Bonny Doon Le Cigare Blanc is made from 54% Grenache Blanc, 46% Vermentino.
Le Cigare Blanc is the white analog of Le Cigare Volant, Bonny Doon's flagship wine, named in honor of the cigarshaped alien craft banned by decree of the village council of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. A blend of 54% Grenache Blanc and 46% Vermentino, this wine is a study in pome fruit and citrus —Asian pear, green apple, with more than mere suggestions of lime blossom and citrus rind.
They call this cuvée, “Oumuamua,” (or “scout” in Hawaiian), so named in light of the recent mysterious cigar-shaped object/visitor to our solar system, initially imagined to be some sort of asteroid, but believed by none other than the chairman of the Astronomy Dept. at Harvard University to possibly be a solar-powered light-sail, sent on a reconnaissance mission to, well, check us out. But, withal, it appears that it may have arrived in the very nick of time, to bring a sort of much needed revitalization to our planet, and by metaphoric extension, to the Cigare brand itself.
Pale, slightly lime-green color with great freshness and a rather bracing acidity and a strong element of “minerality.” Despite its Central Coastal California provenance, the wine really does strongly signify some Mediterranean antecedents - a suggestion of herbal underbrush, sunny, coastal, salt-kissed citrus. The crisp acidity of the wine along with the lemon/lime element, makes it the perfect refreshing accompaniment to any dish that itself would benefit from a slight spritz of citrus. Le Cigare Blanc remains a great vin de gastronomie, pairing well with lighter seafood, as well as serving as an exemplary apéritif.
The perfect refreshing accompaniment to any dish that itself would benefit from a slight spritz of citrus. Le Cigare Blanc remains a great vin de gastronomie, pairing well with lighter seafood, as well as serving as an exemplary apéritif.
Prawns à la plancha, oysters, crab cakes, stuffed piquillo peppers, day boat scallops persillade, brandade de morue, sole meunière.
"Very light in the glass, this blend of 46% Grenache Blanc, 34% Vermentino and 20% Clairette Blanche offers honeydew, lime pith, wet gravel and a hint of lanolin on the nose. The palate is full of flavors, offering sliced pear and lime peel set upon a delicate texture. - MATT KETTMANN"
- Wine Enthusiast (October 2020), 90 pts
Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare is made from 57% Grenache, 18% Grenache Blanc, 9% Mourvèdre, 6% Roussanne, 5% Carignane, 5% Cinsaut
This wine is quite emblematic of the great sea change that has occurred at Bonny Doon Vineyard since the sell-off/ draw-down of the Ginormous Doonamath, whereby we have essayed a most sincere effort to make “quieter” wines in a more natural, less manipulated fashion. As such, this Vin Gris is made from bespoke grapes and is not a byproduct of red wine production, per se. We harvested at the appropriate ripeness level for its style. The essential principle here is that less is truly more. The wine does not overwhelm one with fruitybombasticity; it’s charms are seductively subtle. An extremely elegant and complex Vin Gris de Cigare.
The Vin Gris is a return to form from recent vintages, and a true expression of a proper Vin Gris, which is to say a pale pink wine made with the scantest skin contact. As a result, the wine is somewhat lighter and more delicate on the palate with minimal astringency and perhaps more of a floral aspect than doonright fruitiness. The perfume of this wine is subtle, haunting, not vulgar or tawdry, like some of the louche rosés de la nuit. Enfin, this wine is all about elegance and restraint. Rosehips, cassis, fraises de bois, citrus rind, with a wonderfully austere stony finish.
The wine does not overwhelm one with fruity-bombasticity; it’s charms are seductively subtle. An extremely elegant and complex Vin Gris de Cigare.
The Grenache for our Vin Gris came from bespoke sections of the Alta Loma Vineyard, harvested at the appropriate maturity level for this elegant style of wine. About 24% of the wine is composed of traditional white Rhône varieties in substantial part from the Beeswax Vineyard in the Arroyo Seco district of Monterey, adding a surprising richness and foundation. We also employed the practice of postfermentation bâtonnage—the stirring or re-suspension of yeast lees—to give the wine a certain creaminess of texture.
Varietal Blend: 57% Grenache, 18% Grenache Blanc, 9% Mourvèdre, 6% Roussanne, 5% Carignane, 5% Cinsaut.
