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About this Episode

Samantha Hohl, certified sommelier, and Robert Tas talk shellfish, seafood, and, of course, wine to pair with the fresh seafood, enjoy immensely and remember. In this episode, they visit the Helm Oyster Bar in Portland, Maine. Sam introduces a spectacular biodynamic bottle of bubbles from the Montlouis-sur-Loire region in France, a Sicilian rose, and a few reds for the red lovers. If silky tannins, slight spice along with herbal aromas or hints of pepper, along with violets and herbs sound enticing, this review has the wine for you. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2019 Domaine Usseglio Cuvée Girard

  • 2018 Domaine Pierre Gelin “Les Hervelets”, Burgundy

  • 2020 Olivier Tricon Chablis


Transcript: Helm Oyster Bar and Bistro

Helm Oyster Bar and Bistro

RT: Hello and welcome to CorkRules! 

A podcast where, in each episode, we will review a wine list from your favorite restaurants. I’m your host Robert Tas along with Samantha Hohl, certified sommelier.

Hello Sam, it’s great to be back together for another episode.

SH: Hi Robert!

RT: Before we jump in, let’s talk about CorkRules.

We created CorkRules to demystify wine lists because we know from experience, that sometimes when we get that list handed to us, well… it can be intimidating, and even a little daunting.

Our aim is to help prepare you to navigate that list, find those hidden gems, or value wines or that special bottle that will take your dining experience over the top.

RT: So, sit back and listen as we review your favorite wine list.

Cork Rules

Helm Oyster Bar & Bistro


Helm Oyster Bar & Bistro is located on the waterfront in Portland, Maine.They focus on showcasing all that Maine’s oceans and farms have to offer through their dishes made with fresh Seafood along with local meat and produce. They have a beverage program tailored to pair with their menu, and a wine list focusing on low-intervention wines.

Where to start

This is a fun list that highlights natural and low-intervention wines and has lots of wonderful French options along with some other Old and New World bottles too. I have a few finds that stood out to me, but let’s start our night with the 2019 Movia ‘Rebula’ for a bottle that will be unique and delicious. The Movia estate has been around since the 1700’s and is located in Slovenia bordering Italy. This bottle is made with Ribolla Gialla grapes which are indigenous to the area and not a common find on a wine list! It’s going to bring flavors of orange citrus, apple, and honey with herbs and salt. It will pair well with seafood so it’s a great bottle to have with many dishes on the menu.

If you’re a red lover you could try the 2019 Domaine Usseglio ‘Cuvée Girard.’This is a Southern Rhone red blend made with primarily Grenache. It’s going to have both red and black fruit flavors, hints of pepper, along with violets and herbs. It would pair nicely with something like the house-cured Mangalitsa Ham.

And how about some Sicilian Rosé? The 2020 Lamoresca is made with primarily Frappato but has Zibibbo blended in as well. It will have floral aromas, flavors of juicy pomegranate and red fruit, along with dried herbs. It’s also going to have lovely acidity and light tannins. It would be so good with the Beets and House Ricotta or the Black Bass Crudo.


Let’s talk about a few value bottles since there’s some options that will be amazing with the fresh seafood theme of this menu. The 2020 Olivier Tricon Chablis is a wonderful value bottle. It’s got all those delicious citrus, apple and mineral notes that pair so well with food. It’s going to be wonderful with their shellfish, like the mussels or prawns, but would be great with something like the Kunik goat’s cheese too.

Now let’s talk value bubbles. I love that this list has options to enjoy sparkling wines no matter what budget you’re working with. The 2018 Francois Chidaine ‘Brut Tradition’ is a sparkling Chenin Blanc from the Mont Louis region that would be delightful to sip on and pair. The Chenin Blanc is grown biodynamically and the yields are small. This bottle has acid that just sings and is accompanied by lemon, apple, grapefruit and hints of pastry.


While this list has some excellent value bubbles, there’s also some incredible celebratory bottles if you’re looking for something to make the evening memorable. The 1999 Pascal Doquet ‘Vertus’ Premier Cru. This bottle has age, it has beauty, it's just a stunner of a Champagne. Delicate bubbles but complex flavors with notes of biscuit, nuts, and zippy green apple. You could order up a plate of Maine oysters with this one, but it would be amazing with so many of the fresh seafood dishes here.

Another great way to celebrate especially for red lovers would be the 2018 Domaine Pierre Gelin ‘Les Hervelets.’ A gorgeous Pinot Noir from Fixin, Burgundy. Full of red fruit, raspberry, earthy flavors and slight spice along with herbal aromas as well. Silky tannins and refreshing acid make for a delicious and special red.

RT: Sam Thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate Helm’s wine list. I can’t wait to go try them myself.  

To our audience, Thank you all for Joining us here on CorkRules.

If you would like Sam to review one of your favorite restaurants, please send us email to: Info@CorkRules.Com or visit our web website where we have a request form available.

We are looking forward to being with you on another CorkRules episode soon. In the meantime, please check out our website for and download the CorkRules app for ios. Its makes personalized wine recommendations at over 40K restaurants, allows you to connect with friends and has price transparency. Order wine with confidence.

And finally, drink what you love and please make sure you drink responsibly.

Thank you.









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