deVine Thoughts

October 19, 2018

2016 Vintage Ports with Roy Hersh

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 5:37 pm

Author: Dirk Chan

The 2016 Port Vintage is the first general declaration since the 2011. With the 2016s, they are definitely going to make a splash – the growing season got off to a late start, following a very rainy spring that would make the different later during harvest time. As is typical of the Douro Valley, they entered into its typically hot and dry period in June and July, the vines had enough water reserves to help them along, with only a few areas suffering from hydric stress. A light rain came in a timely fashion on Sept. 13, to give the vineyards a freshening, and with the vintage running a week behind, growers could take advantage of ideal weather conditions into October, picking the later-ripening varieties such as Touriga Franca at optimum quality.

The 2016 Vintage Ports really are exceptional, with some of the most refined tannins ever, supporting gorgeous red fruit flavours while being extraordinarily intense, purple colour. The wines have impressive structure and balance, with Baumés, acidity, tannins and colour in rare and perfect alignment. This is certainly a vintage to include in your cellar to enjoy in your later years or to celebrate a significant year.

Production of each of the 2016 Vintage Ports is approximately 1/5 below the previously declared 2011’s with a very rigorous selection by most houses.

As is customary, deVine welcomes world renown Port expert Roy Hersh from Seattle here for a sit-down tasting of seven 2016 Vintage Ports on the Remembrance Day Friday, November 9 at 7:30 – $105/person.

We special order small amounts of half bottles (splits) of both the Taylor and Fonseca 2016, and those who attend the tasting will have first dibs at the smaller format, which wil drink at peak sooner, and better suited for smaller size gatherings.

Rumours are circulating quietly about a general declaration for 2017 – if so, it would be a first to have back to back vintages declared – you can ask Roy about this.

Book your seat here..

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October 15, 2018

Final Travel Blog – Villa Matilde

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 6:47 pm

Author: Dirk Chan

My last visit in the huge Campania region involved driving for a couple of hours Northwest of Salerno (instead of northeast as per previous winery visits), past Naples to visit at Villa Matilde (on a sunday afternoon no less) with Sommelier Andrea del Mastro, who is also leaning some of the Export Director role duties as well. He first took me on his truck through some rocky terrain to reach the main vineyards of Villa Matilde.

Villa Matilde is in the northern part of Campania which has a different climate than the south. Their Falerno del Massico wines are surrounded by ex-volcanoes on all sides, and because of this, the Aglianico grapes are bigger than those visited in Vulture, they are also picked 3-4 weeks earlier as well. Famed enologist Riccardo Cotarella has been consulting here since 1996.

The Falerno del Massico Bianco is floral giving the illusion it should be sweet on the palate, but no, its got some angular fruit with a surprising saline finish – would be amazing with a deep fried fish mixed plate and some freshly squeezed lemons!

Their single vineyard bottling Vigna Camarato Falerno del Massico was impressive, 80-20 Aglianico and indigenous and intriguing Piedirosso (the latter very black curranty, juicy and no tannin) grape made for a most intriguing mix – graphite, minerals yet beautiful currant fruit! Love the Piedirosso wines, will be bringing some in.

I then had a lovely three course lunch at the outdoors restaurant on the site. So pleasant, the food marvelous – a melt in your mouth parmigiana, a assorted mushroom and string bean vegetarian lasagna and a bbq’s steak and potatoes – another wonderful hour and a half with of course more Matilde wines. Well worth the two hour drive.


We have the lovely Falerno del Massico Bianco available for your consideration at the store, with a couple more to come:

2017 Villa Matilde Falerno del Massico Bianco (Campania, Italy) – $29.99

A link to the previous travel blog here..

Many thanks to Empson Canada for setting up this visit and many thanks for all of you who have followed my travel blog, it was a great experience for yours truly.

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October 12, 2018

Port Tasting with Oscar Quevedo Jr.

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 6:39 pm

oscar_quevedo_smallAuthor: Dirk Chan

The Quevedo Port brand only started in 1991, but for generations before, the great grand parents of Oscar Quevedo Jr. has been doing wine for a long time. On Thursday, October 18 at 7pm, deVine welcomes owner Oscar at the store as he presents his family’s white ports, tawny ports, ruby port and vintage ports in this special sit-down port tasting. There are some gems to be tasted along with discussion and fun banter.

Porto Quevedo is part of a new generation of small family wineries based in the Douro. For many years, these families were growing grapes, and making Port wine, for merchants based in Vila Nova de Gaia. Now they are marketing their own brand.

