Dog Day Dreaming

Hello All,

Dog Days refer to the hottest portion of summer, between July 3rd and August 11th.  According to the Farmers’ Almanac, it is during this time that the Sun occupies the same area of the sky as Sirius, the Dog Star, which is the brightest star visible from Earth.  With the Dog Days on our doorsteps, I think it wise to introduce you to a wonderful, hot-weather, white wine from south-eastern France—Chignin, by Charles Gonnet!

Chignin is a cru, a vineyard or group of vineyards known for producing quality wine, named after the village of Chignin in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region of the Vin de Savoie appellation.  This is a mountainous, cool-climate wine region, located near the borders of Switzerland and Italy.

The wine is made entirely from Jacquere grapes, a local variety.  After the hand-harvested grapes are pressed, the juice is placed in tanks for six months to ferment and age on the lees.  The result is a dry, light-to-medium bodied, pale yellow wine. The nose has aromas of melon, peach, and pear.  These flavors, along with hints of minerality, are moderately intense on the palate and carry through to a long finish. There is a crisp, refreshing acidity to this wine that is balanced by a sense of creaminess.  The alcohol content is just 11.5% by volume.

We have the 2016 vintage in stock for $16.99 per bottle. It will pair well with fish, oysters, chicken, and sharp cheeses.  I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.


Charles Gonnet Chignin, Savoie, France


Hello All,

Welcome to my second blog post.  With Memorial Day in the rearview mirror, summer is finally here!  The problem is that while I like to sit poolside in the evening and enjoy a glass or two of wine, most reds are simply too heavy and too high in alcohol to enjoy during our hot, humid summers in Cincinnati.  However, I have the solution; the ideal red wine for summer.  The fact that it is obscure, low in alcohol, affordable, and absolutely tasty only enhances its allure.

About this time last year, Gayle and I attended a wineCRAFT tasting of small-production wines.  When we arrived and picked-up the wine tasting information, our representative told us about a wine that was new to the Cincinnati market but was already a hit among wine people in New York; Domaine Nicolas Gonin, Persan Mondeuse 2013. I was unfamiliar with the region, IGP Isere-Balmes Dauphinoises, and I had never heard of either Persan or Mondeuse grapes.  When he said that this was a red wine, I practically ran to get a taste of it.  Needless to say, I was not disappointed!

Isere is a tiny wine region located in eastern France, with Savoie to the north and the Rhone Valley to the south.  This region once had more vineyard acreage than Beaujolais, but it was devastated by phylloxera during the late 1800’s.  In addition, the growers in Isere failed to form an AOC after World War II.  As a result, the viticulture there is tiny in comparison to what it once was; with about half of the grapes being grown for private production.

Persan and Mondeuse, also known as Mondeuse noire, are both rare grapes.  At one point, Persan was even thought to be extinct.  As of 2012, there were only about twenty-two acres of it in production.  It is a grape that is indigenous to Isere.  Mondeuse is also native to Isere and to the neighboring Savoie.  Although its popularity is on the rise, there were there were only about 500 acres in France planted to this variety in 2000.  Both of these grapes are susceptible to powdery mildew and can be difficult to bring to full ripeness.  Mondeuse is drought-sensitive, as well.

Persan produces wine that is dark red, with acidity and tannic structure.  It has flavors of red fruit, pomegranate, pepper, and spice; with floral overtones.  Wine made from Mondeuse is typically purple, also with acidity and tannic structure.  It has flavors of red fruit, plums, pepper, and spice; with some earthy, gamey overtones.  Both of these grapes are known for their tartness.

Domaine Nicolas Gonin, Persan Mondeuse 2013 is an organic, biodynamic blend of 40% Persan and 60% Mondeuse grapes. It is fermented with native yeasts.  Fermentation and aging are done in enamel vats and the wine is bottled without filtration.

This wine is deep garnet in color.  The nose has an initial earthy aroma, which dissipates rather quickly, and lingering notes of plum and pepper.  It opens with flavors of pomegranate, dried cranberry, plum and pepper.  These flavors are carried through the mid-palate, with a medium to long finish of pepper and cranberry.  This is a dry wine with good acidity and some tannic structure.  As I indicated earlier, it has a remarkably low alcohol content of only 10%.

Persan Mondeuse retails for $19.99 per bottle; limited availability.  It is truly a pleasure to be able to offer a unique wine of this quality for less than twenty dollars.