Doug Decants: Mondeuse by Bruno Lupin, Savoie

Your money for your lupins

The Boomtown Rats sang: “I don’t like Mondeuse”, but what did they know about Savoie’s great red grape?

In Wine Grapes, by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding, and JosĂ© Vouillamoz, wines made with Mondeuse are described as “aromatic, tannic and deeply coloured, with good aging potential…” Bruno Lupin’s version is refreshingly unique. It is elegant. A softness and a crispness that replaces the former’s punch. Yes, it is aromatic and will absolutely age (and develop well) over a decade, but it isn’t a tannic powerhouse style.  12% abv enhances the wine’s fantastic briskness.

Bruno’s interpretation of the grape gives an alternative view of this variety.

In the Savoie village of Frangy, not far from the border with Switzerland, Bruno Lupin organically tends a small site, roughly half a hectare, of 60–70-year-old Mondeuse vines in the village of Frangy in the valley Les Usses. Lupin’s estate vineyards lie on a hillside called Les Aricoques, which faces south, protected from the harsh northerly winds. This location benefits the Mondeuse grape, allowing it to reach its full potential in good vintages.Bruno produces a miniscule amount of red Mondeuse from his tiny vineyard, and the wine is aged for nine months in used barrels acquired from his friend at Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. All bow! In the winery, Bruno is a minimal interventionist. After a manual harvest, grapes are partially destemmed and crushed by foot. Native yeasts start the fermentation in stainless steel, and no sulphur is added prior to fermentation. The wine is then transferred into barrels for nine months before being bottled unfiltered. The DRC barrels give a deft touch (let’s pretend we can taste the whisper of their influence and they add a hint of Burgundian charm to this wine). Bruno’s interpretation of the grape gives an alternative view of this variety.

This Mondeuse is medium-light in colour, with a vibrant dark cherry-red colour. The nose mingles forest fruits, red cherry, and raspberry. Savoury aromatic notes of orange peel and a suggestion of graphite add to the ensemble. The wine soon opens further to reveal deeper notes of spicy plum, warm thyme, and clove. The palate displays black cherry and cracked black pepper, with a smokiness that grows on the finish, transforming into something herbal and minty. A beautiful wine, and rare as rocking horse something-or-other.

2022 Mondeuse

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