Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Line-up of wines from Zev Rovine, presented at Rosemont Market Cellar!
I recently had the opportunity to taste some exciting, unique and cutting edge wines, alive with character and multiplicity.  These are the Wines of Zev Rovine. Based in Brooklyn, NY but also spending an equal amount of time in Paris, he is committed to representing wines that express a strong sense of place or terroir, created by winemakers who practice a completely hands-on approach in the vineyard, far from any sort of industrialization and with usually very small production/low yields. He represents wines that are produced in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Argentina, and the US.    His selections have found an harmonious partnership here in Maine with Devenish Wines and Rosemont Market, to be sure! This particular evening we were privy to some of these wines, along with a glimpse at Rosemont's Cellar ... "Les Cave Domaine du Rosemont" peut-être?

Zev Rovine & Ned Swain (Devenish) w/tasters @Rosemont
Strongly aligned with the Natural Wine movement with his vins naturels, Zev prefaced our tasting by saying that these wines are just wine - nothing added.  No sulphur (preservative), no yeast (only that produced naturally), no sugar, additives, fillers or stabilizers, no fining or filtration.  Emphasis is on winemaking in the vineyard rather than the winery and on creating a diverse and harmonious ecology in which grapes can grow - no chemicals or pesticides.  Some of you may find this a no doubt radical approach ... I say taste these wines with a curious and open mind and allow your senses and taste buds to be moved in unexpected, even mercurial ways! 

Jean Pierre Robinot Bistrologie Chenin Blanc 2010
Let's get to the wines.  

Jean Pierre Robinot 
Les Vignes de l'Anges 2010
Vin cuvee' Bistrologie 
Loire Valley, France

100% Chenin Blanc.  This wine was made from 90 year old vines. With oxidized/crystalized tropical fruit on the palate, crisp acidity and underlying earthiness, this was clean and youthful. High strung, with a fair amount of vibrant tension, this one was great for opening up the palate. However I am advised, that this one is beautifully suited to aging! $25.99/btl.   Robinot makes wines in the heart of the Loire Valley in France and center of the natural wine movement.  Again, he uses organic, hand-harvested grapes without industrially manufactured yeasts, additives or sulphur dioxide.   We also tasted his pineau d'aunis toward the end of the evening, which was vibrant, an absolute delight and in that moment, defied classification.  I love his name for the wines, "Les Vignes de l'Anges", Vines of the Angels!

Domaine la Roche Buissière
Petit Jo 2011
Cotes du Rhone, France

100% Grenache.  Ruby red garnet in color, this was earthy, pungeant forest floor and a touch of barnyard on the nose. Untamed and lively with pepper, spice box and dark cherry on the palate.  While lighter to medium in weight, this had plenty of depth and funk, but on the cool with a dry finish.  Vivacious value @$14.99/btl.  La Roche Buissière is situated near Vaison-la-Romaine, in the southern part of Côtes-du-Rhône. They've been practicing organic farming since 1975.

Serious tasters ...
Azienda Agricola Cirelli
Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2010
Abruzzi, Italy

100% Montepulciano.  Deep dark magenta in color, I immediately sensed "Italy" on the nose, with that dusty scent of earth.  A soft mouthfeel and round fruit follow.  Hints of tobacco and light smoke weave their way through. Another great value @ $14.99/btl.  

Located near the Adriatic Sea in the town of Abruzzi, Agricola Cirelli is a certified organic farm, home not only to the vineyard but also also olive trees, other horticultural crops and farm animals, as well as woods and National parks.  Rotation of crops allows land to rest and fertilization takes place as a result of the free ranging animals.  An ancient variety of the Montepulciano grape is harvested during the 2nd or 3rd week in October when the grape is fully ripe.  

Domaine Benjamin Taillandier
Minervois "Bufentis" 2010
Languedoc-Roussilon, France

80% Syrah, w/Grenache and Cinsault.  This was one of my favorites of the evening!  At first delicate on the nose ... then lively deep, unctuous fruit emerge, such as deep, dark plum - earthy, tannic and initially dry, even rustic.  As the evening progresses I revisit, finding the syrah coming through with characteristic silkiness, complexity and depth.  Speaking of the mercurial/evolving nature of these wines, this one speaks leagues.  $22.99/btl.  I'm bringing this to a family holiday celebration!

John Naylor/Rosemont w/Ned & tasters
Benjamin Taillandier is a young winemaker who established his domaine in 2007.  He grows organic grapes making wine without added yeasts or filters and only a little sulfites. He uses only grape varietals from the Languedoc:  Syrah, Grenache noir, Carignan, Cinsault and Terret gris.  As he puts it, he wants to make accessible wines "with a lot of French in the mouth".  Bien sure!

Cornelissen Rosso del Contadino No. 9

Frank Cornelissen 2011
Rosso del Contadino No. 9
Sicily, Italy

Field blend:  Nerello Mascalese w/25% local red varietals - Allicante, Minella Nera, Uva Francese, Nerello Capuccio & 5% Inzolia

Here was another favorite of the evening. This wine is made from grapes grown on high altitude/terraced 60-110 year old vines on a still active volcano on Mt. Etna, Sicily.  Hard rock and black sand is the growing medium.  A dynamic polyculture surrounds the vineyard.  
Dark sienna garnet red in color, flavors of deep bing cherry greet the palate.  Sherry-like notes emerge. Later layers of cedar and incense follow ....  mysterious, inexplicable, amorous ... delicious.  $25.99/btl  

The Muniebel Rosso No. 8 was a complete surprise.  Light earthy red in color, with suggestions of stewed red cabbage on the palate creating an integration of sweet/sour.  Hints of white/black pepper.  Tannic dusty finish.  Eccentric.  Untamed.  $42.99/btl.

Frank Cornelissen takes an even more radical approach to growing and winemaking in as he says, "avoiding all possible interventions on the land we cultivate, including any treatments, whether chemical, organic, biodynamic, as these are all a mere reflection of the inability of man to accept nature as she is and will be".   His products are, "the result of this philosophy and our hands, with team." 

The wines of Zev Rovine are the antithesis of static or constant.  Rather they are alive and vital - not complacent, ever-evolving.  And how could I forget? These are meant to be enjoyed with food! For starters try Rosemont's homemade sausage (turkish or duck perhaps?) with sauteed garlic & onions, mushroom risotto and braised greens along with my favorite Taillandier Minervois "Bufentis"!  Parfait!

Joe Appel - Rosemont Market

Rosemont Market was a gracious host to its guests on that evening, giving us a glimpse at its burgeoning cellar!  Burgundy, Bordeaux, Brunello, Barolo, Barbaresco, as well as more esoteric bottles, Lirac, Champagne signed by the winemaker, etc, etc,!  

Make inquiries to Joe Appel for unique purchases for the Holidays! 

Joe Appel - Rosemont Wine Cellar
2005 Barbaresco - Rosemont Wine Cellar

Zev Rovine Selections distributed in Maine by Devenish Wines.  Available at Rosemont Markets and Bier Cellar, Portland.


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