You may have seen them already – I’ve seen them at Whole Foods, they’re showcased at Leroux Kitchen and Browne Trading Company on Commercial Street in Portland, as well as at RSVP out on Forest Avenue. The labels aren’t adorned and might be easily glossed over at a casual glance. They simply tell you the name of the wine, the grapes therein, the year, and how many cases were produced. The labels feature no cute, furry creatures, and the wines do not get seductive names (I recently saw a wine called Ravage. Really?!?). These bottles are simply and honestly labeled. They are interesting and delicious. These are the wines of Channing Daughters.

I had the pleasure of hosting Christopher Tracy, the winemaker for Channing Daughters, at Hugo’s recently for our monthly Chef’s Dinner series. I came across his wines a couple of years ago and ever since have wanted to gather people together to experience not only the wines but also the man behind them. Chris agreed to make the trek up from Long Island, New York, and the 30 tickets for the event sold out quickly.

Over delicious Hugo’s food, he told the story of his wines. People were captivated, even when he talked about wine chemistry – which is saying something! The ability to charismatically excite people about your own obsessive passion is rare. I hope it goes without saying that I wouldn’t be writing about Christopher and his wines if I didn’t like him and them. But my interest is about more than the wine. Honest and delicious things, be they simple or complex, should be singled out, because these things help keep our faith-in-humanity tank full of gas, something we need in this day and age especially.

Even if you weren’t one of the fortunate few who got to experience Christopher and his wines at the same time, you can get in on the action. Here are a few things to know and look for.

He makes a number of wines called Petillant Naturals. These are rustic, delicious sparkling wines that are bottled just before the fermentation cycle is complete. These Pet-Nats were the original form of sparkling wine: ancient, rustic and, as Christopher describes them, joyous. His Sylvanus is a blend of Pinot Grigio, Muscat and Pinot Blanc. It’s like elderflower met a ripe melon and fell into a pool of bubbles. If you can’t enjoy it, check your pulse.

The Mosaico is a nod to the centuries-old practice of making field blends. These wines have a special place in my heart for many reasons, but mostly because they encapsulate the old maxim about the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. His is a blend of pinot grigio, chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, muscat ottonel, tocai friulano and Gewurztraminer. All the grapes are distinctly present, but they weave their way into one another in the most beautiful ways, both texturally and aromatically, and become something more interesting than any one grape would be on its own. A good field blend reminds me of what happens with color composition in a beautiful painting: each color is elevated by the others to create something more beautiful.

Finally, I suggest you try to get your hands on some Sculpture Garden, a merlot dominant red blend. You’ll be doing yourself a favor and, at the same time, you’ll be reversing a very uninformed version of wine drinking – the wholesale dismissal of merlot simply because it’s merlot. Christopher’s version of merlot showcases the grape’s native, soft plum-and-chocolate quality while maintaining its tannic structure.

Seek out Channing Daughters wines and see for yourselves. They’re different, delicious and playfully serious. What more could you wish for in a wine? They’re brought into the state by Vacationland Distributors and you can find them, right now, at Browne Trading Company, Leroux Kitchen, RSVP, Whole Foods and the Farm Stand.

Bryan Flewelling is the wine director for Big Tree Hospitality, which owns three restaurants in Portland: Hugo’s, Eventide Oyster Co. and The Honey Paw.

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