Once upon a time I worked at the architecturally brilliant Shadowfax Winery in Werribee South. It was located three minutes from where I grew up so was the ideal location to boost my knowledge of viticulture and winemaking whilst studying both subjects. The vineyard at the property hosted red grape varieties like Shiraz with some Pinot Noir. Truth be told, the Pinot often did not ripen so well so was used in the rose’ blend. That all changed with a bold decision by the winemaker, Matt Harrop, and his team to pull out some of the underperforming vines and plant something new. Their idea was to plant varieties that should be more at home in the area. The obscure eastern region of Savoie in France was their inspiration with varieties like Grenache, Mataro, Cinsault and Mondeuse. If people didn’t think Harrop was crazy before, they sure did now. The wait was then on to see how they would perform.
I think this may be the only 100% Mondeuse made in Australia. I purchased it late last year and I’m not sure why I resisted from opening it until now. From what I have been told, it sold out from the winery in 48 hours to bars, restaurants and retailers and now the wait is on for the new release.
Why such a buzz? It’s not just the label featuring Biggie Smalls (The Notorious B.I.G) or that Mondeuse is just something new for the Australian palate. This is an excellent wine filled with plenty of character. Not overloaded with sugar, think instead savoury and spice and all things nice. As a more savoury-driven style of red, Mondeuse ticks all the boxes with earthy fruit (think wild berry fruits on a forest floor), supple acidity, smoky nuances and a good amount of tannin. It’s more medium-bodied than full, so suited the veal scallopine alla Marsala dish that was prepared wonderfully.
Stockists: 2016 released in early Spring and be quick, check out Blackhearts & Sparrows wine stores at their various locations from September.