2015 Jean Perrier & Fils “Cuvée Gastronomie” Mondeuse, Savoie, France (Alcohol 12%) LCBO Vintages $17.95 (750ml)
Just the other week I was at the home of a couple of friends for an impromptu play-date with our sons, and they opened a bottle of this rather remarkable alpine wine. I was quite taken aback at its gorgeousness and price point and thus felt the need to tell more people about its delicate charms. Apparently I’m a bit late to the party as our friend Christopher Sealy informed me that he used to sell it by the glass back in the days when he was at Midfield Wine Bar. Oh well, better late than never I suppose.
With only 500 acres of the varietal being planted in the Savoie region of eastern France, and a few bits and bobs in California, Argentina, and Australia, you would certainly be forgiven for being unfamiliar with this grape. For years it was thought that the Mondeuse was the same grape as the Refosco of northern Italy, but the two were later discovered to be entirely unrelated, leading to some confusion with some of the Californian wines labelled as “Refosco” to this very day. Recent studies have shown that it may bear some relation to Argentina’s Bonarda varietal.
The grape typically produces peppery wines with an intensely dark colour and markedly high acidity. With this bottling I found the nose incredibly alluring and sensual, blue and red berries with a pleasing touch of pepper, spice, and herbs, as well as a nuanced, haunting funkiness, that certainly pressed all the right buttons for me. The palate has quite firm, assertive tannins (just like a northern Italian red actually!), and an acidity that makes it the perfect companion at the dining table. The wine finishes with a leafy bitterness, that may not sound appealing to most, but I found it utterly charming.
This is a delicately structured alpine wine that will most probably please those into their Jura reds, as it shares much in common with some of the better examples of Trousseau and Poulsard from that (nearby) region. Just remember to give it a little chill before serving.
(Four apples out of a possible five)
Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And that was so lovely.