Appellation: Central Coast
Vineyards: 41% Alta Loma, 13% Beeswax, 11% Bokisch Ranch, 8% JD Farming, 6% San Miguel, 7% Cass, 5% Gonsalves, 4% Scheid, 3% Wente, 1% Rancho Solo, 1% Ventan
Alcohol by Volume: 13.2%
TA: 4.5 g/L
This wine just begs for oysters or stone crab.
Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant Cuvee Oumuamua is made from 52% Grenache, 35% Cinsault, 13% Syrah.
As our story unfolds, we learn that with the 2018 vintage, there has been a fundamental change in the style of Le Cigare Volant. Not that there was anything at all “wrong” with the thirty-four vintages preceding the current one, mind you. For a number of reasons, mostly, alas, drearily fiscal/economical, the older style of Cigare has unfortunately proven to be a not particularly sustainable proposition at least from a financial perspective. The “new” Cigare, with a re-adjustment of the encépagement, by which we have dropped Mourvèdre from the mix and elevated the percentage of the (greatly underappreciated) and quite brilliant variety, Cinsault, creates a style of wine far more approachable and seductive in its youth.
We call this cuvée, “Oumuamua,” (or “scout” in Hawaiian), so named in light of the recent mysterious cigar-shaped object/visitor to our solar system, initially imagined to be some sort of asteroid, but believed by none other than the chairman of the Astronomy Dept. at Harvard University to possibly be a sort of probe, perhaps a solar-powered light-sail, sent on a kind of reconnaissance mission to check us out. (Ok, this last part is a bit of interpolation.) Anyhoo, it has been agreed that this was a very, very strange object that recently came to visit. And it appears that it may have arrived in the very nick of time, to bring a sort of much-needed revitalization to our planet, and by metaphoric extension, to the Cigare brand itself.
The color is a deep, vivid violet-red, owing in part to the lower pH of the wine. On the nose, the wine has a haunting kirsch nose (I suspect that’s the Cinsault), along with associated small red fruit (red and black currant) and perhaps a suggestion of blackberry. My colleague, Nicole Walsh and I toil away at the Cigare blend every year, and while the blend will change (sometimes radically, as it has this year), we share an idea of the Platonic form of Cigare, and the ‘17 certainly embodies that form. It goes something like this: Juiciness, fruit (but not confected or overripe), brightness, exuberance, joy, and not least, a sense of savoriness. I realize I’m not speaking orthodox wine parlance. We look above all for balance and for liveliness, for vinous qi. This wine is still incredibly young and just wants to jump out of its shoes.
INEYARD | PRODUCTION NOTES
The Alta Loma Vineyard in the Arroyo Seco area of Monterey County, was planted years back to one of the earlier selections of Tablas Creek Grenache clones, typically not a great selection for imparting real backbone or structure to the wine, but capable of making a wine that is enormously pretty and fragrant; in cool years, the fragrance of cassis or black currant is almost overpowering; most surprisingly, the Grenache in cool years from this vineyard is profoundly black in color. The Cinsault was sourced from the Loma del Rio Vineyard, a vineyard, under a previous nom de guerre (San Bernabe), we know quite well. This was the first year of production for the Cinsault and it was thinned multiple times both for enhanced concentration and evenness of ripening. The cooler climate gives the Cinsault a wonderful articulation of flavor, but what is most noteworthy is the fact that we were able to coferment the Cinsault with Syrah from the equally cool Mesa Verde Vyd. in the Santa Ynez Valley. Something magical happens when Syrah and Cinsault marry; the healthy tannin titer from the Syrah seems to give more structure to the Cinsault, helps to stabilize the color, and in general, insures that the blend will not evanesce tout de suite into the aetherial plane. The spicy, licorice component from the Syrah is a perfect foil to the Griotte cherry derived from the Cinsault.
Appellation: Monterey County
Vineyards: 48% Alta Loma, 35% Loma Del Rio, 6% Mesa Verde, 6% Zayante, 4% Rancho Solo 1% Lieff
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
TA: 6.1 g/L
Production: 11,500 cases
Cellaring: Drinkable upon release (6/19) with ageability of 7-10 years
Bonny Doon Old Telegram Mourvedre is made from 100 percent 100% Mourvedre.
