The Best Wines for Thanksgiving!
Happy Thanksgiving! Below are the wines I'm most excited about and where to find them.
Yes, this is going to be a hard Thanksgiving (I'm having Zoom guests at dinner) but I am holding onto every little piece of normalcy and pleasure that I can! What can I even write here that's meaningful and unique? We're all feeling cut off and unsure of the future. We may be coping and processing the hardships differently but we're all struggling with the same basic circumstances. At least in that knowledge we know that everyone is missing seeing people they care about. Staying connected is a struggle, but it's a fight worth fighting. There's room for creativity though; small gestures and unexpected kindnesses can make huge impacts on people. When I do something nice for someone, even if it's just paying them an unexpected compliment, there's the added benefit that it keeps me from feeling powerless: win-win!
So thanks for reading! I appreciate all the support and interest in what I do. I sincerely wish you a good and safe Thanksgiving.
Ovum Off the Grid Riesling
As I described it before: the wine equivalent of listening to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody! The flavor starts of elegant and almost delicate before suddenly this explosion of fruit and salt rises up and just blows your socks off with the mid palate!! It has lovely ripe tropical fruit and then this long lingering beautiful finish drawn out by the salt. The aromatics are perfect classic dry but powerful Riesling: mango, apricot, lemon, with a bit of spice and petrol hiding in the background. It doesn't smell sweet, just very fruity also with a bit of spicy basil and ocean salt mixed in.
John and Ksenija House make Off The Grid from fruit grown at the Cedar ranch vineyard in the Illinois Valley in south west Oregon. The vineyard is hilly and a complex rocky alluvial soil that helps to concentrate the grapes flavors and minerality. Like all the wines this ferments with native yeast and ages in neutral wood barrels and concrete eggs. Normally this sells for around $28 but it was so good that I bought a whole lot to get the price down. You can find it at Meridians, Oak Hill Beverage, The Cheese Shop of Portland, RSVP, and Maine and Vine.
Made by Avi Deixler in an old dairy barn in Point Reyes CA these are some of the most exciting and delicious American wines I've tasted. Avi works mostly on his own with fruit he buys from an old organic family vineyard called the Poor family ranch. 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. It's a fruit forward and rustic red with strawberry, raspberry, and cherry flavors backed up with a little bit of spice that are perfect for Autumn Thanksgiving flavors. Available by special order
Estacion Yumbel Pipeño
This is a dangerous statement for me to make and I've never said this about any wine before, but I think that this is the best wine in the Deveish portfolio; at least if you take price into account.
Mauricio González Carreño makes his wines by hand on a small shed surrounded by his vineyards. His farming and wine making are very natural; it's a reaction to the industrial wine making he experienced at international wineries up around Santiago. He moved to BioBio (very rural southern Chile) because there are 200 year old vines, land is affordable, and he could farm with his family there in the vineyard with him.
This is an impressively delicious red wine. It's juicy and on the big and rich side, but it's just bursting with life and intensity! It's not too acidic, just enough. Also the tannin is just what you want, not too dry. There is lovely salty minerality in the mid palate; but I honestly can't really explain why this is so spellbinding! It's very well balanced, juicy, supple...maybe it's that it somehow is bright and uplifting with out being too tart and has no flaws even though it's zero sulfur. Regardless, it's a deliciously juicy energetic red that is exceptionally well made and that body and freshness and energy are exactly what I want with a big Thanksgiving meal of root vegetables, savory turkey, etc.
This Pipeno is available at Wine Wise in Scarborough, Craft Curbside in Gray, Sheepscot General Store, Meridians, and Maine and Loire
Laurent Saint Pourcain Rouge
One of my favorite wines of all time came back this year after a late frost completely wiped out their 2017 vintage. This is a Pinot Noir and Gamay blend from up in the eroded granite mountains of France's Massif Central. The Laurent family has been here for 6 generations farming over 25 acres broken up into nearly 30 separate vineyard sites.
Combining the elegance and poise of Pinot with the fruit and density of Gamay, this is a fantastic medium bodied red. It has dark blackberry and raspberry fruit, but nice acidity that makes the wine taste really lively. The Gamay turns just a bit dark and savory on the midpalate with a hint of smokiness. 2018 was a warm year and this is definitely a richer riper red than previous vintages, but it still has the balance and vibrant red fruits that I've always loved. It's a perfect versatile red for Thanksgiving.