In order to assure the best grapes year after year, we started to extend our vineyards up to the 100 ha, as we currently cultivate in the rough sub-regions of Cima-Corgo and Douro-Superior, where the Douro traditional varieties prevail.

It’s not everyday you get a winery owner in Edmonton to talk about their product, so book your spot real soon to avoid disappointment.

Book your seat here..

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October 3, 2018

Feudi di San Gregorio Visit

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 7:31 am

Author: Dirk Chan

Not too far from Mastroberardino and up very winding roads at 500m above seal level, is the other famous Campanian winery Feudi di San Gregorio whom deVine has had a long relationship with. I visited with Lyllian Mele on a lovely afternoon. What was immediately obvious was how big this operation is – here is one of the biggest in production with over 4 million bottles produced annually.

Although a young winery (started in 1986), they have over 300 hectares of planted vines, and 850 different parcels of land with vines amongst the villages Sorbo Serpico (where the winery resides). In time, this was joined by the vineyards of Tufo, Taurasi and Santa Paolina.

Feudi is a strong advocate for the local grape varieties Aglianico, Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo. The Taurasi is the “Barolo of the south” – Taurasi is a DOCG since 1993, it represents the apogee of what the Aglianico grape can do, and although there are many Taurasi wines being produced by many producers in the area, the Feudi version represents a large percentage of its production and is sold everywhere and also often awarded for its elegance and refinement.

Quite modern in approach (with tight security) but respecting the past and traditional practices, they have over 350 stainless steel tanks in use. Surprisingly only 30% of the production is exported (to 50 countries), with the other 70% remaining in Italy.

We went outside and saw the lovely gardens overlooking the white grapes, then we were lucky to see the first of the Falanghina grapes being brought into the winery for de-stemming (see pictures). After the winery and cellar tour, we tasted a lovely DUBL Sparkling Aglianico, the classic Fiano di Avellino, and the magnificent Piano di Montevergine, Taurasi Riserva DOCG, 2012 all three excellent and typical of the grapes.

My favourite is their flagship Serpico, produced from century old vines of Aglianico.

We have four Feudi di San Gregorio wines in stock for your consideration:

2016 Feudi di San Gregorio Primitivo (Alberello, Italy) – $21.99

2014 Feudi di San Gregorio Rubrato (Campania, Italy) – $31.99

2012 Feudi di San Gregorio Taurasi (Campania, Italy) – $49.99

2012 Feudi di San Gregorio Serpico (Campania, Italy) – $109.99

A link to the previous travel blog here..

Next up – Villa Matilde..

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Ruinart Champagne Dinner at the Butternut Tree

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 7:13 am



Author: Dirk Chan

On Monday, October 15, there will be a Champagne Ruinart food and wine pairing dinner at the Butternut Tree Restaurant (9707 110 St NW #101). where Chef Scott Downy will be preparing a four course dinner to pair with four special Champagnes from house Ruinart, a favourite of ours. The cost is $145 per person.

Champagnes featured are:
Reserve your seat by calling the Butternut Tree – 780-760-2771 or by email

Seating is limited.

The 4 Ruinarts tasted are:

NV Ruinart R de Ruinart Brut (Champagne, France) – $84.99

NV Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Brut (Champagne, France) – $109.99

NV Ruinart Brut Rosé (Champagne, France) – $109.99

We will be bringing in the showcase Champagne – the 2004 Ruinart Dom Vintage Dated Blanc de Blancs- $254.99 just for this dinner.

See the full size postcard for this event here..

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October 1, 2018

Riedel Glass Tasting

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 9:57 am

Author: Dirk Chan

Riedel (pronounced Ree-dle) is the industry standard for stemware and decanters for the wine connoisseur – it has b an illustrious history – family owned in Bohemia since 1756 (the same year as Mozart’s birthyear – it’s been that long!). With expert craftsmanship and a creative design team, their stemware and decanters are in high end restaurants and regular homes alike. It’s claim to fame is that the stemware was specifically and scientifically designed so the first hit on your tongue accentuates the qualities of the grape varietal that the glass was designed for.

It’s been over a decade since we last had a Riedel Glass Tasting. deVine welcomes Alysha Harker, Regional Manager from Riedel Canada who will be coming in from Vancouver to do this presentation and wine tasting on Saturday, October 13th @ 7pm – $110/person. We will taste wine in the Veritas Line of Riedel stems, featuring the Pinot Noir, Syrah and Cabernet/Merlot glasses and best of all, you will take these stems home with you after the event in a three-pack box!