Like the Rhone classic, it is produced from grapes which the label identifies as Mataro, an alias under which thick-skinned, late-ripening Mourvedre sometimes goes. From the nose, one scents licorice, blood(!) (make that very rare meat), blackberries (both berry and leaf), wet earth. There is a definite scent of beef bouillon, one of the absolute true signifiers of (proper) Mourvèdre. On the palate, the tannins are very plush and soft, almost a sense of sweetness (emphatically no R.S. in this), but with a really vibrant acidity and very great length. We somehow skirted the peril of over- ripeness and raisination, which is always a bit of a peril in the sunny climes of Antioch, CA. The wine is rich but also quite elegant at the same time.
Pairs with Wine-braised lamb shanks with herbes de Provence. Enoki mushroom tempura with soy-based dipping sauce. Hoisin-marinated chicken breasts served with wild & brown rice medley. Wild mushroom & thyme pizza. Pork shoulder. Beef short ribs.
Bonny Doon Picpoul is made from 100% Picpoul Blanc.
This Picpoul is from the Beeswax vineyard. Picpoul or "lip-stinger" is known, of course for its tingling acidity, but coupled with its singular savoriness, it creates a dramatic sensation on the palate.
The nose of this Picpoul is maritime, coupled with a discreet suggestion of peaches, wildflowers and the ubiquitous fragrance of beeswax.
This wine is utterly brilliant with the briniest oysters or Dungeness crab. Other ideas include grilled octopus with lemon, Moussaka, sardines a la plancha, grilled sardines with friseÌe & whole-grain mustard dressing.
Avennia Sestina Red Blend is made from 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc
The Sestina is a poetic form from Medieval France. Just as a contemporary poet can use an old form like the Sestina to express modern ideas, we use the traditional Bordeaux blend to make modern wines that express Washington fruit. Sestina is our vision for an old vine blend where the focus is on structure, balance, and complexity. This wine is designed for the cellar, but is enjoyable now.
Sestina: This wine is a blockbuster, with black currant, black raspberry, saddle leather, freshly tilled earth, vanilla, and violet on the nose. Exceedingly rich and balanced on the palate, with great poise and structure for long aging. The finish echoes with fresh black fruits, minerally touches, and floral notes.
"The 2015 Sestina is showing very well, offering up a rich, more exuberant bouquet than the 2014 rendition. This emphasizes notes of cassis, black plums, dark chocolate, espresso roast and a subtle framing of new oak. On the palate, it's full-bodied and lavish but controlled, with an ample, more sun-kissed core of fruit and fine-grained structuring tannins. Like the 2014, it's a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. While the 2014 and 2015 are quite different in style, it's hard to choose between them qualitatively. While it needs a few years in the cellar, I suspect the 2015 will hit its peak sooner. - William Kelley"
- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate (Issue 237, June 29th 2018), 96 pts
Number #93 On Top 100 Cellar Selections From Wine Enthusiast
"The flagship 2015 Sestina checks in as 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc brought up in 60% new French oak. Gorgeous notes of blackcurrants, black cherries, graphite, wet river rock, and leafy herbs all emerge from this beautifully balanced, fresh, classic wine that's still tight and backward. It's not a blockbuster but has building richness and tannin, as well as a great finish. Give bottles 2-3 years and enjoy over the following 10-15."
- Jeb Dunnuck (April 2018), 95+ pts
Bonny Doon Gravitas White Blend 61% Semillon, 35% Sauvignon Blanc, 4% Gewürztraminer
The nose has the haunting perfume of magnolia flowers and scent of white peaches, with suggestions of ripe Bosc Pear, sweet green grass, exotic saffron and a touch of lavender honey. But wait, there’s more: A bit of bergamot orange blossom, jasmine, and key lime custard, quince and Madagascar vanilla. These aromas are echoed on the palate adding a light, deft, fresh acidity; a savory wine, perfect with all manner of seafood and lighter entrées.
Pairs with oysters, cassoulet, grilled veggies. Staff favorites include blackened fish tacos - or if you're feeling fancy, lobster tacos!
There are wonderful aromas of summer-ripe peaches with tropical fruits and flowers. The silky-smooth flavors are reminiscent of baked apples and toasty vanilla bean. The lively acidity makes this an extremely well-balanced Chardonnay. The finish is long and fruity, with an interesting hint of hazelnuts. This wine’s overall taste profiles is creamy with apricots and lemons.
