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Importer Paul Chartrand and Perlage GM Ivo Nardi

MONTPELIER, France – Yesterday was the final day of Millesime Bio, the organic wine trade show, here and what a full day!

I spend most of the day with Paul Chartrand, a Maine importer of wines made from organic grapes. Paul, his northeastern distributor “Sam” and I made the rounds tasting plenty of wines and talking to current suppliers and tasting wines Paul may wish to carry in the future.

I was hoping to interview a couple of more people yesterday but I found the experience of tasting with a veteran wine buyer too valuable to pass up.

Marcella and I share a Prosecco toast!

We started our morning with a lengthy session (maybe 30-45 minutes, for this show a long time) with Perlage of Soligo, Italy. Perlage is one of, if not, the leading organic producer in Italy. Perlage is located in Prosecco, Italy’s northeast region opposite Piedmont.

We tasted through several wonderful Prosecco sparkling wines all made from organic grapes. Though not a huge fan of sparkling wines, I’ve always found Prosecco among the most enjoyable. These were outstanding examples.

We chatted with family estate General Manager Ivo Nardi and his sales manager Marcella Callegari. Ivo speaks limited English so we conducted a short interview with Marcella acting as interpreter.

I learned a lot from Paul as he charted wine prices using a spread sheet to add shipping costs, his margin, and what he could sell the wines per case to U.S. distributors. Paul works in a certain price point. He takes the organic wine world seriously having been involved in food and wine issues since his college days.

And, you do get every winemakers full attention as a U.S. wine journalist. But when you have a U.S. wine importer along, that doesn’t hurt either.

I should note for readers close to my home in Indiana, that Perlage is available in Indiana and many surrounding states. Friend Derek Gray of GrayBull Wines is Paul’s Indiana distributor.

The Rest of the Day …

We made many more stops throughout the day and in the afternoon Paul went into “power tasting” mode. We rushed from stand to stand but once Paul arrived at each customer’s table he gave them individual attention and took the time to appreciate their wines.

We tasted outstanding whites from the Loire region, some more Italian, and a large range of Languedoc wines. Paul even took a suggestion from me and visited a producer I liked. We were rushing up until 5 p.m. when it was time to catch our buses back into the city.

Thursday

Today may be the best day for photos and learning more about Languedoc. I’m spending the day at three wineries and talking to the current AIVB president and past president. We’re having lunch in a small village and visiting wineries and wine cellars. Friends, it just doesn’t get any better than that itinerary for a day in Southern France.

I will definitely get something posted tonight, maybe a photo album if nothing more. But it will be early to bed to catch a 5:45 a.m. taxi to the airport and head home.

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.com

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