For those who don’t believe stemware makes a big difference in terms of wine enjoyment, this will be an eye-opening and life changing experience. For the converted, this will reinforce the importance of these varietally-designed stems that are recognized the world over by oenophiles.

We need 34 attendees to make this a go as there are a lot of moving parts, so we’re asking everyone to book by the latest midnight Sunday, September 30 as we will make the go-nogo decision then. You can register here..! This is a sit-down tasting.

Besides your set from the tasting, we are taking pre-orders for additional sets – $89.99/set. As we will be getting a deal from Riedel that we’re passing on to you (regular price is $129.99), these must be pre-ordered when you register for this event online. Please click this link – $89.99 to order more sets. As this is a one shot deal, there won’t be extra sets for sale at the event, you must pre-order it.

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September 23, 2018

Visiting Historic Mastroberardino

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 1:45 pm

Author: Dirk Chan

A half hour drive from Salerno through Avellino 4km east, we arrive at Atripalda, in Provincia di Avellino, in the Campania region where the famous Mastroberardino winery is located. I met with Export Director Lucrezia Bencivenga, who tasted wine with me, and provided a lovely cellar tour.

Mastroberardino is one of the largest wineries in all of Italy in terms of production, yet despite its size, the wines are firmly mired in the old world style that speaks of the land and soil. With a history dating back to the early eighteen century, the winery are pioneers and flag bearers for all of Campania and wines from this region.

The present-day winery was founded in Avellino in 1878 by Angelo Mastroberardino, and since then 11 generations have carried on – interestingly for the first time, the next generation will be two girls who are presently teenagers.

They spearheaded the DOCG classification for the Taurasi area in 1986, but they had the foresight to called their wines Radici to stamp themselves with a brand name which means roots. As many wineries called their wines Taurasi, only Mastroberardino calls theirs Radici.

While they are known for its production of Taurasi DOCG as well as its dedicated work in identifying and preserving ancient grape varieties like Greco and Fianothey, they are widely credited with bringing favorable critical attention to the wines of Campania, particularly for previously unheralded wines like Lacryma Christi, Greco di Tufo and Fiano di Avellino.

We tasted in their fabulous tasting room their famous Vesuvio based Lacryma Christi wines, white and red – the name of this wine is rooted in a legend where God cried when he found a corner of Heaven stolen by Lucifer and where his tears fell, there grew the grapes that make Lacryma Christi, translated loosely as “tears of Christ”. The white is made from 100% Coda di Volpe grapes grown on volcanic soils, this wine is fermented in stainless steel to preserve its unique, fresh profile with a lovely pears and white flowery nose, with peach, licorice and minerality on the palate – try with a seafood risotto. The red is made from 100% Piedirosso grapes (the other red grape in the area) grown in volcanic soil near Mount Vesuvius and fermented in stainless steel. It has an intense ruby-red color, aromas of cherries and red fruit underscore notes of plums, raspberries, and black pepper and a slightly bigger feel of Pinot Noir. Refined tannins and good acidity make this wine rich without being overpowering , this is a unique red wine that is youthful and bright, but substantial. Both of these will be coming into the store in the late fall.

We currently carry only one Mastro wine (with several more on order now), it is the excellent Redimore, which is made from clones propagated by pre-phylloxera vines – thoroughly ignimatic.

2015 Mastroberardino Redimore (Campania, Italy) – $31.99

A link to the previous travel blog here..

Many thanks to Crimson Imports for setting me up with this visit!

Next up – Feudi di San Gregorio.

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September 21, 2018

Ruinart Champagne Dinner at The Butternut Tree

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 2:51 pm



Author: Dirk Chan

On Monday, October 15, there will be a Champagne Ruinart food and wine pairing dinner at the Butternut Tree Restaurant (9707 110 St NW #101). where Chef Scott Downy will be preparing a four course dinner to pair with four special Champagnes from house Ruinart, a favourite of ours. The cost is $145 per person.

Champagnes featured are:
Reserve your seat by calling the Butternut Tree – 780-760-2771 or by email

Seating is limited.

The 4 Ruinarts tasted are:

NV Ruinart R de Ruinart Brut (Champagne, France) – $84.99

NV Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Brut (Champagne, France) – $109.99

NV Ruinart Brut Rosé (Champagne, France) – $109.99

We will be bringing in the showcase Champagne – the 2004 Ruinart Dom Vintage Dated Blanc de Blancs- $254.99 just for this dinner.