You can find this perennial favorite at RSVP, Now You're Cooking, East Ender, Anju Noodle Bar, Best Wines, Bow St Beverage, Maine and Loire, Maine and Vine, Cocktail Mary, Meridians, Store Ampersand, Bow St in Freeport, Main St Meats, Novios, Alice and Lulu's, Sammy's Deluxe, East Ender, and Rayr in Rockport
Conestabile della Staffa Il Bucce
A new release from Danilo Marcucci, this is a gentle skin contact wine from grapes grown at his Conestabile della Staffa estate. So it's sort of an orange wine, but it's not as heavy, funky, or savory as the hard core oranges are.
Just to make it clear, this is a litre bottle!
This is equal parts Trebbiano, Malvasia, and Grechetto grown at Conestabile della Staffa in Umbria. Il Bucce means "the skin" in Italian and the juice spends 5 days with the grape skins in fiberglass tanks. This is lovely easy drinking orange wine that is clean and fresh and super sunny! Thing is that even though I preordered, I could only get 30 cases, most of which are now gone!
Aroma: ripe apples, wild, almost sweet smelling, and a hint of gingerbread
Taste: relaxed, but good acidity in there weaving the wine together. Medium bodied, smooth and supple, but then the mid palate gives you a good kick of salt and a spicy heat that lingers through the wine. Smooth and complex, a little bit appley...ready to drink now or through next spring. This is like adult lemonade!
Available at Wine Wise, Main St Meats, Aragosta, Maine and Loire, Solo Cucina, Sheepscot General Store, Portland Food Co-op, Unity Kitchen, Treats Wiscassett, Bow St Beverage, Hunt and Alpine, Ada's Kitcgen Portland, The Cheese Shop of Portland, and Oak Hill Beverage
Ceppaiolo Cepparosso 2019
We all know Danilo makes great wines, but this is a stand out even among all the stars he produces. This is from his Ceppaiolo winery: a winery (I use the term generously for this falling down shed) that I describe as Danilo's test kitchen. He only makes a few hundred cases per year here, but he does it to experiment and learn. This red is a blend of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Vernaccia Nera, and Nebbiolo di Gubbio from a hand full of rows out back of the shed/winery. This vintage is so balanced and elegant and beautiful, it really shocked me. This drinks like the most beautiful cru Beaujolais, think Fleurie and it's best, or like one of Arianna Occhipinti's Frappatos from Sicily. The fruit is raspberry, cherry, and some watermelon. It's so so elegant and supple and bouncing and alive! But it's not too acidic, it's very smooth and uplifting. I can't say enough how delicious this wine is.
You can find this at The Cheese Shop of Portland, Trillium Caterers, Portland Food Co-op, Maine and Loire, Solo Cucina, and More and Co in Yarmouth.
Cantina Pioppa Lambrusco di Modena
Cantina Pioppa is a small organic co-op outside Modena. This is 100% the Lambrusco Salamino variety. This is classic Juicy vivid Lambrusco that's dry and easy to drink. The bubbles are very small and more like a frothy bottle fermented beer than a bottle fermented wine. The bubbles do however make the wine more playful, engaging, and will reset your palate as you eat rich heavy food. Behind the black raspberry up front there's nice acid and a hint of dried fruit that makes this Lambrsco more autumnal and thoughtful..... and also makes this a slam dunk home run wine for turkey. The aroma is juicy exuberant blackberry and black cherry! It's that expressive jammy aroma Lambrusco is famous for.
You can find this at Bow St in Portland, Rosemont Cape Elizabeth, Cocktail Mary, Store Ampersand, and the Rising Tide Co-op
Here is a video of me rhapsodizing about the Ceppa Rosso
St Anne Cotes de Provence Rose
This is just fantastic. St Anne is a legendary Bandol producer and this summer was the first time I ever got my hands on their Provence rose. It smells like the summer ocean: briney and warm and ripe. It smelled sort of like apple pie, but without any of the spices: just baked apple. On the palate it was very serious and very delicious all at once. It tasted briney and peachy but not too fruity, this is old school classic savory totally dry rose that is complex and layered. It's a whole other world from the light acidity dominated rosés that dominate the market now. This is intentionally aged 18-24 months to let the wine come together and evolve instead of rushing it to market as we all yell for fresh rosé each spring.
St Anne has been at the front of Natural wine making for longer than I've been alive. Françoise Dutheil was a founding member of the Associations Vins Naturels (AVN) back in the 70s. These wines always make me stop and take notice. I absolutely love this and as a deep full bodied complex rose I had to include it here..... but I only have 4 cases.
The only store that has it is Maine and Loire
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