Wine Tasting at Terlingua and Dinner at Chaval!
Here comes Wine Week!
This coming week is Portland Maine Wine Week and I'm hosting a pair of events!
Tuesday the 15th at 2pm I'm hosting a traditional Chilean lunch (Almuerzo) with Justin at Terlingua. Southern Chile was the last place I visited before the start of the pandemic and I'm excited that one of my first public events in the past year and a half will center around the wine makers I met.
This is just $50 per person!
Sunday the 20th, to close out wine week, I'm hosting a Spanish dinner at Chaval. There will be no Rioja. There will be no Ribera del Duero. There will be no Cava. This dinner is build around wine regions and grape varieties that are extremely unknown but that I've fallen in love with in the past year and that I think really deserve attention. It's going to be really fun and it's $77 per person!
Here's the line up for the Chaval dinner
At Terlingua we'll be pouring magnums of Corinto Super Estrella from Roberto Henriquez!
Some of My Favorite Wines:
Eric Texier Adele Cotes du Rhone Blanc
In a world of white wines that's tyrannized by Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc; this sunny vibrant joyful white is surprising and so satisfying! Eric makes his white Cotes du Rhone from Clairette and Marsanne grapes grown on decayed granite hill sides. Eric sorts the grapes in the vineyard, presses them in an old wood basket press as soon as they arrive in the winery, and then ferments this in cement tanks and ages it on the lees.
Aroma: wow! Creme Brulee, honey, candied orange peel honey suckle; this smells rich and sunny and like some sort of exotic fruit that has just been cut open! In fact it smells somewhat like the cantaloupe I just grilled on a wood fire.
Taste: fresh orangey fruit right up front, but then the mid palate gets this deep rich textural cooked orange and salt. The finish evolves to add a dried apricot flavor and some passion fruit. It has a meaty fruit flesh quality but it's relatively low in alcohol and that keeps it from ever seeming heavy. The finish fades away surprisingly delicately after that big mid palate.
I'm so in love with this wine and this is the best vintage I've tasted of it. You can find in the low $20s at Maine and Loire, Treats, Meridians, OhNo Cafe, and Lily's House Cafe.
Vino di Anna Palmentino Etna Rosso
The Etna wines of Anna Martens and Eric Narioo are a new addition to the Devenish portfolio, but I've been following them for several years. They were bewitched by Etna and started their small wine project on Etna's north slope of back in 2008. Anna and Eric were already a professional wine makers plus Eric owned wine import company in England, so from the outset it was passion for this wild volcano that was guiding their decisions. Over the past decade they've really honed their skill at expressing the sometimes elegant, sometimes firey Nerello Mascalese grape. Palmentino is basically their house red. It's 90% Nerello Mascalese, a little Nerello Cappuccio, a touch of Grenahe, and a bit of white grapes (mostly Cataratto) because most old vineyards on Etna are field blends along these lines. The grapes come from 50-100 year old vines in various plots they farm. Fermentation is all with natural yeast, but 50% of the grapes were fermented in a traditional Palmento for 5 days (a large shallow stone trough where the grapes can be foot trodden), 30% fermented in Georgian Qvevri, and 20% fermented in a single large old oak botte (cask).
Aroma: wild raspberry, red cherry, some pomegranate, and sweet stewed tomato. It's a savory meaty aroma that's heady and pretty at the same time. It's clearly wild but it's not Too Much and works brilliantly! There's a bit of oregano and bacon in the back ground of the aroma too.
Taste: medium bodied- nice combination of strawberry, red cherry and some black pepper right up front. There's a hint of black olive and some lovely deep red blood orange on the mid palate. The finish gets more savory in a dark volcanic way... it has just the right balance of relaxed tannins and salt that lingers on beyond the tannin. Gorgeously salty and with this beautiful vivid raspberry flavor that comes in after the tannin fades. This is excellent; it's raw but clearly Mount Etna and clearly Nerello Mascalese. It has the dark texture of Etna but without too much heat or tannin. Roses and fire and salty sweet tomato and Sicilian blood oranges: what else would you ever need in a wine!? You can find the Palmentino for about or just under $30 at Meridians, the Portland Cheese Shop, Maine St Meats, Lily's House, Solo Cucina, Maine and Loire, and Monte's Fine Foods.
Cellario Il Baffone
Il Baffone is a blend of Nascetta and Moscato. Nascetta is a local blending grape with thicker skins and Moscato is... Moscato. Fausto lets the wine ferment on it's skins in stainless steel tanks for about 5 days before he transfers it off the skins and lets it ferment dry. Then he adds the juice from late harvested dried grapes as he bottles the wine. This provides the sugar for the fermentation in the bottle. It's unfiltered, not disgorged, and 0 sulfur added. This is deliciously thirst quenching spring wine!
Aroma: lemon, pear, kiwi, honey suckle, apple blossoms.... This is so pretty and fresh smelling! It has some Moscato in it and that comes across in the lovely perfumed sort of nature of the aroma, but Fausto is a deft hand at keeping Moscato fun and uplifting. I generally don't like Moscato, but I always love how Fausto uses it as a building block in his white wines. This is a beautiful beguiling aroma that promises fun!
Taste: clean, refreshing pear and light pineapple fruit at first. It's super refreshing and the bubbles are very fine and just prickly really. But whew, on the mid palate it has a broader taste of dry orange with a tasty touch of salt that gives the wine more pizzazz. On the finish there's this taste of orange juice pulp that's meaty but elegant at the same time! This is a thirst quenching fun uplifting white. It has some savory meaty flavors from the skin contact but it's never actually heavy or rough; lovely!
45 cases is all I could get for the year but you can find it for about $20 at Liquor Locker, Vessel and Vine, Main St Market Rockland, Solo Cucina, Monte's Fine Foods, Maine and Loire, John Edwards, Milk and Honey, Bow St Beverage, Ada's Kitchen, and the Portland Cheese Shop.
Oyster River Chardonnay
Oyster River Just released their 2020 Chardonnay and I drove up same day to grab a pallet! Unfortunately that was all they could spare for me and in the time it's taken me to write this email most of the wine has already sold. Brian and I opened a bottle and made a short video talking about this vintage. It's at the bottom of this email.
In previous years Brian has fermented all the fruit together but this year he's separated into three different parts so that he could do two days of skin contact on one but then have the other two be direct press; 1/3 into tank and 1/3 into used oak barrels. Then he blended all of it back together when he thought it was ready and in the proportions that he wanted. The other big difference from last year is that the grapes were harvested a little earlier for more brightness and acidity. I really think it's the best vintage yet. It's cleaner, fresher, and has a nice orangey flavor
Medium-bodied, nice and fresh and citrusy. There's an orangey sort of orange juice Aroma and the taste of sordid medium navel orange to it. It's uplifting and a bit cleaner and brighter then last year's vintage. The lower alcohol helps the wine come across so bright and fresh without actually having sharp acidity. The Oyster River Chardonnay is available for just over $20 at Union Kitchen, Bier Cellar in Gorham, Browne Trading, LeRoux Kitchen, Solo Cucina, Maine and Loire, John Edwards, Bier Cellar Portland, Oak Hill, Portland Cheese Shop, Rising Tide Natural Foods, Bow St Beverage, Wolf Peach in Camden, Belfast Co-op, Blue Hill Co-op, Wind and Wine, Maine St Meats, Bath Natural Foods, Royal River Natural Foods, Bath Natural Market, Good Tern Co-op, Riverside Butcher, Rayr, and Treats.
Here's a video of Brian and I discussing how he made this year's Oyster River Chardonnay. As you'll hear he definitely made some important changes to how he works!
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