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  • By Jon Rimmerman
    4/29/2010, (See more on Garagiste...)

    (IDYLLE Mondeuse) UPDATE: Sarah Goes...

    At Garagiste, everyone that works here has an individual personality and that keeps the energy progressive and prickly (in a good way). From The Wizard to Club Judo, nicknames have been won and lost based on idiosyncrasies but the person most of you have interaction with (besides Niki - aka The Great and Powerful Oz) and Melisa (The Natural) is Sarah (The Pick Up Artist). Sarah earned that nickname as our local pick-up guru and she's earned her stripes carrying an endless number of boxes out to cars, picking perfect orders and being as convivial as can be in the face of every possible retail complaint you can imagine. Wine buyers tend to be grumpy when things don't go their way and Sarah has turned many rainy days to sunshine for a myriad of our local email list members. Thanks Sarah.

    She also has a great palate.

    On her way to picking your order, she's delved into her study for the Master of Wine - a grueling exercise that requires more than sheer determination (which she has). Sarah knows a lot more than where the bottles are in the warehouse, she knows Morgon from Mondeuse and Cot from Cab Franc. She also likes to write about her travels and the wine she encounters - all very Garagiste.

    If you haven't checked out her blog, Sarah Goes, I urge you to give it a read. She often revisits wine we've offered in the past and I know many of you will be interested to read about where the wines are in their evolution. She also writes about wine that doesn't make the cut for Garagiste but still has intrinsic value. She updates this section quite a bit (a lot more than we update the rest of the site), so bookmark it for another perspective than my own:

    I wonder where Sarah is off to today?

    - Jon Rimmerman

    Dear Friends,

    This will be short (not really).

    Speaking of Mondeuse...

    While all the attention is on 2009 Bordeaux right now (just wait for the fall/winter when it turns to 2009 Burgundy), my sommelier friends in Paris and (surprise) Italy are making a bee-line for the Savoie. The 2009s are slowly being released and the vintage is a restaurant dream: low prices, pungent minerality, terrific acidity and palate staining extract rarely (if ever) seen in this mountainous wonderland. As a food match, the light-medium bodied wines have few peers. From my point of view, I've been enjoying the red and white wines of the Savoie for over 20 years and 2009 this is their coming out party.

    Say what you will, the Savoie is almost more difficult, from an allocation standpoint, than Burgundy. Most of the properties produce very little wine and you need to have friends that know friends that know the the vintners - otherwise, forget it. They keep most of their wine for next year's ski/climbing season so there is no urgency to part with their bounty - certainly not beyond their small town or hamlet. If you are looking for "local", the Savoie epitomizes the notion - both in food and wine.

    We've profiled Idylle a number of times (most recently in an UPDATE because they sent us the 2009 Cruet Blanc instead of the 2008) and today we have one of their flagship reds from the 2009 vintage. Call me a glutton, but I've already consumed all three of my sample bottles without a spittoon in sight and I'm already nostalgic for the good old days (such as last night when I finished the final bottle). For me, this is what red wine is all about...but it is not for everyone...I take that back - in a regular vintage like 2008 it's not for everyone, but in 2009 it is for everyone.

    Idylle's 2009 Mondeuse is simply fantastic wine. At 11.7% alcohol, it is proof-positive that you do not need alcohol for stunning levels of extract and intrigue (here's where we insert a diatribe on 2009 Bordeaux). From Idylle's perspective, this wine could not be more perfect and, for what it is, it's tough to argue. Luminescent, deep red in color with whiffs of tell-tale toasted spices and cracked pepper, the slathered no-oak palate delivers more of the same buttressed by a wall of stone, minerality, gritty (but still elegant) unadulterated grape extract and terrific acidity that gets my vote for a plate of grilled sausage and polenta. Maybe the 2009 is a tad too "yummy" for the Savoie (where off-putting is their goal) but I don't think so. Despite an immediately enjoyable presence, it never loses its stalactite sense of terroir or focus - it is never heavy or out of balance in any way (see above comment on 11.7% alcohol) and that's why the 2009s are so special. There is nothing blowsy about them - they are impeccably balanced and refreshing - even the reds.

    The most common comparison for this wine is cru Beaujolais and in specific Cotes de Brouilly but Mondeuse is different from Gamay in its deeper, more Northern Rhone Syrah aspect. I can see a comparison as halfway between St. Joseph and Cotes de Brouilly but this wine stands on its own. It's a poster child for 2009 as one of the great vintages for red and white wine in this mountainous region since the 1960's.

    Instead of rehashing this story over and over each time we present an 2009 from the Savoie, I would take the leap of faith - for the tariff, there is so little risk involved that it's not even worth your time or effort to fret. If you enjoy any of the Loire red wines, Beaujolais or the above mentioned St. Joseph, your horizon is about to be broadened significantly and I urge you to explore any 2009 wine from the Savoie you can find, not just from us.

    VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for reflection of vintage, varietal and site-place not to mention exemplary price/value.

    This parcel is directly from the winery cellar with perfect provenance - only a few hundred cases produced (the grapes were still on the vine six months ago and the wine was pulled from the tank a few weeks ago and is set to depart from the Savoie. That wouldn't be such a big deal for a white wine but an extract-rich red wine? That's what we refer to as a "Mentos offer" - the Freshmaker):

    2009 Domaine de L'Idylle Mondeuse Vin de Savoie

    Thank you,

    Jon Rimmerman
    Seattle, WA


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