£15.70, Tanners Wines
It’s been a long time coming but here at last is a Mondeuse as wine of the week. Dark in colour, aromatic, naturally moderate in alcohol and well-structured in both tannin and acidity, this is a red that taps into the current mood for less alcoholic wines.
Without setting out to be modish, it also taps into the trends for little-known grape varieties and regions, Mondeuse and Savoie, respectively, and for the appetite for reds that have juicy freshness, spiciness and fragrant red fruit – in this case, floral, red-cherry and hedgerow-berry fruit. Fine, sandy tannins then add a bit of grip.
Mondeuse isn't very like any other grape variety, but it’s likely to appeal to fans of northern Rhône Syrah (it’s probably no coincidence that DNA profiling has shown it to be a close relative of Syrah) and fans of Beaujolais crus.
The Chevallier-Bernard family’s wine comes specifically from Savoie’s Jongieux cru, where high, southwest-facing slopes on limestone soils catch more sunlight than most of the rest of the region.
They are the sixth and seventh generation of wine growers here and farm their 13 hectares of vineyards with respect for nature, biodiversity and natural cycles and are certified Haute Valeur Environmentale (HVE). And there you have another trend.
As for food, the Jongieux Mondeuse 2019 goes well with lamb, including slow-baked shanks with anchovies and spices, with chorizo and other meaty or spicy sausages. It would be good with pigeon, venison, steak dishes such as tagliata and straccetti di manzo (strips of beef marinated in oil, sautéed and served on rocket with shavings of Parmesan) and with meat or vegetable empanadas. It’s not the most obvious wine for fish, but I would try it with seared tuna steak.
Domaine Chevallier-Bernard’s website suggests meat in sauce (and gives a recipe for pot au feu) or, for something different, two local cheese dishes that are traditionally drunk with white wine, raclette and tartiflette. Tanners suggests roast chicken. (Tanners also has the family’s delicious Roussette de Savoie and some other wines from them which I haven’t tasted.) 12% abv. Empty bottle weight: 449g.
Domaine Chevallier-Bernard Jongieux Mondeuse 2019, Savoie, France