JANUARY DIRT - A et M QUENARD SAVOIE ARBIN MONDEUSE "TERRES BRUNES" 2019
A et M Quenard Savoie Arbin Mondeuse "Terres Brunes" 2019 - $35.99
It’s inevitable that our Dirt Club explorations often explore regions, grapes, and appellations that could reasonably be described as ‘classics’. From Tuscan Sangiovese to Burgundian Pinot, the great terroirs of the world rarely disappoint. And yet, part of our directive with all of our wine clubs is to push the boundaries a bit further, and bring some under-the-radar wines into the fold of what we consider to be the best of the best. This month we consider two noble expressions of Mondeuse, that great alpine red of France’s Savoie region. Our tour guide to this special Savoyard variety is none other than André and Michel Quenard, masters of Mondeuse.
We begin with the Quenard’s ‘entry-level’ Mondeuse, ‘Terres Brunes’ sourced from the nearby Arbin appellation–one that is widely considered to be among the finest terroirs for growing this charming, alpine variety. Arbin is one of the most southerly wine-growing appellations of the Savoie and enjoys a relatively warm, sunny climate for what is an otherwise alpine terroir. The resulting wines are often fuller in body and more serious than those produced elsewhere, making for an ideal union between alpine freshness and minerality, along with concentration and complexity. The Quenard’s iteration comes from old hillside vines in Arbin (over 40 years of age). The wine is fermented naturally in steel, before being aged in a split of fifty percent steel tank, and fifty percent old oak.
TUNES FOR YOUR JUICE
by Liza Morgioni
This month, as we explore two wines coming from the same producer, we will also take a look at two songs from the same artist: Fleet Foxes. One song, Ragged Wood, is from their first LP record released in 2008, and the other song, Going-to-the-Sun Road, is from their most recent studio album released in 2020.
Robin Pecknold, the frontman of Fleet Foxes, has always been inspired by the majesty of mountains here in the United States. He was particularly compelled to finish this most recent album after spending those first few “quarantine months” driving from his apartment in New York City to the Catskills. I think that A et M Quenard would agree that the mountains evoke strong emotions. The folks at Kermit Lynch wine importers even describe the location as “fairy-tale perfection”.
As you compare these two wonderful Chignin Mondeuse wines, consider also comparing how this band’s music has changed over time, yet continues to emit the same lofty, wanderlust-y energy. Ragged Wood is the perfect example of how Fleet Foxes gained traction in the first place with the vaulting harmonies and wilderness-centered lyrics. On Going-to-theSun Road, you can still find some of the favorite musical and lyrical themes that fans know and love, but there is a sense of confidence and ease as well, as Pecknold has settled into his sound once again. I’ll let Pitchfork say more about that, but now back to the wine.
It’s safe to say that the ‘Terres Brunes’ and ‘Vieilles Vignes’ contain just as much harmony and freshness. My roommates and I went on our own aimless road trips back in April, and I’m sure many of you will too before this whole pandemic thing is over. These alpine wines may be just the thing to drink apres ski. Enjoy them on days like that, after you’re done with the driving that is :) Feel free to blast the songs while in the car, though.