyards has a lot of Pais, but also Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Moscatel, Semillon, and Corinto.  


The vineyards are up on a ridge about 10K from the Pacific.  There's a pretty constant wind blowing across from the ocean that helps keep the vines healthy and cool.  

Manuel makes a Pipeno wine in a litre bottle but he also makes a range of other exciting wines that are very much his own expressions.  Even the Pipeno is his own reflection!  It's fun and accessible, but it's also serious and has a lot of structure going on underneath.  

After walking the vineyards we went back to his cottage to taste wines.  Manuel's cottage was surround by gardens so we ate tomatoes and chilies he'd grown and he regaled us with all kinds of stories.  Manuel comes across as a larger than life extroverted character, but he walks the walk as a wine maker and farmer.  His wines, particularly the Pais and the whites are really fun pure and playful. 

20200310_190322Manuel pouring Pisco he made and telling a story.  Anyone who's met him will recognize this pose!  This is his story telling pose!

Manuel seems to be really in love with the place he lives and farms.  He could have done all kinds of other things, in fact he was a forestry engineer until his father retired.  What he cares about is this land and the vines and the wine.   More than success or anything else I think he just loved the land he lived on.  After tasting several litre bottles of his Pipeno he made us go outside and take pictures of the sun set.  It was great; the sun set and hanging out with him.


It was a pretty crazy sunset.  Below it you can see Manuel's garden outside his back porch.  The man seriously loves growing things!

Virtual Wine Tasting Friday with Absentee Winery

Virtual Wine Tasting Friday with Absentee Winery

The most exciting CA winery I've found in....a long time

Absentee is the most exciting and important winery I've picked up in the last 12 months. When was the last time I wrote an email like this about a California winery?! California occupies a huge place in the worlds cultural consciousness. Say California to someone and they immediately think of wide open spaces, rebels without causes, confidant people doing things their own way, Hollywood and wine country. Reality though is that the vast majority of CA wine is made industrially by guys in suites following a technical blue print. Avi Deixler at Absentee is the opposite of that. He uses, no additives, no sulfur even just to clean barrels instead using alcohol he distills himself. Avi makes his wines with passion, hard work, and intuition; they're the truest expressions of California that I've ever tasted. According to the main stream wine establishment these wines shouldn't even be possible to exist. But they do and they're gorgeous.

Virtual Wine Tasting Friday the 17th at 5pm
order the wines from Maine and Loire this week,
then taste with Avi online

Zoom Tasting with Avi Sign Up

Maine and Loire has 4 of Avi's wines available. Scroll down for notes on them.

XXP $29
Flaws $39
Balou $32
Elephant $32

Order Absentee from Maine and Loire

Named Absentee because of his no additive wine making, Absentee is a relatively new winery. Avi Deixler's first vintage was in 2016 when he made a small run of wine in rented space at another winery before moving into his own winery in 2017. And by winery I mean an old dairy barn that had been empty for I don't know how long before he fought and convinced the planning board to allow him to open his artisan winery in it. Avi is in fact the only winery in Marin county and the town was really skeptical of him. But Avi grew up in the area and in the end he got permission to set up shop. 

Prior to starting Absentee Avi had worked with Baptiste Cousin in Anjou, John Schmitt in Corbières, Domaine des Gandines in the Mâconnais, and then finally Tony Coturri. If you don't already know, Coturri is a legend and trail blazer of hand made real wines in CA. Avi is of trying to make delicious and expressive and honest wines with zero additives and no thought to altering how he works to chase any trends or be hip. It's very non-commercial, which is sort of un-Californian! But at the same time these wines are so honest and expressive, big and loud, lush and confident that they're very very honestly Californian!

Avi seems to just like doing everything himself. He actually takes cast off barrels from big wineries and uses an angle grinder to laboriously grind out the insides so that any residue from the previous wine making is gone. This means the fresh wood that is exposed to the wine also hasn't been toasted by a barrel maker over a fire and don't give the flavors we associate with oak. Unusually, these raw oak barrels are pretty much the only vessels that he uses for all his wine making and aging. These are some of the most honest and confident California wines I've ever had and I'm overjoyed to work with them. 

Ingredients: Grapes

Flaws 2018

So named because Avi says that "flaws" is the American translation of the French word "terroir". It's a joke meaning that most wine making in CA is sanitized to the point that they don't taste like where they come from.  

This is made from a grape called Arbourieu. It's one of those old traditional grapes that was imported from Europe and grown in CA 70-80 years ago when farmers were making wine. Most of it has been ripped up to plant Cabernet and Chardonnay now, but there's still a bit at the multi generational Poor family vineyard in Mendocino. Flaws is a big lovable juicy expressive red with a long finish but tannins that are pretty easy going.  


100% Grenache! This is a bit of a lighter red in comparison to Avi's Syrahs and it has such a fun bouncy positive personality! On the one had this is a juicy fresh easy to enjoy wine (like pop music). On the other hand it has great balance and interesting underlying flavors that you start to pick up on. To make a music analogy it would have to be to some of Grimes best work: it's catchy and infectious, but then you realize she did all the production and recording her self and you're blown away by the hidden complexity. It's a fun juicy, vivid, raspberry flavored red that keeps drawing you back in with an intriguing zesty pepper and spice.


Balou hits you with bright sunny blackberry fruit right off, but then the mid-palate turns all dark and spicy. This is a red with serious presence. It has this delicious black cherry fruit going on so you think you're drinking a fun gregarious red but this wine lingggggeerrrsssss. This is a very serious wine masquerading as a party animal.  


Oooh wow, sit down and enjoy the ride with this Syrah. That label is perfect; this wine is big as an elephant, but with unbelievable balance and delicacy.  

There's black raspberry and cooked blueberry, like in a pie. But also...aromatic herbs, wintergreen; this is a deep dark twisting turning experience of Syrah. It's fantastic and utterly spell binding to drink and experience.

Maine and Loire is doing a virtual wine tasting with Avi this Friday the 17th! You can pick up any of these wines at Maine and Loire over the course of the week. Then tune into Zoom meeting a 5 pm on Friday to meet Avi and taste the wines as he talks about his life making natural wines

Copyright © 2020 Devenish Wines, All rights reserved.

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Devenish Wines
PO Box 11210
Portland, ME 04104

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