Incredible wines from Julien Pinon in Vouvray

Holiday Wines from Devenish

Holiday Wines from Devenish

Delicious, Fun, and Rare!

Beautiful and Special Wines for Any Celebration!

I’ve been thinking about this selection of wines, adding and cutting, for weeks now. These are some of the most special and delicious wines that I had over this entire past year! These wines here share a theme: I feel they balance uniqueness, with excellent quality, as well as providing good value all at the same time. They’re wines you could enjoy at home with a significant other, or take to a party and wow the other guests with the wine is as well as it’s unique back story. These are the wines I’m excited to celebrate with over this Christmas! I’m even excited just to have the opportunity to taste them again as I work on this email!

Ovum Off the Grid Riesling 2021
Approximately $30
350 cases made. Find this at Bow St Beverage in Wells and Riverside Butcher in Damariscotta
This was so exciting to drink and immediately struck me as both a quintessential Ovum wine and a classically great expression of Oregon Riesling. John and Ksenija hand harvest this fruit from the southernmost vineyard in Oregon, down in the Illinois vineyard on the California border. Alluvial galets stud the silty, sandy soil that is riddled with serpentine. High in nickel and magnesium, serpentine creates a caustic environment where Riesling becomes concentrated, and usually high in tartaric acid. Farming practices are dry-farmed, sustainable, and working toward full organic. The wine ages in Acacia wood barrels (they commission the barrels for their production). High acidity provides scaffolding and structure, and the 9gL of residual sugar is barely noticeable but rounds out and balances the acidity. 350 cases produced.
Aroma: wow! This is beautiful and is clearly identifiable as an Oregon Riesling! White rose, viburnum flowers, perfectly ripe pear, yellow peach, a little hint of sweet pine sap, and a hint of fresh oregano. The aroma has this beautiful ripe fruit and lovely floral component as well as a touch of balancing aromatic spice.
Taste: rich fruit and texture with a fun little bit of ginger! Ripe apple and cooked pear up front followed by delicious rich baked apple flavors and a hint of cinnamon but the wine has nice acidity that keeps it fun and bright and playful. It tastes like this is relatively low alcohol. If I had to guess I would think maybe 12%? But it has that lush ripe gorgeous Riesling fruit and spice and structure. It's just so gentle and has the perfect weight. There's a little bit of pineapple in the back and all the way on the finish there's a little bit of a beautiful sunny peach and a hint of white roses

Vignoble Dinocheau Touraine Brut Les Arcis NV
Approximately $25
Find this at Vessel & Vine, The Cheese Shop of Portland, Table Bar, Lorne, Cork and Rind, South Freeport Market, Vic and Whit’s, and Now You’re Cooking
We visited Laurence back in June and it was so cool to see what she’s done. She left a job working in art transport with the Louvre to take over he father’s little winery when he had to retire suddenly. Let’s just say it wasn’t in great shape and she had a massive amount of cleaning and pruning and work to rebuild. She did it and learned on the job! She’s adopted organics and has made big strides. This is her first real release of a sparkling wine. It’s Chenin Blanc from a tiny 1 acre vineyard named “Les Arcis”. She ages the wine on the lees for an extended period before disgorging.
Aroma: beautiful gentle ripe Anjou pear, a little bit of hay, gentle white rose, a hint of wildflower honey. It's beautiful and elegant but gentle. The perfume and aromatics are lovely but not in your face
Taste: beautiful full fresh apple up front. To be clear it’s a clean fresh apple flavor, not the taste of cider. Then a hint of toast, a touch of ripe pear, and a little bit of quince. The bubbles are very fine and gentle and sort of envelop your palate, but they’re intense as well. The fruit gets a little richer and adds more peach and fresh orange. It’s a dry wine, but not too sharp, not acidity driven. The wine is delicious and easy to drink, driven by the lovely fruit and fine persistent bubbles. The finish gets a bit leaner and drier and has a lingering crisp green apple. This is a sparkling wine with refinement and poise, but it’s not as sharp or driving as many Champagnes. It will work well with all kinds of foods thanks to it’s intense small bubbles; it’s perfect for almost any occasion.

