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September 2014

Luc et Denis Lattard Gamay

Brothers Luc and Denis Lattard inherited their family's farm in the central Rhone back in the 90s.  Although the Rhone is a region famous for wines the farm was devoted to alfalfa and grain for livestock; vines had once been planted but not since Phylloxera back in the mid 1800s.  The brothers, however, are wine enthusiasts, so in 1995 they started planting vines on several south east facing hill side locations.  Today they have nearly 14 acres planted to Syrah, Gamay, Roussanne, and Viognier. 

The brothers Lattard adhere to very natural principles in farming: the vineyards are certified organic and all the vineyard work is done by hand.  They use no additives in the wine making process: so no accidification, sugaring, or coloring.  Since 2007 they have even stopped using sulfur.

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Aroma: As you expect and want from Gamay the brothers Lattard's wine is bright and vibrant smelling.   There's lots of raspberry and cherry aromas with a bit of cranberry and a bit of spruce needle.  Fresh ripe red berries that are so juicy and ripe they're just about to burst is how it seems.  The Lattard's gamay isn't a one trick pony though, there are some savory aromas and I get a whiff of roasted chestnuts.

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Taste: bright fresh acidity up front, but then riper fruit and lusher texture.  There's a wild and slightly furry undertone.  The Lattard Gamay is compelling and crisp, zippy and snappy with lots of fresh berry fruit, but also a black peppery spice woven in.  This is a very well integrated totally natural zero sulfur wine that's very approachable and not too tannic.

If you want a wine that tastes like it is vibrantly alive give this a shot.  The brothers Lattard's Gamay is very pretty and a great intro to natural wines.  This is about $15 at Rosemont Munjoy Hill, Rosemont on Brighton, The Farm Stand in South Portland, Flock and Vine in Cape Elizabeth, and the Blue Hill Wine Shop.


Jean Paul Dubost Tracot Beaujolais Village 2013

Jean Paul Dubost is a fourth generation wine maker who has about 40 acres of vineyards in Moulin a Vent, Morgon, Regnie, and Brouilly as well as Beaujolais Villages.  Jean Paul is in the process of converting all his vineyards to Biodynamics, but all are at minimum farmed organically.  So the vineyards that this Beaujolais Villages wine comes from are organic, and Jean Paul still uses a bit of sulfur to stabilise the wine before bottling.  It's nowhere near as much sulfur as in a conventional wine, but it is there.

And so what?! Sulfur has been used judiciously in wines pretty much for ever.  This Beaujolais is delicious and vibrant and a good price.

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Aroma: Jean Paul Dubost's Beaujolais has quite the ripe, juicy, berry fruit dominated nose to me.  It really smells of blackberrys and maybe also just a bit of beeswax candle; not even smoky burnt candle; just fresh pure fruit and a hint of earth.

Taste: Jiucy red berry fruits are the first tastes that I pick up on, but there's good fresh acidity that lifts this Beaujolais up and gives it a more fun refreshing chatacter.  This is such a summer wine.  And I mean by that statement that Jean Paul's Beaujolais just tastes like summer!  At the same time though the vivid ripe fruit flavors are just what I want to have with fall foods like pork and roast vegetables. 

This is delicious, lively, and natural.  It's the best village Beaujolais I've had.  It's about $17 and available at Aurora Provisions, the Blue Hill Wine Shop, the Farm Stand in South Portland, and glass poured at Vinland


Perrini Negroamaro

Perrini is a new arrival into Maine from the fantastic Louis Dressner portfolio.  The winery is run by a brother and sister team who converted the family's 50 hectares in Puglia (the heel of the Italian boot) to organics back in 1993.  Vito and Mila are very proud of their organic certification: it's displayed all over their bottles and also all over the underground winery they built that allows them to perform naturally cooler and gentler fermentations.

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This particular Negroamaro comes from 10 hectares of 25-30 year old vineyards on south facing slopes over looking the ocean.  

Aroma: Wow!  Blood orange!  I also smell fresh cherries and a bit of hemlock spice in the back ground, but it's definitely a back seat to the dark compelling blood orange.  Perrini's Negroamaro has a forward fruity/floral character to the aroma with some red rose, but oh that vivid blood orange aroma is awesome!  This smells so deliciously authentically Mediterranean Italian to me!

Palate: Interesting; the Perrini has dark fruit that's a hint dried, but it's still got good bright acidity that makes the wine bright.  The finish isn't particularly tannic, but there's a slight bitterness that's awesome and, for some reason unknown to me, common among southern Italian drinks.  This tastes so tropical and exotic: vibrant with blood orange, red grapefruit, and raspberry.  

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I drank this with some Italian sausages and roasted local peppers and it was absolutely fantastic.  I adore this wine, but I could only get 6 cases and they've already sold out.  The Blue Hill Wine Shop and Flock and Vine are the only two places that have it for sale.  Piccolo and MJs are glass pouring it.  Perrini's Negroamaro is about $16