The Wine is made from 40% Arinto, 30% Loureiro, 20% Trajadura and 10% Azal. The grapes are pressed at low pressures. The must is then clarified and fermented at controlled temperatures with selected yeasts. Before bottling, the wine is filtered and cold stabilized.
The grapes are carefully selected from the best vineyards of the Vinho Verde region - the most extensive in Portugal.
Praia, which means "beach" in Portuguese, is a smooth and fresh wine with delicate and lovely fruity flavors. Slightly spritzy, it is well balanced and very refreshing.
The wine is ideal as an aperitif or throughout a meal, especially with fish, seafood, white meat and salads. Due to it freshness, it is particularly pleasant in a relaxed and informal ambiance.
The region is typical for its unique wines that are fresh and light, combined with a very well balanced acidity. These characteristics result from the region's unique soil and climate, with a strong Atlantic influence that you will identify when you taste it.
"Full of fruit, a lasting peach flavor targeted with laser like acidity through the finish. It has the bite of salty ocean air and a lot of zing. For langoustines."
What: a range of top-notch Vinho Verde and Douro wines at prices that encourage overindulgence.
Standout: Made from the Guedes family's best selection of fruit, is filled with peach fruit and saline acidity.
From Penafiel, northeast of Porto, in the hills of Vinho Verde.
- Wine & Spirits, June 09 - VALUE BRAND
92 pts - TOP 100 VALUES OF THE YEAR
"It's rare to find a vinho verde – the famously light and refreshing "green" white wine of Portugal – that isn't delightful, but this is one of the best of the breed. And there's no better time to quaff these wines than in the spring and summer. This version is lightly effervescent, with a lively acidity that wakes up the palate. It combines lime and peach flavors with a whiff of sea breeze. Somehow it manages to be both ethereal and penetrating. The ultimate picnic wine? Perhaps. It begs to be drunk outdoors."
- The Baltimore Sun (April 23rd 2012)
Dark and chocolate, spiced with pretty notes of allspice and clove, this wine is round and rich, bursting with ripe berries, combined with an earthy complexity and a velvety finish.
Made from 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Franc
The wine spent 22 months on 75% new French oak with the remaining 25% second vintage French oak. Select barrels from the best forests of Taransaud, Boutes, Quintessance, and Vicard cooperages.
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Cabernet Franc (30%) and Merlot, this wine seems a little green out of the gate, with aromas of herbs, cocoa, vanilla, black licorice, woodspice and black fruit. The fruit flavors display the warmth of this region, with the tannins providing some heft, stretching out over time. - Wine Enthusiast 91 Points
Tamarack Cellars’ 2011 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Reserve is an outstanding blend of 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot and 29% Cabernet Franc that spent 22 months (each variety is kept separate until 12 months after the harvest) in 50% new and 50% once-used French oak. Classically styled, with lots of smoke tobacco, licorice and blackcurrant aromas and flavors, it has everything in the right place, in the right proportions, and is incredibly enjoyable to drink. Enjoy this medium to full-bodied, moderately tannic, balanced beauty over the coming decade, although it will probably last longer. - Robert Parker Wine Advocate 91 Points
Russian River Pinot Noir Horseridge is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
This Pinot Noir’s full, yet delicate quality makes it a highly sought-after wine. A multiple award winner. Horseridge Vineyards lies just 8 miles from the Pacific Ocean on an east facing slope facing the Mayacamas Mountains. The cool night breeze preserves the acidity in the grapes while the warm summer day allows the vines to produce just the perfect amount of sugar in each cluster.
Four consecutive vintages of ultra-premium quality fruit has marked Horseridge Vineyards as a consistently excellent source of Pinot Noir grapes. Feminine in style, balanced, elegant, fruit forward, lush, soft, sleek, lasting finish, velvet, bright fruit, great acidity, blueberry, cranberry, tart berry not over ripe fruit. This Pinot will age beautifully over the next 8-10 years!
"I like the purity of fruit to this with sweet and dried berries on the center palate. It’s full-bodied and layered with fine tannins and a delicious, savory and fruity finish. Just a hint of toasted oak at the end. Drink or hold."
- James Suckling (November 2020), 92 pts
"Earthy, spicy, layered and full bodied, this is a fleshy, robust and richly expressive wine, generous on the palate in black cherry and cola. A spicy finish of cinnamon and black pepper gives it a lasting impression. - VIRGINIE BOONE"
- Wine Enthusiast (January 2020), 93 pts