Inconnu No Gods No Masters Cabernet Sauvignon
Approximately $38
Find this at Bow St Wells, Best Wines in Hancock, The Alna Store, and Friends and Family
This is a serious classic CA Cabernet that drinks way better than it’s price! Laura Brennan Bissel makes No Gods No Masters from 3 separate small vineyard sites in Napa and Sonoma. One site has gravelly loam soil, another river rock, and the third sedimentary clay. Each has a different character that adds to the whole. Some of the vines are 80 years old and that also must contribute to the complexity of the flavors. This was hand harvested and fermented with native yeast in open top vats, then aged for 2 years in neutral oak barrels. I am shocked at how ripe this tastes… but with 13% alcohol and tannins that are gentle. I don’t know how Laura pulled off classic blackberry, blueberry, currant, and graphite Cali Cab with out big alcohol/body/tannin; it’s magic.
Aroma: dark currant and blueberry; like blueberry and blackberry jam! Don't get me wrong, it smells bright and dynamic but the fruit flavors smell like dark blue fruit, tightly wound. Little bit of currant, a little bit of graphite, definitely classic Cabernet Sauvignon profile. Wow this smells great. I just don't run into wines like this that often. The aroma smells tightly focused and lovely; deep and fresh at the same time.
Taste: Vivid concentrated black raspberry and a little bit of blueberry, then some currant followed by more concentrated raspberry and raspberry jam, but there's good acidity and the wine isn't heavy. It's concentrated and vivid and lush but just.... not heavy. I'm really so impressed. This is finally structured and tightly wound but it's also so pretty and uplifting and drinkable. How is this possible? I don't think I've ever had these flavors of concentration without corresponding weight and alcohol. This is totally unique. It's like cooked raspberry or boysenberry on the mid palate. It has really fine tannins that are there and textural but not aggressive at all. Just Wow!

Roccheviberti Nebbiolo di Langhe 2021
Approximately $35 per bottle
Find this at Vessel and Vine, Maine and Loire, Folk, Bow St Wells, Perks Beer and Beverage, and the Blue Hill Wine Shop
Here’s another excellent value! Claudio Viberti’s Barolos are fantastic and poised and powerful…. and priced that way. His Nebbiolo that comes from a vineyard in the same town, Rocche di Castiglione is also fantastic and poised and powerful and romantic tasting…. but for less than 1 third the cost of the Barolos. We only have 6 cases though
Aroma: warm rich deep red cherry, some ripe raspberry, and a little bit of red currant. It smells a tiny bit like raspberry jam but also a lovely pretty sort of smell like raw beeswax. It smells so friendly and comfortable and warming! There's a tiny little hint of some kind of aromatic spice like pink peppercorns
Taste: juicy and rich with concentrated, a touch of pomegranate, and a little hint of ginger followed up with a rich mid palate and then some firm but finally textured tannins. It's got a nice bright uplifting Nebbiolo acidity at the front and some nicely integrated subtle salt on the mid palate that reinforces that warm comfortable comforting personality. The finish has some black pepper but then also some lovely elegant fresh raspberry flavors that linger

Les Lunes Searby Vineyard Chardonnay 2022
Approximately $25
Find this at The Cheese Shop of Portland, Night Moves, 44 North on Deer Isle, John Edwards in Ellsworth, and Maine and Loire
California Chardonnay that wows everyone from Chardonnay lover to Chardonnay skeptic! I’ve become such a big fan of Shaunt and Diego’s wines since I first tasted them last February. That first day opening the sample bottles with no expectations I was shocked by how good they were but also how good the prices were!
Chardonnay with all grapes from the historic Searby vineyard in the Sonoma Coast AVA. Shaunt and Diego are so excited that they managed to lease this vineyard starting in this vineyard. It has nearly 50 year old vines that have been farmed organically and with no till or irrigation. The vineyard has a passive drainage system that was engineered and installed by the WPA during the Great Depression. The soil is decayed loose sandstone that has turned into a sort of sandy loam. The site is surrounded by second growth redwood trees that help provide shade and keep the vineyard cool. I am kicking myself for not ordering more of this! The juice settled overnight and fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged in a combination of stainless and HDPE tanks with zero oak aging to preserve freshness and fruit character. After 7 months, the wine was racked for bottling and 18 ppm sulfur was added. They made 443 cases
Aroma: bright vibrant Valencia orange: tart and crisp smelling. A little zesty, there's a hint of creaminess, like lemon meringue or a delicate flan. Maybe this went through malolactic or partial malolactic? That lovely fresh orange is the dominant aroma but there's a little hint of lusciousness and a softness to it. It's a lovely balance
Taste: this is delicious! It's so bright and poised! It has some depth and a hint of caramelized fruit. Makes me think of oranges that have been gently cooked and candied. It has these lovely fresh orange flavors that are crisp at the onset and hang on across the palate progression of the wine; progressively these deeper more textural components come in on the mid palate. It gets creamy like a gentle orange creamsicle flavor. The finish is still fruity but gets a little bit more savory - almost more like a gentle dry cooked peach. This is really lovely and so well balanced. 12. 5% alcohol California Chardonnay: hooray!

