In a way, Catherine Dumora changed my life. I first discovered L’Egrappille in its previous incarnation as a collaboration between Catherine and her ex-partner Manu Duveau, in the south of Melbourne in 2018. Asking a shop clerk if he had any Jura (why are all Americans obsessed with the Jura?), he said there wasn’t much interesting Jurassic wine in at the moment, but might I be interested in some new and exciting gear from the Auvergne? Yes, I said, and walked out of there with a bottle of 109 2017, 100% Gamay d’Auvergne. If anyone ever asks me which bottle took me over the edge and into my current wine mania, this was the one. Less than a year later I found myself getting drunk with a couple of friends at Catherine’s former residence in Blanzat, a late morning appointment that turned into us leaving to barely make it in time for dinner at Saint Eutrope (RIP) that evening. Catherine shared with us so many bottles and glasses that day, and then we took a meditative retreat into her basement cellar to talk and to taste out of experimental demijohns, and to escape the crushing heat of that Auvergne summer. It was a simple moment but it changed so much for me. Going through the motions of an extended breakup, and then landing back in Los Angeles where I was presiding over the list at Kensho at the time, that afternoon with Catherine was further clarification for me that wine was, for better or worse, laden somewhere in my destiny.
Since her and Manu’s split, Catherine continues to make wine under the L’Egrappille moniker, and with a hardcore non-interventionist approach—zero treatments in the vines, and zero interference in the cellar. What this means sometimes, is that in a disastrous year for the Auvergne like 2021, Catherine made almost no wine from her own fruit. Resourceful as ever, Dumora got in touch with a grower in Minervois that she met on the French equivalent of Craigslist, and drove south to purchase and pick up the fruit that ended up as source material for her 2021 wines. Négoce or not, all of Catherine’s wines contain her signature lightness of touch, and preternatural understanding of vin nature—what it means to be making elixirs like these in current times, and the importance of an uncompromising approach. But most importantly, there is in these wines, and much like Catherine herself, a completely welcoming and unpretentious quality that draws one into her orbit of both liquid and matter.
Now in stock is a very small amount of wines from 2020; mixes of Gamays mostly from Catherine’s own fruit, with most cuvées being mixtures of directly pressed fruit and infused berries. These are wines ready to drink now, and taste like wild foraged berry juice—hard to pin down in any classical sense, but so, so delicious.
As these are very limited wines from a special producer, it’s greatly encouraged to purchase all four cuvées together.
Gamay / Syrah / Alicante
Gamay Beaujolais / Hybrids
Gamay d’Auvergne / Gamay Beaujolais