See the full size postcard for this event here..

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2018 deVine Wines Charity Auction

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 2:50 pm

Author: Ed Fong

First, many thanks for those who came out to the Wein, Schwein & Dine event last sunday, it was a smashing success!

deVine Wines is pleased to host another online charity auction for 2018 in support of our Charities of Choice. This year, the partners have elected to support the Edmonton Food Bank and the Neon Sign Museum. We look forward to working closely with our charity partners in 2018. Our last online auction held in 2016 yielded an astounding $19,450 in proceeds that were donated entirely to the Edmonton Food Bank.

The 2018 online auction will begin posting on Saturday, September 1 and bidding will end on Saturday, November 10. Everyone will have a great opportunity to bid on a wide range of interesting products and cool experiences over a three month period. As usual, there will be an outstanding selection of wines and spirits, gift certificates, artistic pieces and events to attend.

Some really cool items that will be auctioned off shortly include:

– 2 Tickets to the now sold out ultra-premium Whiskies of the World tasting in November
– A chance for 2 to go on a dinosaur dig and tour of the Royal Tyrrell Museum with paleontologist Dr. Michael Caldwell
– Personal “Wine Basics” tutored tasting for 18 people conducted by Dr. Michal Yan of If Grapes Could Talk
– Artwork created by visual artist Nosheen Pervez
– Pair of Edmonton Oilers tickets to a local home game
– The Ultimate Bourbon versus Whiskies of the World Advent Calendar

Please follow and bookmark this link to see the auction items:

Proceeds of the Online Charity Auction will be split 70/30 between Edmonton’s Food Bank and the Neon Sign Museum. The food bank will be the major beneficiary of the proceeds.

You can learn more about Edmonton’s Food Bank

Our goal in supporting the Neon Sign Museum is to raise money to recreate one of Edmonton’s lost iconic neon signs, that of the Seven Seas Restaurant.

You can learn more about the Neon Sign Museum here:

You can view the lost Seven Seas neon sign here in black and white:

A colorized version can be found here:

So please start bidding and don’t forget to bring food items next time you visit the store – donation boxes are set up at deVines. New auction items will constantly be added to the auction, so stay informed by visiting the bidding page frequently or by subscribing to our e-newsletter here..

Happy Bidding Everyone!

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September 17, 2018

My Grifalco Visit

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 2:22 pm

Author: Dirk Chan

Drove a couple of hours from Salerno to the Grifalco estate in Basilicata where I was greeted by winemaker and owner Lorenzo Piccin. He is only 30 years old and his first vintage was when he was 22 years of old – how novel is that?

His parents originally had property in Montepulciano, but in 2003 they sold and purchase Grifalco in Vulture. The name Grifalco pays hommage to the past and present – the Gryphon is the symbol of Montepulciano, and the ‘falco’ part is the hawk, symbol of Monte Vulture, the now extinct volcano.

They only make 5 wines and 2500 cases total production (love these small family-ran wineries, they do everything end to end), but there are 80 year old vines available to Lorenzo and he separately ferments and stores the wines in large barrels and only blends them together just before bottling. Vines are replanted only when they die by stealing a branch from existing old vines.

He tasted me only out of barrel – such wonderful organically farmed sites in Damaschito and Daginestra, are vinifed and stored separately – we got to taste the different characteristics that is to go in the final mix of the 2016 and 2017 Grifalco’s, their flagship wine. The former was very floral and the latter the minerality and rusticity while a third barrel came from two other estates in the Vulture area that definitely provided the structure and color – brutes!

Lorenzo also passed on that the great wines must come from the middle parts of the vineyards, between 450 and 580 meters in elevation – if higher it will be unripe, if lower than that range, it will be flabby due to the high heat. He also stressed that he will never blend international grapes (like Merlot) into his wines, he is true to his roots – the Aglianico grape is the only one he’ll work with. He learnt his craft in the Piedmont, and is trying the extended maceration techniques so prevalent there with his grapes.

Other tidbits I got was he loves his very flexible grape sorter (see pic), he loves X-country skiing with his dog.

Next up, Mastroberardino…

2014 Grifalco Aglianico del Vulture (Basilicata, Italy) – $26.99

A link to the previous travel blog here..

Many thanks to Bonvida Wines for setting me up with this visit!

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