Eric Texier St. Julien en St. Alban Vieille Serine 2017
Approximately $38 per bottle
Find this at Browne Trading, Table Bar, and the Alna Store
This comes from 70 year old Serine vines. Serine is an old heritage grape variety grown in the northern Rhone that is either a forerunner of modern Syrah, or maybe genetically a different grape; the jury is still out. It's a grape that used to be dominant here before we learned to genetically analyze grape vines and started planting standardized uniform clones of grape varieties. The grapes are hand harvested and the whole clusters spend one week macerating. Then it is pressed off and finishes fermentation in concrete before aging in 2500L wood. It’s powerful and sunny, lush, but high toned and playful as well. This is effectively Eric Texiers flagship and does all the things a classic Beautiful Northern Rhone Syrah should.
Aroma: deep juicy plush and expressive blackberry and black cherry! It smells so deep and seductive! Grapy… like grape soda grapy; it's exuberant and vivid in a way that I'm not sure I've ever smelled before. It smells a tiny bit like wood smoke, it also smells slightly like burnt fruit: like you simmered a bunch of raspberries on the stove and they cooked down until they just started to burn. It does also smell tart! Like vivid bright fresh cherries! The seductive perfume of red roses! It's an intense, layered, and beautiful aroma
Taste: juicy, racy, lots of vivid fruit': raspberry, cherry, and blueberry. There's a real vivid aromatic high toned quality that makes me think of blueberries. It has density on the palate and fills my mouth with concentrated raspberry and black raspberry but I wouldn't call it heavy. It has bright acidity that engages your palate. It's sunny but not soft: tightly wound and structured. There's blue fruit in the finish and some dry sunny rosemary worked in there. The tannins are there and kind of textural but they actually fade away before the finish and really leave the elegant raspberry as the final experience

Domaine de Chevalerie 2015 Galichets
Approximately $33 per bottle
Find this at Bow St Market in Freeport, the Weatherbird in Damariscotta, Juniper Kitchen, and the Pentagoet Inn
2015 Galichets straight from Chevalerie’s caves in the Loire! This is so beautiful and effortlessly lovely; like a cloud. All the components meld together into more than the sum of their parts. It was a good demonstration of how special Chevalerie is; the wine isn’t super complicated but it has a balance and finesse that I hardly ever experience. It’s so seamless that you just enjoy it and the wine makes it all seem easy. This is a delicious bottle of wine that will impress people that know nothing about wine but like big supple reds. It will also impress collectors and wine people who know how special this 15th generation family winery is.
Aroma: interesting combination of bright fresh fruit and dark woodsy aromas. Fresh raspberry, a little bit of cranberry, some plum, a gentle aroma of some kind of aromatic herb that's a little peppery - maybe along the lines of basil. But then also there's a dark brambly sort of aroma that makes me think of old wood, walnut oil, and a little old leather. The aromas are all really well integrated and it pretty clearly demonstrates what it is a lovely mature beautifully integrated serious red wine
Taste: fresh raspberry, some red currant, cranberry, a little boysenberry? Juicy friendly playful red fruit with energetic acidity followed by some tasty salinity and a lovely supple texture. Black pepper and some black currant slides in followed up by some vivid black raspberry on the finish with perfectly weighted mature and gentle tannin. This is what I love about these wines: the flavors are beautifully integrated and balanced. It's complex but really works so well together and is more than some of those parts. This is lighter and I’d try to pair with food that wouldn’t detract from how beautiful and integrated it is.

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